Join the Lunchbox Revolution

Freeze! Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to You, with the Ho Ho hanging out of your mouth. That means you too, Mister cheese doodler.


Lulu's cookies and coffee. (Kim O'Donnel)

Come on, hand it over. I promise, it won't hurt. Just this once, I want you to trade in some of that processed lunchbox loot for something a little bit different.

In fact, this snack/dessert/breakfast-on-the-run is so scrumptious I am confident you won't want your bag o' doodles back. I've got a secret weapon cookie that will have your friends lining up in the cafeteria begging for seconds. Best of all (don't tell anyone), this cookie is good for your heart.

In addition to the much-touted cholesterol-lowering oats, this little zinger is loaded with sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which contain cholesterol-lowering, hearty-healthy compounds called phytosterols. Flax seeds, with their highly publicized and sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids, also appear, doubleteaming as a binder for this egg and dairy-free batter.

Imagine that -- a cookie that's good for your heart.

Aside from a hot oven, the recipe below requires little else but a wooden spoon, mixing bowl and measuring utensils. This means kids and parents alike can -- and should -- participate. Batter can be made in advance and frozen to be thawed as needed.

I'm telling you, if there's only one piece of kitchen advice I can give you, it's to make a batch of these cookies. Everyone will love you (I've been getting requests for the past 13 years), and with every batch, you'll make the world a happier, heart-healthier place. I can see it now -- children all over the planet eating Lulu's cookies from their lunchboxes, eschewing those bags of neon-orange curls and foiled-wrapped choco-rolls! It will be the most delicious revolution ever. (Can't I dream just a little?)

Now, do you really want those doodles back?

Lulu's Cookies
adapted (and originally published as "Energy Cookies") from "Brother Juniper's Bread Book: Slow Rise as Method and Metaphor" by Brother Peter Reinhart

1/2 cup each sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup hot water
1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (up to 3/4 cup if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast seeds on a baking sheet about 8 minutes, or until the sesame seeds turn a golden color. Be careful not to burn seeds.

Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt.

Soak raisins in hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain, but reserve raisin water.

Add raisin water to dry mixture, plus canola oil and honey. With a rubber spatula, stir until combined. Add cooled seeds and stir to combine, then add raisins and chocolate chips. Don't overmix.

Form teaspoon-sized patties onto a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't overbake; the cookies will turn into rocks.

Makes about 50 cookies.

By Kim ODonnel |  September 12, 2006; 10:19 AM ET Desserts , Lunch Box
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Oats? Can you be more specific?

Thanks, they sound wonderful.


Posted by: rkk | September 12, 2006 12:48 PM

Hey Kim-- Any chance that book included nutritional breakdown? :-) Thanks for posting, they sound delightful.

Posted by: Divine Ms K | September 12, 2006 1:14 PM

Rkk: Rolled oats are fine. Don't use instant oatmeal. Irish-cut too thick.
Miss K: As I was writing this, was thinking darn, I should get this scrutinized by a nutritionist or borrow someone's software. Let me see what I can muster up.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | September 12, 2006 1:24 PM

Do you recommend using whole wheat flour, or regular A-P? If w.w., would quantity be adjusted at all? Thanks.

Posted by: wdc | September 12, 2006 1:36 PM

Any thoughts on an ingredient to replace the raisins? I am not a fan, but I dont want the cookies to taste like they are missing something....

Posted by: Christine | September 12, 2006 1:42 PM

Christine, I've not done it, but why not give dried cranberries a whirl? There's actually a method to the madness of the recipe -- hot water reconstitutes dried fruit and also gets flavored. So if raisins don't do it for you, try another dried fruit. Maybe even apricots...

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | September 12, 2006 1:52 PM

So who is Lulu? :-)

Thanks for the suggestion about any dried fruit to replace raisins. They are a turnoff for me as well.

If you can get the nutritional data, please let us know!

Posted by: Pat | September 12, 2006 2:35 PM

Hi Kim --- my sister-in-law is on a serious weight loss program (diet/exercise). She has lost 40 lbs so far and wants to lose a bit more. She went back to school this fall, while keeping a full time job as nurse. I've noticed that she has been eating those 100 calorie bars of all kinds that you can get in large boxes at Costco to tide her over during the day. Do you have recipes such as Lulu's cookies that can replace these bars and be all natural but still be low-cal, oh, and easy to eat? --- thanks.

Posted by: leah | September 12, 2006 2:52 PM

Hi Kim- thanks for the almost-vegan and definitely tasty-looking recipe! Is there something I could put in to replace the honey, to make it entirely plant-based? Maple syrup, maybe?

Posted by: happy vegan | September 12, 2006 3:27 PM

Can I substitute whole wheat flour for part of the all-purpose flour?

Posted by: Dottieb | September 12, 2006 3:28 PM

Happy Vegan: I mentioned earlier that agave nectar (used a lot by "raw" cooks might be a good alternative.
Leah: As I mentioned in another post, I am going to try and get nutritional info on these. Stay tuned.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | September 12, 2006 3:39 PM

I've made these with dried cherries and instead of adding chocolate chips, drizzled melted chips over the top of baked ones to make a little fancier to give as Christmas presents. I've also made them with dates.
My family eats them as after school snacks and my hubby takes them to work to eat with his morning tea.

