Columnist, Food

Holiday Breakfast Cookies; get the recipe, below. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

These fragrant breakfast treats are designed to use up the remnants of a holiday meal, but they are far from your average leftover concoction. They are an utterly enticing way to start the day or energize an afternoon. Something of a cross between a muffin and a cookie, they are chock-full of healthful goodies: fresh chunks of apple, tangy bursts of cranberry, crunchy nuts and chewy dried fruit. A pumpkin-spiced, lightly maple-sweetened mix of whole-wheat flour and hearty rolled oats binds them together.

They are also easy to assemble, freeze well and . . . hey, they are cookies (for breakfast!), so they have an inherently fun and festive essence. Once you try them you'll want more soon, and since they are made with ingredients you'll most likely have on hand throughout the entertaining season, you won't have to wait for leftovers to make them.

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Holiday Breakfast Cookies

10 servings

From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

Ingredients

1 cup pecan pieces

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup canned pumpkin puree

⅓ cup olive oil

¼ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

1 medium Golden Delicious apple (unpeeled), cut into ¼ -inch pieces

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries each cut in half

⅓ cup chopped pitted dates or raisins

Steps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the pecan pieces on a baking sheet; toast (middle rack) for 6 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker. Cool, then coarsely chop any pieces that are big.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract, until well incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring to incorporate, then add the oats, apple, cranberries, dates or raisins and the toasted nuts. Stir until evenly distributed in the batter.

Use a ½ -cup measure or large ice cream scoop to divide the batter into 10 large balls, dropping them onto the baking sheet so they are spaced at least an inch apart. Bake (middle rack) for 20 to 25 minutes, until set and lightly browned on the bottom.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving or storing.

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