High protein breakfast cookies with four different variations

High Protein Breakfast Cookies with Four Variations

In Recipes by Sean6 Comments

High protein breakfast cookies with four variations
High protein breakfast cookies with four variations

High Protein Breakfast Cookies

with Four Variations

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This recipe for High Protein Breakfast Cookies is brought to you in collaboration with BC Egg, who have financially compensated me to develop it. 
All opinions are my own.

Cookies for breakfast! Yes, it's true - and it's actually a healthy choice! These aren't just any cookies - they're packed with protein and fiber, low in added sugar, and easily modified with all kinds of different add-ins and variations.  They also freeze well, and are great for school lunches and snacks.

Oh. Hello there.

I'm afraid that I'm not quite ready for you.  Normally this is where you'd find a little essay of sorts. An exploration of food culture, history, science, linguistics... that sort of thing.  But I'm running out the door today.  Life is just a little too busy, as I'm sure you can understand.

I'm awfully hungry though.  No time to make breakfast, and I'd rather not grab any old junk out on the road.  I'm sure you understand.  If only there was something particularly delicious, nutritious, and easy just sitting around in the freezer...

... aaaaand scene!  I hope you enjoyed that.  People enjoy being involuntarily thrust into pseudo-theatrical faux-dialogue situations, right?

Breakfast cookies.  Sounds like a strange idea, but it turns out to be a pretty great one.  Take a bunch of healthy, high-protein ingredients, throw them together, bake them into delicious (and gluten-free) cookies, and use them to fill the gustatory gaps left by early appointments, late nights, and... well, life in general.

Chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and toasted oats

Now, I didn't invent breakfast cookies. Far from it. But I'm going to tell you why you should make THESE ones in particular.

  1. They're easy to make. They're made with simple and common ingredients, and there are plenty of easy substitutions.  They're also a snap to put together.
  2. Plenty of variations. There are four distinct variations here, and you could easily use these as jumping off points for a wide variety of others.
  3. They're awesome.  I mean, of course I'm going to say this - but seriously, they're really good.  I've tried a lot of these breakfast bar/granola/cookie sorts of recipes, and sadly a lot of them fail to deliver in terms of flavour.  I know you don't want a dry mouthful of bland oats, and I'm not going to give you that.

So give 'em a try! I hope they make it into your regular baking rotation, and I hope they help make your life a little easier, and a little healthier. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them, and I'd be especially delighted to hear any fun variations that you've tried and enjoyed.

High protein breakfast cookies with four different variation

Recipe Notes

The base cookie recipe, minus any add-in components, is pretty plain by design. It contains all of the core ingredients that definite the majority of the nutritional profile of the cookie. The variations and add-ins all start from here and add key flavours and textures.

The base recipe is pretty straightforward, though there are a few important notes to be aware of, especially if you're trying to meet or adjust to specific dietary restrictions.

Before we get too far into the making (and adapting) of this recipe, I want to note that these breakfast cookies freeze very well, making them ideal for keeping on hand or prepping for school/work lunches.  Personally speaking, I also quite like the texture they take on when they're still a teeny bit frozen.

High protein breakfast cookies with four different variations, shown in cross-section

Basic Components - Notes & Substitutions

Oats -  I used standard rolled oats to make these cookies.  You could use quick oats too, but note that they tend to be a bit softer and less chewy.  They'll also hydrate faster, which means that you won't need to rest the dough for as long.

Nut Butter -  Any nut butter will work here, as will allergy-friendly seed butters (e.g. sunflower butter).  I've made these with unsweetened pure peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter.  There are minor flavour variations, but no noticeable difference in the preparation or baking processes.  I prefer to use pure nut butters without added salt, sugar, or emulsifiers.  You can use conventional emulsified nut butters, but bear in mind that it will add a little extra sugar and salt to your base recipe.  That being said, the difference is pretty small.  Adjust as you see fit.

NOTE: If you want to make these as a healthy and convenient school snack, I recommend using a seed butter (e.g. sunflower).  This will keep the recipe peanut free.  Do note, however, that some of the add-ins contain tree nuts, sesame, and other relatively common potential allergens.

