Vegan Lactation Cookies

Today my twins turn 6 months old! Somehow. I am not really sure how that much time has passed. But this milestone means that I am returning to my regular work hours, which is still half time. But Tuesdays are my day home with the twins. As they’ve gotten a little older, the schedule-less chaos has settled a little bit, and they usually take a solid morning nap. It’s been lovely to have a little time on my hands where I can indulge in a hobby and feel a little more like my usual self. Baking is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy the precision, the feel of dough, the smells from the oven, and since I have a sweet tooth, I love the final project.

A few weeks ago, I needed to make cookies for a food drop at a local charity, and I used the Tuesday morning nap window to make them. It was the first time in months that I was able, not only to make something delicious and fun, but to be focused on that single task. It reminded me how much handcrafts mean to me and how good it is for my mental state. So it was decided. On Tuesdays I bake.

And so even though this Tuesday day began at 4am after one twin awoke hungry and refused to go back to sleep, throwing the napping schedule way off, I was determined to do my Tuesday baking. I hadn’t planned ahead, and I’m still on a restricted diet for breastfeeding, so I went on a Pinterest search for dairy- and egg-free lactation cookies. I came across this one from Detoxinista. A quick pantry check showed I had everything needed (well, in general, more in a sec), so I set to work!

And then the inevitable happened. I heard a cry. So I stopped what I was doing and went to the nursery. Our troubled sleeper slept no more, but I figured I could make it work if there was only one babe awake. With my assistant in a sling I returned to the kitchen.

I did end up adapting the recipe after all. I didn’t have coconut sugar on hand. It’s an ingredient I’ve never purchased but will look into, as I am interested in keeping sweets as low-glycemic as possible. Instead I used ~¾ cup of brown sugar. I also chose not to go gluten free by making the oat flour in the recipe. I did have the oats available, but since twin A was sleeping I really didn’t want to run the blender. So I planned on substituting an equal amount of whole wheat flour instead. I mixed the dough by hand and was surprised to find I couldn’t add a full 2 cups of the whole wheat flour. After about 1 ½ cups the batter was getting quite stiff, so I just decided to follow what it was trying to tell me, and left it at that. Also, I used semi-sweet milk chocolate chips instead of dark. I’m slowly re-introducing chocolate and luckily it’s been ok so far.

I have to say, I am quite pleasantly surprised at the results. They are on the healthy side, aren’t overly sweet, but still seem like a treat.

Today’s learnings:

  • I am so glad I bought an internal oven thermometer. After preheating to 325* on the dial when the recipe called for 350*, my oven’s internal temperature was 375*!
  • A heaping teaspoon netted 21 cookies.
  • They do NOT spread much when baking, so take that into consideration when flattening the cookies just prior to baking. Make them the shape you want in the end.
  • If baking with an infant in a ring sling, clip a toy to the rings. This will prevent them from dropping their toy in your mixing bowl. We had a couple of close calls…

Today have begun with only four hours of sleep, after a couple of very difficult nights. I haven’t slept for more than 4.5 hours at a time in 6 months. But it’s little things like baking and writing that make me feel…normal. I could have tried to nap but having something tangible and handmade really helps on those tough mom days. And now I have a hand-made treat to help get me over the hump.

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