A lot of things happened on the way to Boston.

My mom told my brother to slow down approximately 32.6 times.  And on that six tenths of a time, he darted his head around and threatened to make her eat “ethnic food” for dinner if she didn’t keep the backseat driving to herself.  She shut up after that.

And I laughed nervously.

Because I knew (secretly) that I was going to make her eat “ethnic food” for dinner that night.  We had a date with six fantastic bloggers at my most favorite Afghani restaurant in all of Boston, you see.  And I wasn’t about to miss it for the world.  Besides, she’s the mother of a food blogger and she has to get used to it one of these days.  Tough love is how I roll.


I put my feet up on the dashboard more times than you can count on both hands and feet.  And my mother told me stop at least 12 times.  Until I told her about our dinner plans.

Then she was rendered truly speechless.

And after that.  Because I was feeling honest and virtuous and all sorts of good inside.  And because good measure seemed like something I should get a handle on.

I told her that the cookies she was eating.  Had beans in them.

My brother turned a lovely shade of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-pyocyanine-colored blue-green.  Because he had eaten three within five minutes of me entering the car.

Hey. It’s my marathon day. I can make people cry if I want to.


That was only on Sunday.

Today it is Monday.  We have survived Afghan food.  And 220 mile car rides.  And approximately 562 index cards.

And now, because it is 7:20 AM EST.  We are in Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, MA.

Well, I am in Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, MA.  I am sitting here with my friend Justin.  Trying to talk about anything that is not the fact that in a few minutes I am going to have to run for four and a half hours straight.  Maybe more.

And then, all of a sudden. I am blindsided by reflection.  Haze.

Wait.  How did I get here again?

There was a day when I woke up during my sophomore year of college and decided to go to the gym for the first time in my 20 years of life.

Which somehow turned into a marathon in October of 2009.  San Francisco.  Team In Training.  (For life.)  Mostly a blur but from what I can remember, there was a best friend at the end of the race screaming like only best friends can because I had done it.

Not only had I finished my first marathon.  But I had BQ’ed.

Boston qualified.  The pinnacle of marathoning.

And then, just as suddenly there was injury and pain.  Pelvic stress fractures followed by strained and broken and absolutely livid calves.

And now.  Here we are.  Finally.  Athlete’s village.  2011.

Yeah.  A lot of things happened on the way to Boston.

10:20 AM.

On your mark.  Get set.

Three.  Two.  One.  Here we go.

Picnik collage

I made these cookies before I left because, well. It seemed inappropriate not to.  More cake-like than cookie, they are delicious pillows of cinnamony sweetness that are chock full of good wholesome ingredients.  Like great northern beans.  And dates.  And olive oil.

Best part is?  You don’t even have to run a marathon to eat them.  Score.

Marathon Cookies
Makes 1 1/2 dozen LARGE cookies, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups rolled oats (I used steel cut)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 and place a rack in the top third.  Line a cookie sheet (or two!) with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Pulse the oats in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and whisk with the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.

3. Pulse the beans and olive oil in the food processor until they are creamy.  Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and pulse until smooth.

4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until they start to come together. Sprinkle the dates on top of the batter and stir until everything just comes together.

5. Place the sesame seeds in a bowl.  Make each cookie with a scant 1/4 cup scoop of dough. Roll each scoop into a ball then coat it with sesame seeds.  Set each ball on the prepared baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten the dough just a bit.  Repeat with remaining dough, leaving at least an inch or so between each cookie.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the sesame seeds around the bottom start to get golden.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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113 Responses to (Boston) Marathon Cookies

  1. Simply Life says:

    Good luck on the marathon! Did you to go the Helmand? We went there for Valentine’s Day – I LOVE that place!

  2. OohLookBel says:

    How great is it that there are things called Marathon Cookies and they have healthy beans in them? Not so great for non-marathoners (like me), but perfect for you. PS: You and your family crack me up.

