60% Virtuous is Enough

October 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Nutty Millet Illustration
I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round
His or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

-Walt Whitman

It can be difficult, sometimes, to live like Whitman reads. As generously as I fill my notebooks with his thoughts, we all have those days where humanity could not feel more oppressive. Perhaps BART was particularly full of that brand of person oblivious to commuter etiquette- pushing past to get an inch closer to the door or to grab the hand grip just above me. Perhaps I had to walk home again without looking at the sky or the flowers – head down and feet nearly skimming the sidewalk – because my block is also home to drug dealers and predatory, frightening men.

Despite those days, and largely because I am a romantic sap at the core, I endeavor to live like Whitman taught me on the whole- with that keen sense of attention to everyday loveliness, and that feeling of warmth towards every member of this sea of imperfect humanity. I have been feeling particularly lucky to be just where I am, finally in a career that excites me every day as much as being in my kitchen watching a new recipe come together does.


October 1st found me back in the Bay, this time to stay. It took me a couple of weeks, but once the apartment was habitable, not particularly beautiful perhaps, but habitable, I wanted to fill it up with the people I had missed and to express how much I missed them with copious amounts of baked goods – those edible tokens of love. So I settled into the new kitchen and broke it in a little with my favorite kind of recipe: cozy and humble and a little hearty, a style recently crowned #rustification.

These cookies are one of the best examples of that philosophy in my repertoire. The friendly little fellows are perfect as the first offering at a new office, and are a satisfying, 60% virtuous answer to that inevitable daily yearning for something sweet. Megan Gordon was first famous for her amazing Marge Granola, and now for her book “Whole-Grain Mornings”. Her millet-speckled breakfast cookies are just the kind of thing that sends me racing to my pantry to be sure I have all the ingredients -and because the recipe is so happy to welcome substitutions I almost always affirm: hey, I can make those!


They’re full of good things: millet and nuts for crunch, barley flour for tenderness, oats and raisins for chew and an extra bit of sweetness, and plenty of warm spices. They’re the new oatmeal cookie, except this time you don’t have to feel sheepish about your breakfast choice: it’s really ok to eat these at 8 am, and then again at 3 pm, don’t fight it. But most of all, they are the kind of earnest, beautiful treat that accompanies a cup of tea and book of poetry perfectly, and sets me right with the world again, no matter what kind of day it’s been.


Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings

Makes 12 to 14 cookies

Note: I think walnuts and pecans taste amazing, but because this kind of amazing is so precious price-wise I often opt for a substitution of sunflower seeds so I don’t go completely broke – and I like them. I think of them as the poor girl’s pine-nut.

  • 3/4 cup (90 g) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) barley flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) millet
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) wheat bran (I never have this! Don’t worry – it easily swaps out for wheat germ or quinoa flakes or coconut etc)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 large egg, beaten1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (55 g) raisins
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (SEE NOTE)
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one large baking sheet or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, millet, bran, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and fold in until incorporated. Stir in the raisins and nuts until evenly dispersed. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and, working quickly, form a ball with the palms of your hands. Place the balls about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand to about 3/4 inch thick. (If the dough is too loose, gently drop the scoops of dough onto the baking sheet and shape it into rough balls with your fingers.)

Bake until golden brown around the edges and firmed yet still slightly soft in the center (they’ll continue firming up as they cool), about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If kept in an airtight container, they will remain fresh for 3 to 4 days.


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