Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Amazing Cookies" From the Rancho La Puerta Spa (So Are They?)

I have a penchant for buying spa cookbooks. (OK, so I actually have an addiction for buying any cookbook but a special fondness or inclination for spa cookbooks). You have to assume that cookbooks put out by spas will have reasonably healthy food that tastes good, as that is why most people go to spas, to relax, indulge and to get healthy too. Since I don't have the dollars to drop on a spa week, I have to settle for the budget option of cooking from one of my spa cookbooks and a good face mask. (Although not usually at the same time--I don't want to scare any neighbors or passersby that might be glancing into my kitchen window!)

I found The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook by Bill Wavrin, in a used book store the other day and tabbed a bunch of recipes to make. Since I was headed off to a work meeting and lunch last week I whipped up a batch of their "Amazing Cookies" to take with me. My partners and co-workers are healthy eaters for the most part, so I knew they were a good group for this cookie. I made a couple of additions to the cookie, listed below in the Notes/Results section. 

Warvin, who was/is(?) the executive chef at the spa says: "I make a double or triple batch because these go fast , and I freeze the ones that survive the first onslaught for those sweet-tooth emergencies later on. Figure an additional 7 calories in each cookie if you add the chocolate chips. I do."

Amazing Cookies
The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook, Bill Wavrin
(Makes 30 cookies)

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 bananas
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp light or dark brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange extract
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 2 cooking sheets with vegetable oil spray. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, and baking soda and whisk 8 or 9 times until well mixed. In a food processor or blender, combine the bananas, egg whites, brown sugar, orange zest, and vanilla and orange extracts and process until smooth and creamy. 

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold the raisins and, if desired, the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1-inch between them, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool completely on wire racks. 

(Per recipe as written) Per cookie: 45 cal; 0g total fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1g protein, 9g carbs, 0g fiber, 18mg sodium.

Notes/Results: "Amazing" is a pretty strong word, so I am not convinced they are necessarily amazing, but for a pretty healthy cookie, they are darn good. Very moist, chewy, with a nice flavor. I baked mine on parchment, used my small scoop and only got 24 cookies so I think my tablespoons were a little too rounded. They baked up very nicely in 10 minutes. I changed the 3/4 cup raisins in the recipe to about 1/2 golden raisins and 1/2 dried cranberries for a little tart/sweet kick. I also added about 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds and a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seed for some extra nutrition. And of course I put the chocolate chips in! They were easy to make and a hit with everyone at lunch. Lots of positive comments on both the moistness and flavor. These would be a great little breakfast cookie or snack, although I am guessing my slightly larger cookies with the extra "stuff" would come in closer to 60 calories each. I didn't get a chance to freeze them and then try them; they went straight from the wire rack to the plastic plate and off to lunch, (explains the not-so-great pictures), but I will be making these again, and maybe trying some different variations.


  1. They look pretty amazing to me! Your sweet tooth bar has been raised by the ice cream.
    We are just discovering lately how much we love raw sunflower seeds added to baked goods. (bonus, they're cheap too!

  2. these sounds really good with the craisins- and for only 60 calories! that's pretty awesome. I made oatmeal cookies last night too.

  3. These are chock-full of delicious goodies....sound tasty :)

  4. They don't look too bad. They'd make nice bars!

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  6. They do look good, and all that healthy stuff would probably make me eat too many of them.

  7. Hmm, I am not usually a fan of cookies with banana (though I love banana in everything else) but these look worth a trial!

  8. they look delicious, I would make them a bit bigger like an oat cake :)

  9. 20 years ago Chef Bill and I worked at Rancho La Puerta and I always enjoyed his cookies. Today we're working together for the third time at Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona, California. We celebrate 150 years of welcoming Guests to the Hot Springs next year. Thanks for enjoying his cookies, Chef is a pretty amazing guy as well.

  10. If you enjoy that book, you may really like the new cookbook from the Ranch, "Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta." Many delicious recipes -- and all organized by seasons!


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