Waking Up Is Easier With Cookies for Breakfast
I have never been a Big Breakfast type of person. The breakfast-of-champions ideals (eggs, toast, bacon, fruit, and a side of pancakes and potatoes) have always been an overwhelming notion to me, and I often put off eating anything substantial until the lunch hour. I spent much of my 20s working retail or in coffee shops where breakfast was a fleeting affair: sips of iced coffee snuck in storage rooms and pieces of muffins, quick bread, or scones hastily devoured on one of two 15-minute breaks.
During those formative years, the “grab-and-go” meal became a habit, and even now, as I work from home and have access to all the ingredients that would make up a nutritious, healthy meal, I still find myself wanting something small and sweet. Some days, a banana works, or a rice cake with peanut butter starts things off right. Other days my leftovers from recipe testing line my counter and bits of cinnamon rolls or pound cake become a breakfast of sorts.
This impulse is what led me to writing 100 Morning Treats, and it’s why I knew the cookbook needed a breakfast cookie. This small sweet, filled with mildly healthy add-ins and toasty, nutty flavors, could be the perfect solution to my morning meal needs, helping me energize first thing upon rising. Yes, there’s sugar and butter involved, but also some nuts and wheat flour. It seemed like the missing puzzle piece to my morning routine, and, also, it was cookies for breakfast.
I decided that my ideal breakfast cookies would be filling (but not overly so), and slightly bigger than an average cookie. They would have some wholesome components. And in a dream world, they would still taste good two or three days after baking and freeze well so that I could always keep a few ready for those mornings when I need to be through the airport checkpoint at 5:00 a.m. This would be a cookie that I could wrap in a small piece of parchment and hand to my teenage son as he sleepily ran to an almost-missed bus, and a cookie I could nibble on while I sipped my first coffee of the day, with a cat curled up on my lap.
I tried many tactics: pan-banging the cookies was too tedious for breakfast, and my brown butter chocolate chip cookie base was too rich for the early morning hours. Then I made a cookie from Dorie Greenspan’s excellent book Baking With Dorie—the rye-cranberry chocolate chunk cookies from Moko Hirayama’s popular Paris restaurant, Mokonuts. This cookie was thick and hearty, with rye flour in the base, then studded with cranberries, poppyseeds, and chocolate, with an indentation on the top, which results in a crisp bottom and gooey center. With that beautiful cookie as inspiration, I began to tinker. I cut some butter out to make this endeavor feel slightly less like dessert, and added oats and whole wheat flour to the mix.
Then I included all my favorite morning add-ins: flax, sesame seeds, pecans, orange pieces, poppy seeds, and of course, chocolate. I baked the cookies in English muffin rings to give them a large, stackable shape, but pressed the middle down like the original to keep that center tender. Then I shared my recipe with Greenspan, who graciously told me to have fun and share my breakfast-y version of the cookie in my book.
Right now, even from my kitchen in Minneapolis, I can feel you giving me the side-eye as I present my recipe for cookies for breakfast. Yes, there are more well-rounded options to be had, and no, eating cookies each and every morning is not what I’m advocating for. But, as I pull out my mixer to cream together butter and sugar for another batch, I will draw on Emerson here and remember his words: “Moderation in all things, especially moderation.” I will make enough to store a few in the freezer for rushed mornings, a couple extra to slip into my child’s hand on a frazzled before-school dash out the door, an extra dozen or so to share with the neighbors and good friends.
Sesame Chocolate Rye Breakfast Cookies
Originally Appeared on Epicurious
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