Whole Wheat Parsnip Cookies
I’m not much of a baker. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me. With baking it’s important to follow the recipe. There’s a reason that each ingredient is there. I can’t just add what I have on hand and substitute something if I feel like it. Because it’s all science.
I was never great at science in school. I do wonder if I might have done a little better if there had been experiments that involved cooking. You know, let us make cookies with whatever we wanted to. See what works and what doesn’t. Then learn about why. Since that class wasn’t offered at my school, I’m learning now, slowly…
I think that my first substitution attempt when baking might have been when I figured that using the same amount of honey in place of granulated sugar would be fine. Wrong. I ended up with a burned outside and still liquid inside banana bread. That was disappointing. But, I learned from my mistake. Freedom to fail.
So this time I played it safe. I figured out what I thought would make up a good cookie. I think I know what the dough should be like, so it seemed like a good place to start.
I still wasn’t expecting them to turn out, but I was gonna do my best.
I wanted to incorporate parsnips. Parsnips are wonderful when roasted and dipped into a creamy sauce. But, what about something sweet, almost like what you’d do with carrots in a carrot cake? I figured it was worth a try.
I don’t make very many cookies. I’m just not a sweets person. But, I think normally recipes will have you cream the butter and sugar together. I went for more of a scone technique, where the butter was cold and added to the already combined dry ingredients.
The parsnips, apple, and some lemon zest were added to the butter-flour mixture. I figured they might do well when coated with flour. And then once the wet ingredients were whisked together, they were added too. To make what looked like cookie batter to me!
When I used to make cookies with my mom as a kid, we’d use two spoons to scoop the dough out. You could also just use your hands and roll a ball of dough between your palms. Whatever works. The spoons keep the hands clean and you don’t waste the batter that covers them.
I like fluffy, puffy, soft cookies over thin crispy ones. So I didn’t press them down.
I thought about trying to make these vegan, but decided against it since making a cookie recipe was already enough of a risk. But, here are some ways that you could adapt it, if you wanted to (at your own risk 😉 ).
Carrots or summer squash instead of parsnips.
Orange zest instead of lemon zest.
Coconut oil instead of butter (treat it the same way – make sure it’s cold, then work very quickly).
Maple syrup instead of honey.
Just keep in mind that it’s science and your changes may result in cookies slightly different from mine. But, we’re free to fail, free to learn from our mistakes, free to keep on trying. If I’d stopped at ruined banana bread, I’d never have known the loveliness of these cookies. They may be my new favorite. Not too sweet, super soft, and made with whole wheat flour and honey, so I feel fine about the three that I’ve eaten this afternoon.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Yield: 19-20 cookies
- 1 C whole wheat flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 t baking powder, sifted
- 1/2 t baking soda, sifted
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- pinch all spice
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 C oats
- 1 t lemon zest (or orange zest), chopped
- 1/3 C apples, grated and chopped
- 1 C parsnips (or carrots or summer squash), grated, and chopped
- 1/2 C butter, cold, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 C honey
- 1 egg
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat mats).
- Whisk together flour through nutmeg. Mix in butter with a pastry blender or hands until pea sized chunks remain. Stir in oats, lemon zest, apples, and parsnips.
- In a separate bowl whisk together honey through vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Scoop batter using two tablespoons, or hands and drop onto prepared baking sheets (do not flatten). Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies are mostly set and golden around the edges (they will keep cooking for a bit as they cool). Cool on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.