Vegan Chocolatey Oat Lactation Cookies
They say “don’t ever cry over spilled milk”. Well whomever “they” are, have never spilled hard-earned breast milk! Any moms can agree, breast milk is like liquid gold; never to be thrown out, wasted, nor involved in a tragic accidental spillage. I recently gave birth to my first baby, our darling daughter Presley Rose. I have been exclusively breast feeding her and in doing so, also preparing myself for my return to work in about six more weeks. I have been trying to create a freezer stock pile of pumped breast milk for those days I will be away from her in the next coming months. I was in the midst of pouring some breast milk into a freezer storage bag when it toppled over and spilled all over the counter top. What a tragedy. I literally cried tears. Real tears! I’m sure it was a mixture of the hormones, the sleepless nights, and the utter disbelief of what had just occurred but it was a sad, sad moment. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say breast feeding is no joke. It’s an indescribable gift that is not only the most rewarding but can also be incredibly frustrating for those of us who have a bit of trouble producing milk. It’s an all-consuming task that feels especially gratifying yet can be quite exhausting. If there’s any advice that I could give another new mother, who’s about to embark on this unbelievable journey, it would be to just be patient. Breast feeding is hard. It’s not as effortless as one might think; it can be painful, pretty demanding, and down right laborious. With that being said, every minute of it is infinitely worth it. So, please, don’t give up! I’ve had a pretty difficult time producing any “extra” milk when it comes time to pump for my freezer reserves. I am (what feels like) constantly nursing her all day so when I try to express any milk I seem to have only been getting about 1-1.5 ounces on each breast. It’s frustrating because I have watched girlfriends pump an entire 5 ounce bottle in one sitting. I began to wonder why I couldn’t fill a bottle like these “Milk Maid” friends of mine and started on a little research. There is a lot of help out there and it is not uncommon for women with newborns to not be able to pump a giant backup surplus. It takes practice, diligence, time, and sometimes a little help through vitamins and minerals. While I was researching what I could change in my diet to assist in the formulation of breast milk, I found a few recipes for “lactation cookies”. What a genius idea!
Lactation cookies work because of a few key ingredients; Brewers yeast, oats, and flax. All have been proven to show great effects on women’s ability to produce more breast milk. The brewers yeast is a wonderful addition to these cookies: it gives a nutty flavor while also adding B vitamins, iron, protein and trace minerals (all of which are essential in generating breast milk). Oats have long been recommended to nursing mothers as they positively affect the hormones that in-turn affect the milk supply. Flax contains plant-based phytoestrogens that mimic real estrogen and is also composed of tons of fiber. The best part is, that all three of these ingredients combined into a perfect little cookie are beyond delicious! I found a lactation cookie recipe from How Sweet Eats and adapted a vegan version of her cookies. I wanted a plant-based healthier rendition that would be just as tasty, and I have to say, I nailed it! They are gooey little chocolatey wonders that anyone would enjoy! Seriously, you don’t have to be a lactating woman to get down on these cookies! All those wholesome ingredients are not only good for mothers but for men, women, and children alike. Make them as soon as you can and share them with family, friends, and especially those new mommy pals of yours!
- 3 TBSP flaxmeal
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached whole-wheat flour
- 5 tablespoons brewers yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup unrefined organic virgin coconut oil (in solid form at room temperature)
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 TBPS organic almond butter (I used organic salted almond butter, but unsalted works too)
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks (use vegan chips if needed)
- Make the flax eggs: Add the flax meal and warm water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes or until it becomes semi-thick and a bit congealed.
- Mix the dry ingredients: Combine the oats, whole-wheat flour, brewers yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine.
- Mix the wet ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the room-temperature coconut oil and both sugars and mix for a few minutes or until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and almond butter and mix until just combined. Add the flax eggs and whisk to combine. Slowly add in the flour mixture (in about 3 batches) and mix until just combined together, do not over mix (or your cookies will become dense and cake-like). Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chunks. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (cooling the dough helps the coconut oil come back together, and yields a lighter fluffier cookie. If you skip this step the cookies will come out super flat and crumbly). Preheat the oven to 350 and line two large rimmed baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
- Once the dough is cooled, scoop out 1″ rounds, or use an ice cream scoop for even measures, and place twelve rounds on the first baking sheet. Place the rest of the dough back in the fridge while the first batch bakes. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are light and golden brown (mine still looked a bit undercooked when I pulled them out but they continue to cook when removed from the oven for a bit and cool perfectly). Bake two more batches of 12 cookie dough rounds or until all the dough is used up (placing the dough left in the mixing bowl back in the fridge each time one of the sheets is in the oven). Enjoy!
- Brewers yeast can be found at Whole Foods Markets or other health food stores. I bought mine on Amazon.
- It is super important to chill the dough before baking and to keep the dough in the fridge while each cookie batch bakes. The first time I tried these cookies I did not allow the dough to cool and ended up with flat crumbly cookies that were a big mess.