Salted Oaty Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies (or… we have a bit of news)

Salted Oaty Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies (or… we have a bit of news)

The Recipe

lactation trail mix cookie on a green plate

Salted Oat Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

These are called lactation cookies, but they're really just nutritionally dense trail mix cookies, you don't have to be feeding a little baby to eat these. This recipe is modified for the British pantry (read: omg. no non-bitter brewers yeast to be found here) with tips on how to make these with a tiny baby in the house, or if you're just busy like a lot of people are, baby or no. First tip: make the first batch before the baby comes. I'll give you that for free.
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 40 cookies


Dry Mix:

  • 100 g jumbo oats (old fashioned oats) 3.5 oz/ 1 cup
  • 100 g porridge oats (rolled oats) 3.5 oz/ 1 cup – optional (if not using, double the jumbo oats)
  • 85 g oat flour, not home ground 3 oz/ about ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon
  • 85 g brewer's yeast 3 oz/ ⅔ cup
  • 70 g plain (all-purpose) flour 2.5 oz/ ½ cup
  • 55 g flax meal 2 oz/ ½ cup
  • 15 g Powdered milk 2 tbsp – optional
  • 180 g chocolate chopped into small morsels 6.5 oz total- I use half and half: Lindt Touch of Salt and Lindt Creamy milk chocolate
  • 140 g macadamia nuts, toasted, roughly chopped 5 oz/ 1 cup (see details below on how to roast at home)
  • 160 g chopped dried dates 1 heaping cup – I buy them chopped and chop them up even more.

Wet mix:

  • 225 g unsalted butter 8oz / 16 tablespoons softened
  • 200 g white sugar 7oz/ about 1 cup
  • 55 g barley malt extract 2 oz / about 3 tablespoons – can use up to 100g
  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract 30g/ 1oz
  • tsp baking soda
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 g salt
  • 1 large egg

Finishing Touches:

  • 1 pinch seat salt crystals per cookie
  • 2-4 bits chocolate per cookie


Prepare the dry mix:

  • In a large bowl, or one gallon zip lock bag, combine oats, oat flour, brewers yeast, flour, flax meal, powdered milk (if using), chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, and chopped dates, give it a good mix.
    At this point you can seal up the bag or move the mix to a storage container until you're ready to bake. Be aware of the use by dates for the mixins. See notes for more.

On baking day:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/160°C Fan) and set the oven rack to middle position.
  • Put butter, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, barley malt extract, and vanilla extract in your stand mixer and mix on low speed to combine.
    Increase the speed to medium and beat until light in colour and soft, about 5 minutes. You'll really see how the colour has lightened when you scrape the bowl down from time to time.
  • Lower speed and add the egg, scrape the bowl down from time to time, and bring the mixer speed back up to medium. Beat this mixture until the egg is thoroughly worked into the butter and sugar mix.
  • Slow the mixer down again and add the dry mix. I don't dump it all in, but there's no need to do it in batches. Keep mixing for another minute or so until you don't see dry mix in the bowl.
  • Scrape the bowl and get as much dough off the beaters or paddle as possible, bring the dough together and give is a quick knead in the bowl with your hand. Just a fold or two here to make sure there's no dry patches and to incorporate anything left in the bottom of the bowl.
  • If you have time, or if the baby needs you just now – let the dough sit, covered, for 30 minutes or so, it'll help keep the cookies from drying out when they're baked.

Prep for baking and freezing:

  • Portion out the dough into about 36-40 2TBSP balls of dough. Place a first batch on one or two baking sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Flatten them out a little, and sprinkle each with a pinch of seasalt and a couple pieces of chocolate or extra dates, but really, the chocolate is the yummiest bit.
    Line a sheet pan that fits in your freezer with parchment paper and arrange the rest of the dough balls on it, don't be shy, these can touch. Pop the pan in the freezer for a couple hours or overnight and later, once they're frozen solid, move these to a ziplock bag. (probably not ideal, but there's harm, really, if you forget them there for days, we're all busy humans).
  • Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are still a little soft. 10-12 minutes depending on your oven. Rotate your cookie sheet about halfway through the bake, if baking 2 sheets, rotate the sheets and switch which rack they're on to help them bake evenly.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving the cookies to a cooling rack.
  • I find when they're freshly baked they have a nice almost carmelized crisped outside and are lovely and chewy inside, so I highly recommend eating one the day they're baked, let the others cool completely and transfer them to an airtight container.

Prepare frozen cookies for baking:

  • Move a batch worth of dough balls from the freezer to the fridge to start to thaw overnight. In the morning, move them to the kitchen counter to let them thaw until you have 15 minutes to bake them.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/160°C Fan) and set the oven rack to middle position.
  • Just before baking them, put them on a plate and microwave in short 5-10 second bursts until they've softened up nicely, then prepare them on the baking sheet as above.
    (On parchment lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart gently flattened, sprinkled with sea salt and a couple small chocolate chips on top. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotate and reverse the baking sheet(s) halfway through.)


