Lactation cookies

An old friend of mine had a baby last week. Her new son is beyond adorable and makes me much more excited about our impending arrival (if that’s even possible!). Cuddling him brought back memories of all the newborn cuddles Elena and I shared, and I am so looking forward to stealing those moments again.

I’m popping back to see her again today to return some cloth nappies she lent me when Elena was born. As my rule on visiting mums and their new babies dictates, I can’t turn up empty handed. Newly expanded families need to be fed!

One of my favourite gifts to give a breastfeeding mother is a batch of lactation cookies. Before I had Elena I thought they were such a curious concept – biscuits to help stimulate the production of breast milk – but after her birth they made much more sense! I was perpetually on the go, and an easy snack to nibble while breast feeding was always welcome.

I believe the scientific jury is out as to whether or not the biscuits really do increase milk production, but I figure it they can’t hurt. The key ingredients in lactation cookies are brewer’s yeast, linseed meal and oats.

I’m sure the large amounts of sugar and fat help too – by delivering a big dose of energy to the mum.

I’ve refined this recipe over time. It can be adapted however you like. Some people just add chocolate chips, some add nuts. You’re really only limited by your imagination and what you have on hand. Today, I had white and dark chocolate chips and some dried cranberries which were crying out to be used.

There’s something very satisfying about biscuit dough waiting to go into the oven.

Mine are a little ugly today, but they still taste good. If you like a neater biscuit, roll the dough into balls.

Lactation cookies

1 cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons linseed meal (if you can’t find linseed meal, you can blend whole linseeds into a paste with water)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional, depending on what else you’re adding)
3 cups oats
375g pack dark chocolate chips
375g pack white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast (be generous)

Preheat oven to 200c (180°C for a fan forced oven).

Mix together linseed meal and water. Set aside to thicken until needed.

Cream butter with sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Add linseed mixture, yeast and vanilla. Beat until blended.

Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and cinnamon (if adding – I left it out of this batch). Add to butter mixture.

Stir in oats, then chocolate chips or other additions

Drop tablespoons of mixture onto a non-stick baking tray or tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly on tray and, once stable, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: This recipe makes an awful lot of biscuits! I often bake half the dough, and wrap the other half in glad wrap before freezing for use later on.

All packed up and ready to go!

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