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Loving the breakfast cookie trend – take a bite of this, this, and this– kids think they’re getting something decadent for breakfast and you exert nothing more than a freezer-to-microwave maneuver. Carnival Cookies, they’re called and are the brilliant creation from natural food cookbookauthor, Heidi Swanson. The thing about Heidi, if you don’t know, is her commitment to ingredients that are as clean as possible. And many of her recipes are gluten-free. You might have to pick up a few ingredients that most definitely are not in the average pantry, but well worth the effort as we lean into unprocessed diets. I offer replacements, but dare you to try coconut oil or almond meal.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with everything Heidi doles out, hanging on her every word like a lemming waiting for orders from my lord and master. Every other day at Whole Foods with my list in hand I’m asking clerks, “where is the amaranth flour or the rose water?” “Do you have coconut oil that’s not solid?” Part challenge, part devotion – I’m slowly becoming a natural food eater relying less on animal proteins and more on good grains and plant proteins. It’s just happening.

Carnival Cookies are loaded with basic healthy snack food and good grains: bananas, peanuts, popcorn, chocolate chips and rolled oats. If you bristle at the idea of serving chocolate for breakfast, aside from their antioxidant qualities, there is a recent report that eating chocolate in the morning can help you lose weight; check out what Registered Dietician, Sarah-Jane Bedwell has to say about it on the Today Show.

I make these cookies ahead of time and freeze them in half-dozen batches. Thaw them the night before or zap them in the microwave the next morning (lower power please or you’ll Raiders of the Lost Ark the chips).
wake up and smell the cookies



cookies make breakfast a healthy carnival

preptime 20 minutes makes 2 dozen

baketime 14-17 minutes

1 1/2 c mashed bananas (about 3)

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed just out of its solid state

1 1/2 c rolled oats

1 t baking powder

1/2 c almond meal

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t fine sea salt

2/3 c peanuts

1 c bittersweet chocolate chips (dark chocolate chips for antioxidant benefits)

1 1/2 c popped corn

  1. Preheat oven to 350° with racks on bottom third and top third of oven.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (use silicon sheets too) or just spray your pans if you have neither.
  3. In large bowl combine bananas, vanilla, and coconut oil.
  4. In another bowl, mix oats, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips, then peanuts and then popcorn.
  7. Firmly shape balls (even though looser than most cookie dough) about a heaping tablespoon’s worth and place on baking sheets.
  8. Bake both sheets 14-17 minutes, halfway through swapping positions in the oven.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


  • freezer options: freeze cookies on cookie sheet. Then, place in freezer bags removing as much air as possible.
  • use oil you have on hand and flour in place of coconut oil and almond meal.

recipe adapted from Super Natural Everyday cookbook by Heidi Swanson by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


  1. Bill Stoner says Apr 19th 2012 8:41 pm

    Chocolate for breakfast is hugely popular here in Provence, and so I assume also the rest of France. There are maybe 10 varieties of Special K cereal, 7 of which will have chocolate pieces of some sort. Pain de chocolat is THE morning pastry. And the French don’t like things gooey sweet so they use the dark, bittersweet chocolate. These Carnival Cookies sound yummy. Have to go shopping, first.

    • Sherri says Apr 20th 2012 8:33 am

      Thanks Bill for reminding us that the French have a leg up on us for healthy real food breakfasts. The secret, right? indulgence with moderation. We Americans know the first part, but that moderation trips us up. Bon Appetit

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