In America, we don’t consider cookies a morning food. In our culture, they’re almost exclusively seen as a post-dinner treat, but it makes us wonder: why is that? It’s not as if we don’t eat sugar and carbs in the morning. There’s plenty of both in our donuts, cereal, pastries and waffles. Actually, despite the morning cookie taboo, studies have actually suggested that eating cookies with breakfast could be good for your health. But take that with a grain of sugar because moderation is key, of course.
As much as we’d like to, we all know it’s not healthy or reasonable to scarf down a sleeve of Oreos on the way to work in the morning. But there are a couple of less risky ways to make sure you’re getting your recommended daily amount of cookies. In fact, it’s a totally normal part of daily life in many parts of the world. We’ve rounded up a few tips below to help you master the cookie as a breakfast food.
- Do Like the Romans Do — In Italy, cookies are a breakfast staple, served alongside a fresh-pulled shot of espresso or a frothy cappuccino. And why not? They almost always have eggs in them! Italian nutritionists say eating cookies for breakfast is actually good for your health, just so long as you limit the sugar and refined carbs. As delicious as they are, it may surprise you to learn that Italian breakfast cookies tend to have less of both when compared with American cereal and donuts, making them awesome contenders for the breakfast menu. Here are some of the best Italian cookies to complement any morning routine.
- Dunk Your Biscotti — When it comes to morning-worthy Italian cookies, biscotti are at the top of the list. These crunchy, sweet staples are designed for vigorous dunking in coffee and tea. If you’re not big on dunking, make your biscotti extra tasty by slathering it with your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as gianduja or Nutella.
- Grab Some Shortbread Cookies — Traditional Italian breakfast cookies are made with a shortbread dough which is subtly sweet with a firm exterior and soft interior. This makes them a great breakfast complement. In the morning, they’re often made into oblong shapes or twists so they’re easier to dunk into coffee.
- Start with Pan di Stelle — Mulino Bianco’s world-famous, star-studded cookie is ubiquitous at breakfast tables across Italy, and for good reason. The sweet chocolate and hazelnut cookie goes perfectly with coffee or tea. The best Italian cookie gift baskets even couple Pan di Stelle with whole espresso beans because they’re the perfect pair.
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- Bake Them with Healthy Grains — If you’re not totally keen on the idea of going straight for the ultra-sweet, highly processed cookies, try baking your own with healthier ingredients. Adding in plenty of healthy, filling ingredients — rolled oats, whole grain flour, flax seeds, raisins and other dried fruit — can help start you off on the right foot in the morning. Make sure to bake them the night before so you have a delicious, fresh treat with zero prep in the morning.
- Bake Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies — Who doesn’t love oatmeal cookies? Give them a healthy, breakfast-friendly upgrade by swapping the refined sugar and chocolate for fruits and honey or maple sugar. Mix in some raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, pumpkin seeds or flax seeds.
- Roll Some Protein Balls — Although they’re branded as a health food, let’s be honest: protein balls are just grown-up cookies. These healthy treats combine various high-protein ingredients with rolled oats, peanut or almond butter and protein powder for a delicious a.m. pick-me-up that doesn’t make you feel guilty.
- Bake Bacon Cookies — What’s better than a combination of salty and sweet? There are tons of recipes out there that use crisp bacon to add a crunchy, salty complement. Make sure to sweeten your cookie with maple syrup to tie in the whole breakfast experience.
- Make French Toast Cookies — If you’re a fan of French toast and a fan of cookies, you need to bake French toast cookies that taste exactly like the real thing! They start with a standard sugar cookie but take a breakfast twist, thanks to a bit of vanilla extract, maple extract, cinnamon and nutmeg.
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- Pair Them with a Cup of Tea — In many parts of the world, it’s not uncommon to serve a cup of hot tea alongside a plate of tasty cookies (also known as biscuits across the pond). Whether you enjoy them in the morning or with your afternoon cup, cookies are an amazing pick-me-up throughout the day. A hot cup of herbal tea pairs perfectly with soft, pastry-like cookies, but more sturdy biscuits are preferred for dunking, so keep that in mind when selecting.
- Enjoy Rich Tea Biscuits — A British specialty, these tea accompaniments feature a delicately sweet flavor and a light, crumbly texture. Because they’re relatively plain and hold up well to dunking, they’re another prime candidate for dipping in your coffee or tea.
- Dunk Digestive Biscuits in Tea — This Scottish staple was once believed to help eaters digest starches after dinner, but now we eat them simply because they’re delicious. They are similar in texture to rich tea biscuits, so they’re ideal for your warm a.m. beverages.
- Try Russian Tea Cakes — You’ve probably seen these little powdered sugar covered cake balls on dessert platters at Christmastime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat them year-round. Since they’re made of a softer, more pastry-like dough, these cookies aren’t for dipping!
If you’re a breakfast trailblazer, why not consider swapping out your standard pancakes and French toast for some crunchy cookies the next time you make breakfast? Just as long as you keep it relatively low on the sugar and refined carbs and make it a once-in-a-while treat, there’s no harm in occasionally swapping breakfast with dessert.