Sugars - Long story short: don't concern yourself too much with the type of sugar you use.  At the scale of an individual cookie, honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar are virtually identical from a nutritional standpoint.  Each breakfast cookie only ends up with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar added, which means that the already small differences in calories, sugar, glycemic index, and micronutrients between the different types of sguar become almost nonexistent.  I suggest using whichever one you prefer to use, and/or whichever one you think better compliments the other flavours in the cookies.  While brown sugar is obviously a solid and the other two ingredients are liquids, the difference on the consistency of the batter is basically zero.

For information on using artificial or alternative sweeteners, see below.

High protein breakfast cookie with chocolate and cherries

Adjusting Sugar & Protein

Can I use artificial sweeteners?

You can, but I wouldn't bother.  As mentioned above, each breakfast cookie ends up with about 1/2 teaspoon of added sugar (brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.).  That's roughly 2 grams, and around 6-8 calories.  The bananas used in the base recipe add around 2 grams more sugar per cookie. And, of course, you have to take into account any sugar from the added components in the individual variations.  You could use a baking-friendly 1:1 non-sugar sweetener, but the impact on the overall nutritional profile of the cookies will be pretty minimal - especially given that you'll still be using the bananas.

Can I add protein powder?

Short answer: probably. You could safely add a 1/4 cup (roughly equivalent to a single 32 gram scoop) of protein powder to the batter.  This will end up contributing around an additional 1 gram of protein per cookie, as well as ~5 calories. Note that you may need to add a little bit of additional liquid to the batter, or reduce the oat flour by about 1 tbsp to compensate for the protein powder.

To understand what kind of difference this will make, let's look at a real-life scenario.  If you're running out the door and you decide to grab two of the original chocolate cherry cookies for a quick breakfast, you're getting 10 grams of protein (roughly 20% of the daily recommended intake given a 2000 calorie diet). If you've made the cookies with whey powder, you'll get about 12 grams of protein, or 24%. It's up to you to decide if that's a big enough difference to make it worth experimenting with protein powder.

Finally, note that different types of protein powder (whey, soy, pea, etc.) may contribute somewhat different flavours and/or textures to your cookies.  Avoid protein powders with added flavourings or fillers.

Oats, Oat Flour, and Texture

This breakfast cookies call for both oats and oat flour. This gives you the option of adjusting the ratios of the two ingredients, which in turn allows you to change the texture of the cookies.

As written, the recipe is heavier on whole oats (2 cups) than on oat flour (0.5 cups).  This results in cookies with a more granola-bar-esque texture, full of larger and chewier oat pieces.  Decreasing the oats to 1 cup and upping the oat flour to 1.5 cups results in a softer, more even texture with fewer crumbly bits.  Both are good, but preferences in this respect tend to be quite personal.  It is worth noting that the batter made with more oat flour will hydrate a little faster, thereby shortening the prep time slightly.

If you have a blender or food processor, you don't need to buy oat flour.  Instead, just blitz some rolled oats until they're reduced to a fine flour and you're good to go.

High protein breakfast cookie quarters arranged in a circle

Four Variations

This is where we get to the fun stuff.  The variations given here yield four very different cookies - and there's plenty of room for experimentation. I encourage you to try your own variations and additions by starting with the same base cookie. If you have a combination you particularly love, I hope you'll share it in the comments below!

Note that the nutritional summaries given below are for a single breakfast cookie (1/24th of the total recipe).  This isn't a lot of food - I would say it's akin to a hearty (and fairly filling) snack.  If you're thinking about having these as more of a full-on meal replacement, you're probably going to want to eat two.

