BYO (Build Your Own) Yoga Cookies

January 20, 2010


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Last week, I started a yoga program called “The Forty Days,” pretty self-explanatory, really.  Forty days of yoga, plus a fast and twice-daily meditation. Sometimes my body aches, but mostly I feel extraordinary. Open and calm and centered—qualities I usually admire from afar. When I’m unhappy, I can be a bit of an anxious recluse. Yoga, while quite demanding , gives so much in return…it’s the only workout that makes me feel like I’m putting energy back in. If you’re ever in Houston, come to Yoga Ananda–it is the best yoga studio I’ve ever been a part of.

But no matter how good the practice, it never hurts to finish with a cookie.


I was not a serious yogi until I discovered these. Imagine Popeye with a can of spinach: they don’t make my muscles bulge, per se, but they sure do get me fired up. The first yoga teacher who got me to develop a regular practice did so by placing a big wicker basket full of these squarely behind her at each class. During savasana I dreamed of myself, cross-legged and levitating, one cookie in each hand.

I will freely admit to my own distraction. Every time I went to Anne Novak’s class, I was utterly transfixed by the basket behind the table, which smelled simultaneously like Christmas kitchens, fancy chocolate shops and French bakeries. Whenever the final gong reverberation faded, I was up like a lissome prairie dog, scanning the room for competitors in my race to the batch. Even now, whenever I visit home and take one of Anne’s classes, I am the first yogi off the floor, rummaging through the offerings in search of the lumpiest, most laden cookie. I leave class sheepishly, my jacket stuffed. When I get home, I search for rogue crumbs in my pockets. Come to think of it, there may be some karmic repercussions for that kind of hoarding, but what can I say? Old habits die hard.


Now that I’m across the country from Ms. Novak, I have to keep my cookie jar full all by myself. But the process is so simple, and really worthwhile. There’s nothing like finishing a hard practice, wrung out and exhausted, anticipating some reward for my work. And they are really good to share—they last forever in the fridge and are appreciated by yogis and non-yogis alike. Moreover, they are almost saintly in their healthiness: loaded with dark chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, ground flaxseed, oats, coconut and honey, there’s nothing wrong with having one—or a few—each day. Plus, I can make them different every time, depending on my mood. They’re really just a more portable and glamorous version of granola.


BYO Yoga Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup local honey
2 cups of oats
1/2 cup of ground flaxseed
1 cup dried fruit (I like cranberries, cherries and prunes)
1 cup nuts (almonds and walnuts are great)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup dark chocolate (optional)
2 tsp each cinnamon and ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sunflower oil
1 cup (approximately) soymilk—you can also use regular milk, coconut milk or a beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients.

Combine honey, oil and egg (if using).

Mix well.

If you did not use an egg, pour your milk into the batter and mix again to make batter firm and moist.

Chill batter for at least 10 minutes.

Using a tablespoon, form generous rounds on an oiled cookie sheet.

Bake 13-15 minutes.

*If you chose to add lots of extra ingredients, you may need to up your binding materials. Be sure to mix flour and milk together before introducing them to the preexisting dough.

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