I have a big bag of sunflower seeds that is quickly approaching the expiration date on the package, so I needed to find a way to use them up before they go bad. I considered making the normal “seeded fare” (muffins, breads, a nice salad with some seeds sprinkled on top), but I was really in the mood for something with a rich and chewy texture this morning – so I whipped up these cookies! And boy, were they good – they were exactly what I was craving: rich, flavorful, chewy and moist. Plus they are an easy and healthy breakfast or snack that will keep you satisfied until lunchtime. You can feel free to add any additional “mix-ins” that suit your mood – the sunflower seeds will accommodate a variety of different flavors very nicely.

3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats (quick cooking, not instant)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (be sure to use “pure” maple, not pancake syrup)

1/4 tahini (sesame paste), or any nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew butter)

1/4 cup raw (unroasted,unsalted) sunflower seeds

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Place the maple syrup and tahini in a small bowl and mix together very well, then stir in the oats, seeds and dried fruit; mix well until everything is combined.

Drop the dough on to the sheet using 12 rounded spoonfuls, and then flatten each cookie slightly with the back of a spoon. bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before carefully loosening them and transfering to a cooling rack. May be eaten warm or at room temperature (but cool completely before storing in an airtight container).

Makes 12 cookies. Per serving (2 cookies): 97 calories, 3 g fat, less than 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 8 g sugar (naturally occurring from the syrup and dried fruit), 4 g protein, 18 g sodium (provided your nut butter of choice is sodium free), 0 g cholesterol

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