I love the holidays – it comes with its share of stress, but oh what a cozy time.

We usually make a big deal out of trimming the tree – going to a farm, dragging it through the snow on a sled and having cocoa or mulled wine. Last year we were still a little blue about not having our doggy, George, so we didn’t decorate too much. Then Christmas snuck up on us and we realized we hadn’t bought a tree.

This year is different… today is tree day! We’re hauling out our decorations and getting into the red and green spirit. It’s a great time to check out Bill Murray’s “A Very Murray Christmas” on Netfilx (he’s an obsession in our house) and maybe the first viewing of many for “White Christmas”. There will most definitely be some Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charie Brown Christmas” (the 1# top selling jazz album of all time) as well as my fav – Hawksley Workman’s “Almost a Full Moon“. We’ll flick on the electric fire place and slap the reindeer ears on Emmett for a family pic and maybe open a nice bottle of wine or make some peppermint hot chocolate.

I usually make some kind of hearty comfort food – flaky toutiere, a giant platter of nachos, or a heaping plate of cookies. This year I’ve vowed to attempt my own fresh pasta. Let’s be honest, I fully expect an epic fail the first go around, so these cookies will be waiting in the wings.

cookies

 

HEALTHY-ISH OATMEAL & CHOCOLATE CHUNKY COOKIES

makes 30ish cookies

I adapted this yummy cookie recipe from the wonderful Sobo Cookbook out of Tofino, BC. There are some real gems in this collection, I would highly recommend picking it up – plus, it’s Canadian!

Lisa Ahier’s cookies are a chunky wonder, I’ve made a few tweaks to add a healthier kick. These are a great energy booster in that lull between lunch and dinner, or as an evening snack – I’ve been know to grab a few for breakfast. I subbed in whole wheat flour, dates and seeds to make me feel less guilty.

You’ll probably need to bake these in batches. I prepare a few pans ahead of time so I can just rotate them in, but if you have 1 pan, make sure it cools before you lay out your next batch.

 

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup salted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp water

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup dark chocolate chips

2/3 cup chopped dates

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

 

Preheat your oven to 375F

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn off the heat.

Cream the butter and sugars until light in colour and fluffy. whisk in the eggs, water and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add the creamed butter mixture into the dry ingredients until everything is combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in nuts, oats, chips, dates and seeds until a thick dough is formed.

Cover the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

cookie-dough

Preheat your oven to 350F and line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

With damp hands, roll golf ball sized portions of dough and arrange them 2″ apart on your prepared pans – they will expand quite a bit. Press down on the dough just a little if you’d like thick, chewy cookies -or- a bit more if you like your cookies thin and crispy.

Bake on the centre rack for 12 minutes or until golden at the edges – they will still be really soft and doughy, but will firm up after. Remove from oven and allow to sit on sheet for 5 minutes more, then transfer to a rack to cool the rest of the way. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for up to 3 months.

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An early Christmas present for you:

 

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