Firsts things first: what’s a “scookie”? A scookie is a scone-cookie hybrid, thus named after many happy accidents resulting in a baked treat with a scone shape and a cookie crumb. How’d that happen? Let me back up a bit. Baking without butter and without refined sugar creates a precarious problem. Both butter (margarine, Crisco, et-disgusting-cetera) and refined sugar (whether it is of the pedestrian Domino variety or the super-duper organic raw Sucanat sort) create the spread that we identify as a cookie-thing. Ditch the butter for organic canola or raw coconut oil, but keep the refined sugar and you’ll still get the spread. Same thing happens if you switch the sugar for something less processed (maple syrup, for insistence) and cream with butter: spread is maintained. But when you remove both butter and sugar, well, there’s the rub. And there’s the scookie. Now don’t get me wrong: I often bake with butter. The unctuous thing that butter does cannot be duplicated. Sometimes, though, I want something a little lighter and little more everyday, if you will. I never, however, cook with refined sugar. But I digress.
My friend is slightly obsessed with a carob-almond flavored energy bar. As far as bars go, this one’s pretty good and clean. Still, I thought I’d try to duplicate it without the abundance of brown rice syrup (to maintain all that sticky, will-last-for-months goodness) that the processed bar contains. On the contrary, my treat is sweetened with only a few drops of maple syrup (easily eliminated if you so choose) and blackstrap molasses. (Blackstrap molasses is actually very healthy, for sugar: it is mineral-dense and an iron powerhouse, which is particularly necessary for vegans/vegetarians as well as women who are menstruating or breastfeeding. But it must be blackstrap. Period.) As an added nutritional bonus (as well as subversive sweetness), I added coconut flakes, dried figs, dates, raisins and goji berries to my concoction. The fiber in one scookie will keep you regular for a week! They are also vegan and naturally gluten-free (no weird gums nor refined starches here). Enjoy them for breakfast or dessert. Or, better yet, both!