Making these cookies work with a busy life notes
I eat one a day, so a batch lasts a little more than a month. In the first bake, I do twelve, then over the next two bakes I’ll do anywhere from 6-12 depending on what’s going on in life and when I can predictably bake the next batch.
Prepping the dry mix:
When I bake the first frozen batch, I start measuring out the next from scratch batch dry ingredients. I get through all the various powders and oats in a bake and bundle that away into the pantry. If I can’t finish the powders, I text myself what’s not in it, or where I left off so that when I get a chance I can just pick up from there. I hold off on the macadamia nuts, dates, and chocolate until a day or two before I do the next batch of dough, just to keep it simple, and so that I have a good idea of where those items are in terms of their use by dates etc.
Prepping the mix-ins:
Roasted macadamia nuts aren’t easy to find here in Scotland, so I roast my own in the oven – I’ll put details on that below. While they’re roasting, I chop up the chocolate bars, and the dates if I have time (I get pre-chopped but I like to chop them up a little finer) – then I chop up the hot macadamia nuts on the chopping board which helps pull up the bits of chocolate left behind.
I set the chopped roasted (and slightly chocolated) macadamia nuts aside in a bowl for a while until they cool down before adding them to the bag (I don’t want them melting the chocolate or the bag). 
Storing the dry mix:
The beauty of having the dry ingredients in a ziplock bag is – it pours into the mixer beautifully easily, and then I just wash out the bag and pop it in the pantry ready for the next batch of dry mix. I just pop it in a bowl on the scale and fill it, then just mix it in the bag – I wouldn’t shake it cos it could all go flying, but you can tumble everything together in the bag. 
On the day:
On the “fresh batch from scratch” day – if the day’s looking hairy for me, I’ll pop into the kitchen and measure and weigh things out in advance as I can, starting of course with the butter and setting that out to soften up, and popping all the powders (baking soda, salt, spices, sugar) in a bowl, and kinda set the counter up bit by bit as I’m in and out of the kitchen, then when I get the baby to nap, or otherwise get a little bit of calm quiet time, I’m ready to go.
I use anywhere from 55g-100g of barley malt extract – if I’m using a mix of the jumbo oats and the finer rolled porridge oats, then I might use a bit more barley malt extract.
I set up the batch of 12 to bake fresh, and then while they’re baking, I’m able to measure out all the other cookies, by the time the batch is done baking, I’ve got all the other cookies prepped up to freeze and dishes are moving towards the sink.
Storing the dough:
The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, but, if you’re eating these daily, it won’t even be frozen for a month.
Keyword biscuits, cookies, oatmeal, oats

Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts

One of these days, I'll spell macadamia correctly on the first go.


  • 140 g raw macadamia nuts


  • Preheat oven to 325℉/ 160℃/ 140℃ Fan
  • Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (optional but makes cleanup easy). Toss alllllllll the nuts on that.
  • Toast nuts for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned stirring at about the 6 minute mark.

The Waffle

Yup, I finally broke down and got a cookie dough scoop – or more accurately – my cousin gave me one for Christmas – to help me make these cookies which probably help me to boost my milk production for our new little baby, but definitely are packed with fibre and needed nutrition with everything going on.

I guess that’s two bits of news. We got a baby in the house and also a cookie dough scoop.

So yeah, I’m about to care even less about the quality of photos and write ups, hang on to your hat.

These are based on Stella Parks’s Lactation Cookie recipe but I found it pretty much impossible to find non-bitter brewers yeast here in the UK. So I’ve added dates for fibre and sweetness, and a bit more barley malt extract than she does to try to balance the bitter. She uses 55g, I’ve found this recipe is really forgiving and works great with 55 to 100g, I tend to use more if I’m mixing porridge oats (which are rolled a bit thinner and have more powdery small bits in them) with the jumbo oats, and closer to the original recipe amount when I’m using just jumbo oats. Also, while I would normally go for all dark chocolate, again, because of the brewers yeast’s bitterness, I’ve mixed in some milk chocolate. This is also why I’ve added the pinch of salt on top of the cookies, salt can cut bitterness beautifully – see: Alton Brown’s french press coffee technique. And finally, I added a couple tablespoons of powdered milk, because it adds a cozy subtle sweetness, but also because it gave me a giggle thinking of David Mitchell’s “rescuing a bee with honey resulting in a net loss of honey” rant on QI. With all that, I’ve gone from a cookie that I consider a daily dietary supplement to a cookie I genuinely enjoy.

While I was pregnant, my doctor was keeping a close eye on my thyroid levels and had me on a low dose of levothyroxine to help keep them up. The UK diet is a bit low in iodine and my pescatarian diet is likely a little low in selenium, both of these support the thyroid. After our baby was born, I was told to stop the levothyroxine and in a couple weeks, have a blood test to make sure all was still well. After the baby was born, I made two minor changes to my diet, I started eating one of these cookies a day, and occasionally making a point of eating seaweed, either a crispy seaweed snack, or a cheeky sushi dinner or lunch. When I retested, my doctor reminded me that I was to stop the levothyroxine. But I had, weeks before the blood test, as directed. I of course can’t say if it’s the cookies or the seaweed or both, I was not at all scientific about these two diet changes, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to stop either. My thyroid levels are where they were when I was taking medication to help control them. I’ll take that.

I baked the first batch and started eating them a week or so before baby came along. Anecdotally, I’ll say – the early days of feeding our first was more of a struggle than it was this time. I’m sure a lot of factors contribute to that and it’s not just the cookies, but hey man, Dumbo had a feather, why can’t I have a cookie?