  3. sofia says:


  4. Wishing you the best today! See you in a few hours!

  5. I love the cookies but I love your post just as much! My favorite- is your brother being told ot slow down. I HEAR IT EVERYDAY! I think i was a nascar driver in another life! LOL! Hope you do awesome today! i know you will. GOOD LUCK

  6. GO GIRL!!!! Make those cookies (and all your fans who love you!) PROUD!!

  7. Good luck Marathon Girl……those beany date cookies look good. At least it’s a sunny day for the run!!!

  8. See you at the end! Wait, maybe not. I’ll have a cookie instead.

  9. Big Dude says:

    Good luck with the little run today – sounds like you had a fun drive North.

  10. You will be great today!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

  11. Johanna GGG says:

    Wow the boston marathon sounds something huge though I have never heard of it before – not being a marathon type – but i do know that those cooks look perfect for the event – enjoy!

  12. janet says:

    Congratulations on the marathon, Joanne!! Did you find these cookies worked well during your race? They look scrumptious!

  13. Could I rename them? Benne Seed and Bean Cookies. That’s a grabber. They look delicious. Happy run!


  14. Nina says:

    These cookies are brilliant. Congratulations on the marathon, Joanne!!!!

  15. girlichef says:

    I want a stack of these to take along on my next road trip….they look awesome and I love the ingredients! Congrats on the marathon =)

  16. These cookies look great!
    I live in Boston and love the excited atmosphere in the air today. Wishing you all the best in the race! 🙂

  17. Candace says:

    I absolutely cannot wait to make these cookies. They look delicious! My very best wishes to you in the race! So excited for you!

  18. Louanne says:

    Good luck today! Your cookies look amazing, and I’m going to make them to put in the picky boychild’s lunch bag…sneaky mom is how I roll.

  19. daphne says:

    are they really call marathon cookies? How awesome is it. I love how it uses olive oil. Dates and sesame seeds.. ooohh.. i’m so looking forward to these babies.

    good luck with the marathon. GO GO GO!!!

  20. Shannon says:

    Go Joanne!!!! Wishing you a great race and the sun came out! What a great day!!! (I’ll be watching on TV and eating these cookies).

  21. Kristen says:

    Hope the run was injury free! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  22. Really unusual cookie, with some really healthy ingredients. I am sure this will improve your performance today.

  23. Dawn says:

    Wow, the boston marathon. Awesome girl. We used to ride our bikes to the start of it we lived so close.
    I’m all about these cookies and was about to make them tonight but I would need to sub honey for the sugar. Any tips on doing that? I love beans in my cookies. But you already know I’m kinda weird like that.

  24. crustabakes says:

    Poor mother of a food blogger! seems like she is fighting losing battles with both you and ur brother. This post cracked me up, and those seem like really healthy marathon cookies!

  25. These look nutritious and delicious. Perfect for a pre-marathon snack. Good luck, Joanne! I’m rooting for you!

  26. MM says:

    I don’t know which part of this post made me laugh the hardest. Love your sense of humor!

    Good luck! You’ll do great. I mean, you’re all powered up on these cookies. That’s got to give you an advantage.

  27. elly says:

    These look really interesting. I have to say I’m a bit scared of cookies with beans, but they seem to work here. Actually at first glance, I thought you had made these Greek sesame seed cookies (which I love). 🙂 GOOD LUCK at the marathon!

  28. Marisa says:

    Thinking of you while you run! I’m sure you’ll be fabulous. Love the sesame seed coating on these cookies – NOM!

  29. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Have a bite or two of these healthy and scrumptious cookies before you start the marathan, Joanne 🙂 Love the sesame dress over the cookies.

  30. Good luck Joanne!!!! So awesome you are running Boston!!

  31. Amy says:

    Well, you know I put chickpeas in my chocolate chip cookies, so who the hell am I to pass up a batch with northern beans and sesame seeds. I love it!

    Dude. I will be thinking about you today. Pretend that Patrick McDreamy is at the finish line and you get to touch him.

    And she’s off!!!

  32. These cookies look fantastic! 101 Cookbooks has a great collection of recipes — truly awesome to add some beans to cookies.I am seeing many blog posts that has beans in dessert bakes. Haven’t tried that yet but I am tempted.