Posted by: julie | September 12, 2006 3:52 PM

I calculated 3 weight watchers points per cookie on their (ww's) website. Frame of reference: I'm allowed to eat 22 points per day.

Posted by: amyfp | September 12, 2006 4:20 PM

Kim, been meaning to say "thanks!" for the Syrian lentil recipe for a while. The husband and I adapted the recipe to include a bit more chard. We've also made it with kale, turnip greens, and beet greens (mustard greens too but they proved too bitter).

We generally top it with a generous dollop of plain yogurt and a bit more pom molasses or mix in some kefir. We've been serving alongside whole wheat pita with fruit and chai for dessert. As the winter comes, we'll probably do something dried fig or date for dessert.

Please keep the recipes coming!

Posted by: Melissa | September 12, 2006 4:34 PM

I thought I read somewhere that you don't get the full nutritional benefits of flax seeds if you eat them whole because they have a hard casing. Has anyone else heard this? Does the toasting breakdown that "shell"?

Posted by: 20010 | September 12, 2006 4:39 PM

Rice nectar is even more honey-like than agave. You can buy it at Pangea, the vegan store in Rockville, under the name "Suzanne's Just Like Honey Rice Nectar." (

You can feed it to small children too, unlike honey.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2006 8:52 AM

I love cookies and I'm going to make these. I'm a little scared of the seeds but will close my eyes and try them.

One conundrum: make cookies = eat cookies (or more than I normally would if I bought them)

Posted by: Marty in Arlington | September 13, 2006 12:57 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I've been meaning to make it out to Pangea for a while, so I'll just add rice nectar to my shopping list!

Posted by: happy vegan | September 13, 2006 2:17 PM

Instead of the all-purpose flour, why not use King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour? It tastes and bakes like white, but has the nutrition and fiber of whole wheat.

Can't wait to try the recipe!

Posted by: WWF (whole wheat fan) | September 13, 2006 3:30 PM

what is the "serving size" for these (which I guess is an offshoot of the nutritional data question. Eating 10 might not be much better than a hoho!)

Posted by: Serving Size? | September 13, 2006 3:53 PM

I have used chopped dates in place of the raisins and this worked very well.

Posted by: cb | September 13, 2006 5:34 PM

Kim, check out, it has a feature where you can enter in all the ingredients of an entire recipe, estimate the serving size and it'll do an extensive calculation of the nutritional information per serving.

Posted by: nutrition | September 13, 2006 11:06 PM

This analysis is from and does not necessarily account for the effects of baking and all that. It's a piece-by-piece analysis. Maybe Kim can get someone to do a more thorough analysis another time.

Assuming 50 cookies per recipe, and with percentages indicating % daily value for someone on a 2000 cal daily diet:

Total calories per cookie: 160 (8%)
- Calories from fat: 69
- Calories from carbohydrate: 80
- Calories from protein: 11

Total carbohydrate: 20.3 g
- Dietary fiber: 1.5 g (6%)
- Sugars: 8.6 g

Total fat: 8.0 g (12%)
- Saturated fat: 1.1 g (6%)
- Monounsaturated fat: 3.6 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.8 g
* Omega-6 fats (est.): 2.3 g
* Omega-3 fats (est.): 0.5 g

Cholesterol: 0.1 mg (0%)

Protein: 3.1 g (6%)

- Calcium: 30.8 mg (3%)
- Iron: 1.5 mg (8%)
- Magnesium: 32.0 mg (8%)
- Phosphorus: 89.7 mg (9%)
- Potassium: 91.2 mg (3%)
- Sodium: 34.5 mg (1%)
- Zinc: 0.6 mg (4%)
- Copper: 0.2 mg (8%)
- Manganese: 0.4 mg (18%)
- Selenium: ~4.9 mcg (~7%)

- A: 10.4 IU (0%)
- C: 0.2 mg (0%)
- E: ~0.8 mg (~4%)
- Thiamin: 0.1 mg (9%)
- Riboflavin: 0.1 mg (5%)
- Niacin: 0.8 mg (4%)
- Folate: 26.8 mcg (7%)
- Pantothenic acid: ~0.2 mg (~2%)
- K: ~6.6 mcg (~8%)

Estimated glycemic load: 8

Posted by: nutrition | September 13, 2006 11:56 PM

Using this recipe I made at least 100 cookies and I think my cookies are more than a heaping teaspoon. I substituted maple syrup as I could not find the nectars and used dried cranberries and they are delicious! (I probably would add more cranberries next time.) I thought I had done something wrong as the batter was very thick, but they turned out great.

Posted by: Claire | September 15, 2006 10:30 AM

Kim- can I use regular veg. oil instead of canola? I'd like to avoid buying another type of oil- or any other combo? veg oil and apple sauce, maybe?

Posted by: canola-phone | September 19, 2006 12:39 PM

Let me drop some reality amongst all these platitudes. Lulu's cookies taste like what they are: health food cookies. If it sounds like an oxymoron... it is. They have no chew, no richness, no, to put it bluntly, "cookieness". What they are, are cookie-sized loaves of quickbread with raisins, seeds and chips in them. They don't even look appetizing. They look dull and misshapen.

No revolution will come of this recipe. And do not bring Lulu's Cookies to a cookie swap. It would be like asking your bank to give change for Monopoly money.

Posted by: counterpoint | September 25, 2006 3:22 PM

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