My cousin has just taken her darling baby daughter home from the hospital so I volunteered to make her some lactation cookies. She requested Caramilk flavour and since I couldn’t find a recipe, I adapted one from the delicious seeming recipe on “My kids lick the bowl”. I was stoked with the result! I’m assuming you all know what a lactation cookie is, but if not then other people have explained it better than I can. There’s not a lot of science that’s been done around lactation cookies and truthfully I’m not entirely convinced they work – I tried a few different recipes while I was breastfeeding and never experienced the notable bump in supply some people report after eating a few – but even so, I think they’re a good idea. Hungry breastfeeding mums absolutely need tasty snacks that cost them no effort. Also, lactation cookies are packed with beneficial nutrition so what’s the harm? Well, yes, this particular recipe comes with sugar too but people who are operating on three hours sleep deserve that stuff guilt-free, okay? So back off.
If you know a mum with a new bub and you’re wondering what you can do to help (and you know she’s breastfeeding) then a gift of lactation cookies is a good bet. I suggest only baking half of the batch and giving the second half of the dough frozen in ball form, ready to be defrosted and baked. I personally didn’t want like 30 cookies at once but a supply of fresh ones from frozen dough kept me really happy.
Lactation cookies can, of course, be enjoyed by anyone (except obviously women in the process of weaning). Considering that these bikkies are high in protein and contain omega 3 and B vitamins, I’m sure they’d be particularly beneficial for vegetarians. My kids liked them, too. Come to think of it, I bet they’d make great tramping snacks – must remember that if I ever get to go bush again!
My cousin hasn’t actually tried these yet, but I will update this post with her verdict when she has. You see, Barns woke up sick the morning we were going to go visit and so we stayed home and ate the cookies ourselves. PSA: if you are even slightly sick, do not go and visit people with a new baby. They might love you but there’s no way they want to see you more than they want to protect their child. Hopefully in the post-Covid world you’re all thinking, jeez, Tara, I know that already!
Eating these ourselves wasn’t exactly a hardship. They really are wonderful biscuits. Calling them cookies, at least in a New Zealand context, is a bit of a misnomer – I only hear the word “cookie” for biscuits when they’re really big, sweet, and chunky. Instead, these are incredibly moreish little mouthfuls, a bit chewy and a bit crumbly, nutty and not too sweet, with a distinct Caramilk flavour. Yum!
A few recipe notes:
I substituted nutritional yeast for brewer’s yeast because I couldn’t afford the latter. Some websites I looked at accept this substitution and others don’t think it’s the same thing at all. Like I said, we’re not working with exact science here. Oats and flax meal are the main thing anyway, the brewer’s yeast is optional and nutritional yeast is very similar, so I thought I might as well. If you do use brewer’s yeast you’ll need to look for one of the low-flavour types or possibly up the amount of chocolate in the recipe. It’s really strong tasting stuff. Nutritional yeast has a cheese flavour which doesn’t come out in the biscuits at all.
I chopped the nuts and chocolate reasonably finely to achieve a more crumbly textured cookie. This is also why I’ve used “quick” or rolled oats. The labelling in the supermarket (in Countdown, at least) isn’t very consistent, but you want the oats that are a bit broken up as opposed to whole oats.
Recipe: Nutty Caramilk Lactation Cookies.
- 125g butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1 Tablespoon Brewers Yeast (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped Caramilk chocolate
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used a mixture of almonds and cashews)
- Line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
- Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined.
- Wet your hands and roll mixture into balls about the size of a big prune.
- Space the balls out on the baking sheet and bake for around twelve minutes or until nicely brown.
- Cool at first on the tray and then transfer them to a wire rack. (If you let them cool all the way on the tray they will stick). Enjoy!
One last note: The biscuits are very much to my taste, but if you wanted them a bit more cookie-ish, you could try this:
- At least double the size
- Increase chocolate a bit and use larger chunks
- Reduce nuts correspondingly and use larger chunks
- Use whole rolled oats instead of quick oats