#1 - Chocolate Cherry

Add-Ins: Cocoa powder, dried sour cherries, dark chocolate chips

These are my favourite variation of the four, in part because I'm an absolute sucker for dark chocolate and sour cherries. I love the bittersweet character of dark chocolate, but if you're more of a milk chocolate fan, you could use that here. The calorie difference is more-or-less a wash, but the sources of these calories differ; dark chocolate has more fat, while milk chocolate has more sugar. It's also worth noting that I used a very dark cocoa powder here, which gives these cookies the deep black-brown colour. A lighter cocoa powder will deliver lighter coloured cookies.
High protein breakfast cookie with chocolate and cherry
Nutrition Facts
High Protein Breakfast Cookies - Chocolate Cherry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 42mg2%
Potassium 178mg5%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 326IU7%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Summary

Yes, you can have chocolate for breakfast and still be eating healthy. Very healthy, in fact! Dark chocolate adds sugar and fat, and sure enough, this variation does have the highest calorie count. That being said, these are still wonderfully good for you, and fairly low in added sugar despite the sweet addition. Dried sour cherries also adds some Vitamin A, which you don't get from the other variations.

If you want to trim the sugar down even further without skipping out on that tasty chocolate flavour, consider cutting the chocolate chips by about 1/4 and adding some cacao nibs.

#2 - Coconut Almond

Add-Ins: Coconut, slivered almonds, almond extract

I don't know exactly what it is about coconut and almonds that makes them work so nicely together, but hey, I'm not complaining. Coconut does dry things out a little, so a bit of extra moisture is added to the batter in this variation. I also find that the flavour of the almonds alone can get a little lost, so I like to use a bit of almond extract to help perk it up. If you don't want to use almond extract, you don't have to, but expect the flavour of the coconut to be a bit more up-front.
High protein breakfast cookie with coconut and almonds
Nutrition Facts
High Protein Breakfast Cookies - Coconut Almond
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 34mg1%
Potassium 179mg5%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 30IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Summary
Coconut brings flavour in the form of fat, and it is largely saturated fat. These cookies come with a lot of flavour but very little added sugar. Note that the nutritional information given is for unsweetened coconut!

#3 - Pe-Cran

Add-Ins: Pecans, cranberries, sesame seeds, orange zest

Pecans and cranberries. Pe-cran. Does the name need work? Yeah, probably. But the cookies are more than ready to go.

Tangy-sweet cranberries pair perfectly with pecans - though I have to say, I think these are even better if you use candied pecans.  Yes, it adds a touch more sugar, but it's a pretty small amount per cookie, and the extra flavour of caramel really makes everything pop.  The not-so-secret ingredient is orange zest, which really plays beautifully with the cranberry, adding a bright, distinctive flavour element.  Sesame seeds add more protein and a nice nutty flavour too.

High protein breakfast cookie with pecans, cranberries, and sesame seeds
Nutrition Facts
High Protein Breakfast Cookies - Pe-Cran
Amount Per Serving
Calories 169 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 33mg1%
Potassium 154mg4%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 36IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Summary

Pecans bring some fat and calories to the mix (and plenty of flavour of course).  Orange zest is very high in Vitamin C, but this is spread pretty thin given the quantities involved.

Interestingly, dried cranberries are pretty nutritional uninteresting. They're mostly fiber and carbohydrates, with only minor quantities of vitamins and minerals. As such, they don't have a huge impact on the nutritional profile of these cookies.

Consider experimenting with other dried fruit and nut combinations.  Raisins, for example, contain some Vitamin C and a good amount of iron.

#4 - Mexican

Add-Ins: Pepitas, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, hard caramel, cinnamon

"Mexican" isn't the most descriptive flavour name in the whole world, but it is a) a lot shorter than listing all the ingredients, and b) pretty darned accurate. These cookies feature lots of tasty, nutty seeds (pumpkin and sesame), cacao nibs, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and bits of hard caramel. All these ingredients are much loved in Mexican cooking, and several are native to the region. There's also vanilla in all the cookies, which is actually Mexican too. Hurra por las galletas.

A quick note - you can buy hard caramel, but it's really easy to make yourself.  This method from Food 52 is a good, basic overview.  If you don't want to bother with hard caramel, you can use any other ingredient that gives you a similar sweet/caramel flavour.

