Winter here in Michigan, there’s a volunteer-run indoor track season called the Michigan Indoor Track Series. Unlike high school athletic association regulated sports with all the rules we’ve become so accustomed to, MITS is pure running: any age kid from elementary to high school pays an entry fee, gets to compete in any event they want, wearing whatever they want…so long as it isn’t a school sports uniform. There’s a qualifying standard for the “state meet”. Run, jump, or throw that standard at any meet during the season, and you get to go to state. Simple.
It’s one of the coolest things I’ve watched. Without school uniforms to divide them, kids just mingle and meet each other. They try new events on a whim. Kids figure out what heat they should be in, based on a guess of how fast they run. They assemble relay teams on the fly, without regard to age or school or even knowing how fast their new friend is, just for the fun of passing the baton.
I can’t think of many things in my life that have become less regulated over time. School, parenting, home building, growing a garden, medicine, even food blogging–all choked under rules upon rules. Maybe that’s why I find MITS so beautiful.
Anyway, all that really has little to do with this recipe. We’re four paragraphs in, and I haven’t even mentioned the name of the recipe, and now I’ve torpedoed any hope that the Google Algorithm will rank this post. The only reason this story about MITS relates, is because I invented this recipe after a recent indoor track meet.
But here’s a teaser photo in case you haven’t “Jumped to Recipe” yet.
Now back to the backstory on the cookies.
It was after an indoor meet, my girls had raced the mile and a 4 x 200 relay (a motley bunch of distance girls trying their luck at a sprint, failing, but having a ball). The girls were doing some 800 repeats on the track to finish out the day while I chatted with the coach. My younger daughter came over to us, looking terrible.
Coach asked…um, when did you last eat? Apparently not since a banana at breakfast.
It was 3pm. She’d raced a mile, a 200, and three 800s on a banana.
Crying out loud, girl. So we fed her, and she perked right up.
Feeding athletes is a colossal challenge with food allergies. All the “strong” foods we think of are off the table. No high fat yogurt, nuts, eggs, granola bars, protein bars. So out of that event, these Energy Cookies were born. They’re whole grain, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free. They freeze perfectly and can adapt easily with any additional dried fruit, seeds, or chocolate you’d like.
I suppose my vegan friends can substitute out the honey, but I had to use honey in this recipe. Because it’s special honey. It’s Bonnie’s honey from her happy bees.
Bonnie is a nurse in our office, and she just doesn’t stop. She always says it like it is. She ran her first marathon at age 50. And then decided to take up beekeeping a few years ago. I challenge any vegan to find a sugar beet, corn kernel, rice grain, or sugar cane stalk more beloved and earth friendly than those bees. Honey from a friend with well-loved bees makes all the difference in this recipe.
So go super-charge your little runners, rowers, lifters, and swimmers. Teach them to fuel their bodies well so they can be strong, and encourage variety in their sport. There’s nothing more fun than watching a distance kid try their hand at a 60 meter dash or a long jump. There’s no better time than youth to sample a range of sport.
Fall and winter running is winding down and spring crew season is upon us. The girls are already itching to get out on the water. Over the next few months, wiry runner legs and arms will turn into thick muscle, as the intensely individual sport of running gives way to rowing, arguably the most team oriented sport on earth.
And this year, we have some pretty great cookies to keep them going.
Now this is a properly prepared track backpack!Print
These whole grain energy cookies are also dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free.
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 T. chia seeds
- 2 T. ground flax seeds
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (or dairy-free margarine)
- 2 shots of espresso ( I used 2 nespresso pods, about 1/4 cup total)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar, coconut oil, espresso, and honey to a boil.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the hot sugar syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and blend well.
- Drop in spoonful on the parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Flatten slightly before baking.
- Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and set on the tops.
I have a Nespresso espresso maker, but you can use 1/4 cup strong coffee if you’d like. If you don’t want any caffeine, use decaf or just use water.
I use a cookie dough scoop for all my cookie recipes, and really recommend getting one. It makes this go so much faster.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: energy cookies, whole grain cookies, dairy-free cookies, coffee cookies
Hopefully this crew season will start out better than last year’s first novice race on the Grand River! 😂
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Spring Carrot Cupcakes