Flu Fighter Cookies

The fall and winter months mean one thing for those of us who work in health care: flu season. In earlier posts I discussed the importance (and safety!) of pregnant women receiving their annual flu vaccine and preventative measures like of regular hand washing to avoid this potentially deadly disease. Having the flu is miserable and anyone who has had it can attest to the body aches, weakness, fatigue and other physical symptoms that linger for days. There is no cure for the flu, but there are various home and pharmacologic remedies to control some of the symptoms or promote recovery.

People with the flu often have lost their appetite and struggle to drink enough fluids or fight off nausea. I have asked women and their families what they do to help them get over the flu or even the common cold. I was surprised to learn of these Flu Fighter cookies. I want to be clear from the beginning that these cookies are not intended to cure or prevent the flu; they are intended to be more of comfort food to help promote the intake of calories in a tasteful way when someone is not feeling well, or, more likely, to serve as comfort food. I find that when women, or people in general, are not feeling well the thought of eating a full meal is often unappealing. However, I find small, frequent meals or small snacks like these cookies work well and are often well tolerated. While I doubt anyone who feels ill wants to bake cookies, these cookies are something friends or family can make for someone who is feeling under the weather.

These cookies contain several seasonings and ingredients that I think, in combination, work to provide some needed calories, fiber and some protein. When combined, these flavors are not overpowering and actually may stimulate the appetite to eat more. These cookies can be eaten with a cup of tea, or a glass of milk or juice. They can also be made in advance and stored in the freezer for several weeks or in an air tight container for several days. Make a batch of these early in the season and keep them on hand just in case or make a batch to show someone you care and wish them a speedy recovery.

Flu Fighter Cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, finely grated
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (not the quick cooking kind)
  • 1 ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed with hand held or upright mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.
  6. Add molasses, yogurt, ginger, and orange zest and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  7. Change mixer to low speed and slowly add in flour mixture. Do not over mix or batter will be too sticky.
  8. Fold in oats, and half each of the raisins, cranberries, walnuts and almonds if using.
  9. In a small bowl, stir together remaining raisins, cranberries and nuts if using and set aside as a topping.
  10. Drop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets. Top with a sprinkle of the dried fruit and nut mixture. Chill the trays for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  11. After the cookie dough has set, bake until cookie is a dark, golden color but still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

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