High protein breakfast cookie with pepitas, cacao nibs, caramel, sesame seeds, and cinnamon
Nutrition Facts
High Protein Breakfast Cookies - Mexican
Amount Per Serving
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 34mg1%
Potassium 167mg5%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 31IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Summary
Pepitas, sesame seeds, and cacao nibs add some extra protein and fat to these lovely cookies. There's obviously a bit more added sugar too, given that caramel is an ingredient, but you're not adding all that much to each cookie.
Note: Nutritional Information is given for a single cookie (1/24th portion of the total recipe). This information is for the BASE RECIPE ONLY, and does not include any of the various flavouring add-ins. Use this as a starting point for your own modifications! For nutritional information specific to the four variations given here, refer to the section above.
Nutrition Facts
High Protein Breakfast Cookies (with 4 variations!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 115 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 33mg1%
Potassium 138mg4%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 32IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

GOOD NEWS:

These are a designed to be healthy, and they are! They have 4-5 grams of protein per cookie, lots of fiber, and they're easily customized if you're looking to tweak the various nutritional aspects.

BAD NEWS:

Even with the add-ins/variations taken into account, there's not a lot going on in terms of vitamins and minerals. If you're looking at these as a total meal replacement, they definitely benefit from adding something like a side of fruit.

Ingredient & Pantry Pages

No ingredient or pantry pages have been written yet for any of the components of this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Categories

High protein breakfast cookies with four different variations
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5 from 6 votes

High Protein Breakfast Cookies (with 4 variations!)

Cookies for breakfast? Yes - and it's actually a healthy choice! These simple cookies are packed with protein and fiber, low in added sugar, and easily modified with all kinds of different add-ins and variations.  They also freeze well, and are great for school lunches and snacks.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Miscellaneous
Keyword: Breakfast cookies, Quick breakfast, School snacks
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 115kcal

Ingredients

Base Cookie

  • 2 cups rolled oats (see note)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or similar (see note)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.25 cups mashed ripe banana (approx. 3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar, or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Cherry

  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dried cherries chopped (or other dried fruit) - 200 g
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Coconut Almond

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp water

Pe-Cran

  • 1 cup pecan pieces or candied pecan pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp orange zest (approx 2 small oranges)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Mexican

  • 1 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nib pieces
  • 1/4 cup hard caramel pieces (see note)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Mix thoroughly.
  • Add the mashed banana and liquid ingredients. Mix well.
  • Add your mix-in ingredients and combine thoroughly.
  • Allow the batter to sit for 15-20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Portion out heaping tablespoons of batter on lined cookie sheets. Note that the cookies will not spread much. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool, and store at room temperature, or in the fridge for freezer for a longer term.

Notes

Oats - This recipe calls for rolled oats, but you can substitute quick oats as well.  Quick oats will be thinner and contribute less texture to the finished cookie.  They also require a shorter rest period to hydrate (5-10 minutes instead of 20).
Oat Flour - If you prefer a softer, less chewy cookie, you can use a larger proportion of oat flour to whole oats.  Consider 1 cup of oats and 1.5 cups of oat flour.
NB: You can make your own oat flour by blitzing rolled oats in a high speed blender or food processor.
Hard Caramel - You can make hard caramel at home fairly easily.  This method from Food52 is a good, simple option.  If you prefer, you can substitute a different ingredient with a caramelized flavour.

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

More Breakfasts?

Perico

Perico (Colombian scrambled eggs)

Huevos Divorciados

Huevos Divorciados (Divorced Eggs)

Pandesal

Homemade pandesal (Filipino rolls)

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Comments

  1. Amazing! I can’t decide which one I want to try first. I am so bad at remembering to eat breakfast even if I’m working from home. I just seem to have so many better things to do. Hell, today I even forgot to make my morning coffee and then felt crappy all day! Anyway I bet your kids are huge fans of these!

  2. 5 stars
    These cookies look amazing. What a great breakfast treat to have on hand for those busy mornings. All of your flavor variations are perfect but those chocolate cherry ones are calling my name. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    You had me at “cookies for breakfast”. The chocolate cherry ones are fantastic! Can’t wait to try the others!

  4. 5 stars
    the chocolatey cherry flavour was my favourite!! Super tasty and healthy and great for this mid afternoon dips!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for this! I have been searching for an actually ‘healthy’ breakfast cookie! That chocolate cherry has my name all over it 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    My breakfasts way too often consist of just coffee. These are the perfect, healthy treats to power my morning. Thanks for sharing

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