Flax seed has quickly become a popular health food item available packaged or bulk in the regular and health food sections of most supermarkets. My mother-in-law has been consuming flax seeds in her daily diet for at least 2 years, and has noticed numerous positive changes in her overall health. If you ask her, she would recommend a good tablespoon of ground flax seed every day with breakfast cereal. She enjoys her healthy lifestyle with healthy blood cholesterol and sugar levels, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on her skin and hair, and unbelievable regularity in bowel movements.
I learned a lot about flax seeds from my conversations with her. She showed me how you can grind the flax seeds with a coffee grinder and store it refrigerated in a glass container. While whole flax seeds are stable for storage at room temperature, ground flax seeds can go rancid at room temperature after one week; proper sealing and refrigeration helps ground flax seeds keep longer. Ground flax seeds provide more nutritional benefits than whole seeds because grinding breaks them up so they are easier to digest rather than just passing undigested through the body. And I trust her because Mothers know best!
We eat flax seeds, but do we know exactly what they are? Flax seeds come from the flax plant that is native to the region from eastern Mediterranean to India and has been a source of food since ancient times dating back to 30,000 BC. Flax is an annual plant that can grow over 1 meter in height with slender stems, long elliptical shaped green leaves, and produce pale blue or bright red flowers. The flax plant also produces dry, round fruit resembling a small capsule that contains several flax seeds for cultivating.
Flax seeds have an earthy and nutty flavour, and are available throughout the year in both their brown and yellow/golden varieties. Both varieties contain the antioxidant lignan as its main component. Flax seeds are the richest source of lignans, which have a potential role in preventing prostate and colon cancer, and estrogen-stimulated breast cancer. They are a very good source of beneficial dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, flax seeds are gluten-free and low in carbohydrates.
I have adapted my mother-in-law’s suggestion about having a daily dose of flax seeds, and committed myself to having 1 to 2 tablespoons every day. I sprinkle ground flax seeds on my cereal and salads, and mix them into my homemade smoothies. Even with the amazing nutritional value of this super food, it may not be appealing to everyone’s preferences. My husband doesn’t relish the idea of sprinkling salads with flax seeds. So I thought the best way to truly enjoy flax seeds is to hide it into a great tasting cookie as a secret ingredient. This flax seed oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is naturally delicious and scrumptiously chewy. My husband and my mother-in-law enjoyed them immensely! After all, it can (almost) be eaten guilt-free.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick rolled oats
3/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350oF with a rack in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, flax seeds, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).
Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating just until combined.
Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Let the cookies cool for about 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to cooling racks to cool completely.