The Master of Modifications


My forever friend, Joyce, is a “modification master.” She bakes the tastiest bran muffins and peanut butter oatmeal cookies.

You may be reading this and doubting me, but it is no joke: bran muffins can be really good! I have been fortunate in that Joyce has shared her treats with me a few times over laughter, listening, and Sunday coffee.

I am in love with Joyce’s style of baking, as she is not afraid to take risks in the kitchen when it comes to reading a recipe. The texture, taste, freshness, and flavor of her goodies make each bite delicious.

Joyce takes a lot of traditional recipes from her Grandma and makes them her own with trendy modifications. I love how she experiments with new flavors in the kitchen and is always trying to make baked goods healthier. That way, you can eat more, right?

Because Joyce is always giving her Grandma credit for her recipes, I wanted to finally give her credit for her compounding skills. Just reading through the modifications in her cookie recipe will hopefully encourage you to be creative in the kitchen. You never know what new desserts you might come up with when the timer goes off!


Makes 6-dozen cookies


2 eggs, though I often use a cup almond milk as a substitute. It will not affect the recipe either way.

1 cup brown sugar'

1 cup peanut butter, though I often cut this to ¾ cup to lower the fat content, and I do not notice a difference.

½ cup applesauce'

¼ cup honey'

2 teaspoons vanilla'

3 cups oats, but not the quick, 1-minute kind, because they tend to make the cookies flatter. Sometimes, I also add up to another a cup oats if the batter is a little sticky.'

1 cup flour

1 cup nonfat dry milk'

2 teaspoons baking soda'

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries, though I have started using ½ package of mini chocolate chips and adding a generous ¼ cup cocoa to the batter.


Beat the eggs and brown sugar, and then beat in peanut butter, applesauce, honey, and vanilla.'Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl—including cocoa, if that is an option—and mix them into the creamed mixture. Then, add raisins or chocolate chips.'

Drop the mixture onto a baking sheet by teaspoon. Yes, I do use a teaspoon, but I mound the batter into a ball-like shape, which bakes the best bite-size cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. The cookies should be chewy, not crunchy, so it is important not to overbake them.

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