  33. Good for you girl. Good for you 😉
    Wow, 221 miles in a car with your family?!!! yikes. 😉 way to stick it to em’ w the cookies. haahaaa sounds like something I would do. Mmm, I’m actually jealouls about the Afgani food, was it so yummy?
    BEST OF LUCK ON YOUR RUN!!! and again, good for you!

  34. Marcia says:

    oooh, I can’t WAIT to hear how Boston Marathon went!! I can’t run right now, haven’t been able to for months, so I am living vicariously through my friends.

  35. Good luck, Joanne! These cookies look like they will keep you beautifully fueled for the race. They honestly sound good!

  36. vanillasugar says:

    OMG i didn’t know you were running? wow. I will look for you. CONGRATS on running–that is a feat all in itself. you go girl!

  37. Awesome! Love bean in my cookies! Love that your mom unknowingly ate them! Good luck Girl!

  38. Victoria says:

    Joanne, I’m crazy proud of you!! Watching your status on the athlete tracker, you are doing great!!! It was so great to see you last night, eating all that “ethnic food” haha. Love you tons and can’t wait to see you again soon 😀 xo

  39. Kristin says:

    HaHaHaHa You are such a cruel daughter. That is funny though. My dad won’t eat anything other than steak/ chicken breast and a baked potato. I once tried to get him to eat couscous and his response was “what the hell is ‘couscous’. I don’t like the name of it, I am not eating that shit.” I hope that your run went well. I cannot wait to hear how you did!

  40. Kim says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you have challenged yourself to run the marathon today. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to run 4 and a half hours – whew! I bet you will be on one heck of a runner’s high in a few hours. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

    Love the cookies. I’ve always been curious about using beans in baked goods.

  41. Lora says:

    RUN Joanne RUN. umm I’ll just sit here and eat cookies. Love this healthy version.

  42. Shanon says:

    it is a new kind of granola bar! these look very interesting. saving these for my next marathon! or something similar. 🙂

  43. You cracked me up. I would make those cookies if it made my mother speechless!

  44. Suman Singh says:

    What an incredible cookie,
    loved the sesame seeds coating..great recipe..thanks for sharing!

  45. nico. says:

    this is such a cool cookie! Good luck in the marathon today (although you’re probably finishing soon!); you are such an inspiration!

  46. It’s a beautiful day for the Marathon! I hope you’re having a great race!

  47. Juliana says:

    Joanne, the cookies look very yummie and nutritious, really perfect for pre marathon…go girl!

  48. Good Luck Joanne!! I know you’ll do great!… Especially with these yummy sounding cookies for fuel!

  49. aipi says:

    1 or 2 of those delicious cookies + a tall glass of cold milk sounds AWESOME right now 🙂
    Good luck with the marathon Joanne..

    US Masala

  50. That Girl says:

    I’m sure you’re done by now, but I hope it was an awesome race!

  51. katiez says:

    Good luck – and I love those cookies – very good energy source so eat lots.

  52. You mom is hilarious. Hopefully she realizes what an awesome food blogger you are!
    And with regards your insane penchant to run, I just tell myself that my hatred of running and your love of running are the yin and yang that are holding the universe together.

  53. Corina says:

    These are great cookies to help fuel up for running. I’m going to have to make some for my running – not quite as far as you at the moment but I hope to do a marathon again one day.

  54. Allison says:

    Can’t wait to hear how the race went. Enjoy your dinner out and these cookies!

  55. Julie says:

    gahhhhhhh!!!! can’t WAIT to hear all about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Joanne I’m so proud of you!! Can I say that and not be your mom? Omgosh this is too cool.

  57. Swathi says:

    I admire you. These cookies are awesome with beans dates, and oats. Healthy all the way.

  58. You amaze me with your running. I am so impressed! These sound perfectly healthy.

  59. teresa says:

    you are so inspiring! i can’t wait to hear more about your race! and i love the cookies, the sesame seeds are my favorite.

  60. Sarah says:

    Awesome job lady! I am thinking of running the Chicago in October (as a charity runner) it will be my first marathon though. Any tips or suggestions?

  61. My brother would turn the same shade if I fed him these cookies. 🙂 They sound great to me though. I hope the day went well for you!

