Marathon Cookies

The cookies I made for The Relay are derived from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks Marathon Cookie recipe.  Heidi writes that she didn’t want her cookies to be too sweet, and that she was looking for bright, crisp flavors.  I’m not a huge fan of the aniseed/licorice flavor, but wanted the “spice” pop she describes.

I subbed a generous amount (heaping teaspoon and then some) of cinnamon and a healthy dash of cloves.  I used a combination of brown sugar and agave for the sweetener, and played around with the flour, using half whole wheat pastry flour and half spelt flour.  I left out the citrus, but only because I didn’t have the lemon and at the last-minute decided to forgo my intended orange zest substitute.  I subbed figs for dates because figs are my favorite, and used chopped walnuts in lieu of sunflower seeds because I forgot to buy the seeds.  (Notice a trend?  I had jetted in and out of the grocery in a crazy rush and as a result ended up doing a lot of substituting.  Happily, it worked.)  Lastly, I chose navy beans because they had the highest protein and fiber content.  I wanted these bad boys to be as nutritionally dense as possible.

Oh!  And the most important substitution — nearly forgot.  I subbed plain soy (vegan) yogurt for the egg, so that these would be vegan treats.  The egg is the only non-vegan friendly ingredient in the bunch, so it was an easy conversion.  I asked around the internet for suggestions, and also heard a banana and something called Ener-G egg substitute, but I didn’t want the banana flavor and who wants to used a processed unknown when there’s an easy yogurt option?  So plain soy yogurt it was.  Used a full six ounce cup because I doubled the recipe overall, but I think if you do the standard recipe you use a mere 1/4 cup or so.  Just fyi.

All that being said, I do intend to try Heidi’s recipe as she originally made it.  I was pleased with my result overall, but they were a tad sweet.  After all those electrolyte-infused waters, the last thing I wanted was more sweetness.  I think the lemon zest and aniseeed would give them a good zippy kick — not too sweet, not too savory.

They were a big hit.  Dense, moist, more cake-like than cookie-like.  And full of “good stuff,” which made grabbing for them post-run guiltless.

Heidi’s recipe can be found here.  Even after all that talk about blending the oats to create a flour and pulverizing the beans to a paste, they were a breeze to make.  Don’t be daunted.  My least favorite (and messiest) part was rolling the dough into balls at the end, it kept sticking in big gloopy patches all over my hands.  I developed a single-handed technique, using a spoon to scoop the dough with my right hand and rolling them into a ball shape with my left hand.  I also found it easier to make a bunch of dough balls at once and then to roll them through the seeds; if you do it one at a time you use far more seeds, as they stick to your goobered fingers.

My last two tips:  first, I used more sesame seeds than I anticipated (so much so that I ran out) and second, the right amount of time for my oven was 16ish minutes.  Fifteen was just shy, the extra minute (or even two) definitely made a difference.  Heidi ballparks the quantity well with the one and a half-dozen guesstimate.

Yum.  Can’t wait for the next excuse to make them again.


  1. Karianna /

    Yum! These are so terrific, and I’m thrilled that they are healthful. It was definitely a “no-guilt” post-run treat because I knew I was eating all-natural and with protein and fiber. Wooo! Thank you so much for keeping us smiling.

  2. RookieMom Heather /

    Awesome Meg! Heidi is an old friend and someone I once tried to recruit to our team. So glad to hear that her cookies ran with us (both vans, even!)

  3. Petit Elefant /

    Thank you so much for the recipe, I’ve been thinking about them!

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