Last Friday was my brother's birthday. October 23rd. My family have now gathered for seven birthdays without my brother. This year he would have turned 33. 33 years ago my mum became a mum. As I hold my two month old babe in my arms and type this post, the reality of what my mother and father have gone through since losing their baby boy at age 25 cuts me. I'm struck by our loss in a new way. In a way I cannot bring myself to fully think on. Losing a child.
This year it's breakfast cookies, because I needed another breastfeeding snack ready for midnight munchies. It's a selfish choice, he'd certainly not have needed these cookies. But he loved me and would have wanted his sister to be supremely nourished for his niece. His niece he'll never get to know, but who will always know and love her Uncle David. My brother would have been beside himself with joy at baby Joan's arrival. He'd be the most doting Uncle, more than anyone, a fact my younger brother would heartily agree upon. He was a big love ball, my brother. At the heart of it all, our fights as teenagers and frustrations with each other, he was a sweet, sensitive, talented guy who loved to love. He never lost his childlike wonder, forever remaining the protective, proud, silly, loving older brother who welcomed me into his life as his little "Buddy". And we miss him, now more than we have in a while. He should be here, holding his niece and marvelling at her. He should be here.
I'm finding it hard to end this post. I want to keep writing about him but at the same time I can't bear to write about him. The reality of it all is too much. So, cookies.
I made these chewy breakfast cookies based on the ingredients I had in the pantry and a method which would not disturb baby Joan while she slept on my chest in the Ergo carrier. I then stocked the freezer and gifted one each to my family. One for them, 11 for me. Well, it's for baby Joan, really.
Feel free to play around with the seed and almond components here. Chopped walnuts would be wonderful, and you could swap the cinnamon for ground cardamom or ginger. I also think a big spoonful of natural nut butter, chopped dates or cacao nibs would be swell additions. Know that the cookies will be very moist when forming and that is ok. The fridge time helps them to form easier so it's no big deal.
I miss you. I wish you could see our baby. See and hold and kiss and love her. Joan has your piano-player fingers and looks just like me when I was a newborn. On sunny days, she wears the hat you wore as a baby and when it's cold we dress her in the booties you picked out for me when I was born. She'll always know and love you, her Uncle David.
2 small-medium bananas, mashed (skin off weight total ~185g)
1/4 cup honey
20g extra virgin coconut oil, melted
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pepitas
1 heaping tablespoon flaked almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2.Toast the sunflower seeds, pepitas and almond flakes lightly in a pan until just toasted.
3. Crack the egg into large mixing bowl and whisk with a fork. Mash the banana into the egg and add the honey and coconut oil.
4. Add the rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
5. Add the spelt flour and toasted seeds/nuts and fold until just combined.
6. Put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. This will make forming the cookies easier.
7. Roll heaped tablespoon portions of the mixture into balls and place them on the lined baking tray 5cm apart. Don't flatten the balls, they will rise into the shape photographed above. If you like flatter cookies, you can press down on the balls once on the tray using a fork, just keep in mind you'll need to space them further apart. The cooking time doesn't tend to change due too much but you may want to bring the flatter cookies out earlier. Bake in the oven for ~15 minutes (rotating the pan two thirds of the way through cooking) until lightly golden on top and golden brown on the bottom. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 5 minutes (this will allow them to brown further on the bottom) before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.