Since the passing of my parents, I’ve inherited my mother’s collection of over thirty years’ worth of clipped and copied recipes. Her recipe file is a treasure trove of (sometimes hilariously) retro dishes, classic cuisine and, most importantly, gems of home cooking offered up by friends and relatives.
This recipe is one of those donations. There’s no name on the file card it’s written on, so I’m unsure who the contributor was. As the title of the recipe suggests, these cookies come from the wholefood revolution of the 1970s, the era that popularised granola, wheatgerm, and heavy use of nuts and seeds in baked goods.
However much the title might conjure up – for those us old enough to remember – uncomfortable memories of Earth Shoes, shapeless cotton granny dresses, and food with the approximate consistency of sawdust, these cookies are actually quite nice. The nuts and seeds go lovely and toasty, the dates melt into a gooey caramel, and the molasses adds a nice mellow undertone to the sweetness.
I’ve veganized the recipe below, but if you want to follow the original, here it is:
Health Food Cookies
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup margarine
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 Tbls. flax seeds
6 Tbls. water
¼ cup oil (I used canola)
¼ cup molasses
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup chopped mixed nuts (your choice)
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cookie sheets by greasing or lining with baking paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, soda and oats. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together. Grind the flax seeds to a powder in a blender, then add the water and whiz together to mix. Add to the margarine mixture, along with the oil and molasses, and mix well. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just mixed.
Place the remaining ingredients in another medium bowl and mix with your hands until all the bits are evenly distributed. Add to the cookie dough and stir until incorporated. If you went to Brownies or Cub Scouts, the resulting mass will remind you of those birdseed feeders you made every winter, but don’t worry, the cookies it makes will be nice.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto your prepared sheets. Using damp hands, flatten and shape into rounds. Bake for 12 – 20 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them.
Makes about 2 dozen
70s brainstorm: If you can find carob chips where you live, they’d make a nice addition.