No one has ever accused me of being a fast mover. I’ve been trying to be more productive in the morning, but no matter how early I set my alarm, I still don’t settle in until almost an hour after I wake up. Considering my work wardrobe (leggings) and my commute (one floor), that pace is pretty embarrassing. In an effort to make the most of the wee hours—if I’m hauling myself out of bed before the sun, I want to make them worth it—I’ve been turning toward timesaving, ready-made breakfast recipes like today’s Protein Cookies.
What am I doing for the first hour of my day, when it’s just myself and the pooch awake in our house? NO IDEA. Scrolling through my phone while contemplatively brushing my teeth no doubt slows things down. I also catch myself staring out the window at…I’m not sure what, but I’d like to assume that I’m thinking deep thoughts while doing so. Never mind that I can’t usually remember them.
As much as I love the ritual and routine of preparing and sitting down to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, sometimes (i.e., Monday through Friday), a girl just needs to bust through her to-do list. That’s where having a healthy breakfast on hand, such as these Protein Cookies, can be your BFF. No matter how big of a rush you are in, or how much time you’ve already piddled, your breakfast is ready the moment you are.
About This Peanut Butter Protein Cookies Recipe
Cookies for breakfast? Yes! These Protein Cookies are not “cookies” in the traditional sense but are more like a delightful cross between a traditional cookie and muffin top. Think of them as a healthy breakfast cookie that’s higher in protein than most. They’re simple to make, freezer friendly, and infinitely adaptable.
Increasing the amount of protein in my breakfasts has been one of the most positive, lasting healthy diet changes I’ve made over the past few years. As odd as it sounds, I find that as long as I have a good serving of protein first thing in the morning, I make better dietary choices all day long. This Sugar Cookie Overnight Protein Oatmeal and these Peanut Butter Protein Bars are two of my favorite easy ways to add extra protein to my breakfasts, and these lightly sweet, nutty oatmeal Protein Cookies have quickly become another.
These Protein Cookies pack 6 grams of protein per cookie, which is quite remarkable considering that they are made without the addition of protein powder. Although I am a fan of whey protein and use it regularly (this is the brand I usually buy), I know protein power is not something that everyone purchases regularly. My goal was to create a naturally sweetened, reasonably high-protein breakfast cookie that would taste great and be satisfying without it, and I’m so happy with the way these Protein Cookies turned out.
Instead of using protein powder, I focused on including a variety of naturally high-protein ingredients, including oats, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and nut butter. I opted for a peanut butter protein cookie recipe, but you could easily replace it with another nut butter you prefer or have on hand.
This peanut butter protein cookie recipe is an ideal way to enjoy more of the ingredients you love or to make good use of the odd bits of leftover dried fruits, nuts, and chips lurking in your pantry. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Protein Cookies with Dried Fruit. I love the combo of dried cranberries and raisins because they are pleasantly chewy and not too sweet.
- Protein Cookies with Chocolate Chips. For more sweetness, you could easily transform this recipe into chocolate chip protein cookies. Just note that, depending upon what mix-ins you swap, you may alter the cookies’ protein content.
- Protein Cookies with Protein Powder. I have not tried adding protein powder to these cookies. I think you could experiment with a tablespoon or two, but since I haven’t tested the recipe this way, I can’t be certain. If you do decide to play around with adding protein powder, I’d love to hear how it goes.
One final plug for these Protein Cookies: they are EASY! I shared a test batch with Ben’s mom, and she loved them so much that she’s made them every week since. One evening when she didn’t have time to prepare them, Ben’s dad baked them on her behalf. Since the kitchen appliance Ben’s dad uses most is his barbecue grill, I am solidly convinced that this protein cookie recipe is suitable for bakers of all levels.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- 3/4 cup mashed banana about 2 large
- 1/2 cup peanut butter other nut butter of choice, or sunflower seed butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup* or honey or light agave
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup oat flour**
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raisins
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the eggs until evenly combined. Next, stir in the maple syrup, chia seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the baking soda, then the oat flour, over the top. Fold to combine. Last, fold in the pepitas, cranberries, and raisins. The batter will look very liquidy. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill and set for at least 4 hours, or cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.***
- When ready to bake, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. With a large cookie scoop or spoon, portion the batter by ¼ cupfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. If needed, shape them lightly with your fingers so that they are round and slightly flat on top. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies feel dry and set on the top and edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- *As written, these cookies are not super sweet. If you desire a sweeter cookie, add 1 tablespoon additional maple syrup.
- **To make your own oat flour, pulse ¾ cup oats in a food processor until they are well ground.
- ***I found that 4 hours refrigeration time was sufficient for the cookies to set and be thick and puffed like in the photos. Ben's mom found that she needed to chill them overnight or the cookies came out flat. The thickness may vary with your oven, but if you want to be 100% sure of having thick, puffy cookies, I'd suggest overnight refrigeration.
- I have not tried adding protein powder to these cookies. I think you could experiment with a tablespoon or two, but since I haven't tested the recipe this way, I can't be certain. If you do decide to play around with adding protein powder, I'd love to hear how it goes.
- Store leftover cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
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