  62. Deborah says:

    I hope you did fantastic!! I need to make these cookies – and NOT tell my daughter that there are beans in them. Although I think she’s young enough that she wouldn’t really even understand, so I guess I could get away with it!

  63. Claudie says:

    I pretty much love anything with dates in it, so those cookies will be a regular snack during my half-marathon training.
    If you ever decide to come race again in San Fran, please let me know!! 🙂 I’d be happy to go for a run with you. (Although, I must warn you I’m far from being Boston-qualified! lol)

    And speaking of running: followed your Twitter updates regarding Boston. Congratulations on your race!!! 🙂

  64. Megan says:

    I hope everything went well for you!! I kept looking for you… we were hanging out at the last mile marker after the Red Sox game, but I have a feeling you scooted through just before we got there.

    It was sooo wonderful to meet you Sunday night! I hope the dinner helped fuel you for today!

  65. Reeni says:

    Gosh, we go way back! I remember your first marathon and how you rocked it! I know you did the same with this one – can’t wait to hear all about it! Figs make everything better! Even beans in cookies – I wish I could of seen your brother’s face. Priceless.

  66. Love how you tell stories – hope you had an awesome race day!

  67. Good luck with the marathon!

    Good thing you told them about the beans after they had eaten them, lest they miss out on the cinnamony sweetness (that is my new favorite term)

  68. Vivienne says:

    these look delicious joanne, even with the beans!!! hope you did well and enjoyed it too 😉 all the hard work has paid off i’m sure!

  69. Haha I love that you threatened your mum with “ethnic food” my mum is very similar. My poor dad gets stuck with meat and three veg every night bless them lol

  70. Miriam says:

    You’re the best! Way to go on that whole running thing, and some pretty awesome cookies :). Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
    P.S. Your family makes me laugh 🙂

  71. Ada says:

    Awesome post. By now you have already completed the Boston Marathon and I hope are feeling very good about yourself. Congratulations, finishing Boston is a huge accomplishment! I hope the race was a ton of fun and that you had a great time in Bean Town.

    I also must say I’m impressed with your ability to read index cards in a car. You don’t get motion sickness???

  72. Just saw your race results… Awesome!

  73. Your stories are the best Joanne! It’s always so fun to come here and read a little bit about your exciting medical-marathon-cooking life!

    Camila F.

  74. Woh, I am so impressed that you BQ’ed at your first marathon. In college. That is insane?! How did yesterday go? I bet you tore it up!! (Hopefully the race, and not any ligaments..)
    Also – I have never been so attracted to a cookie recipe in my life. These are triple bookmarked (my bookmarks are very organized).

  75. Katerina says:

    What mothers have to endure for their children lol! You will understand that better when you will have your own. I am glad you participated in that marathon with such a big success and the cookies look yummy too!

  76. Nicole, RD says:

    Ha, I love it! I’ve made chickpea cookies and they were good. I can’t wait to try your recipe! And I was getting updates all day yesterday…YOU…ROCK! What a pace, girl! 🙂 CONGRATULATIONS!!! Such an accomplishment 🙂

  77. La Liz says:

    Immensely proud and impressed with your preparation for the Boston Marathon. Those training runs during the long hot summer of 2010 really paid off. Congratulations! (Love beans and brown sugar combos . . I have to make this recipe!)

  78. Maria says:

    Yummy cookies! Congratulations on the marathon, that’s such a great achievement!

  79. Shannon says:

    hahaha, hope mom liked dinner 🙂 these cookies look awesome, and i’ll totally try them out!!

  80. Pam says:

    Good luck – I am so excited for you! The cookies look tasty too.

  81. I love cookie with sesames in it. Reminds me a lot of Asian cookie that I used to eat when I was growing up.

  82. sweeltife says:

    the perfect cookie to get your ready for your run…good lucka nd please keep us informed!! can’t wait to hear all the details and your dinner with the bloggers


  83. Beans in a cookie?Now thats something really new to me.But these look so so great.I love such thick cookies.A lovely way to celebrate!

  84. Nadji says:

    Bravo pour le marathon.
    Des biscuits très croustillants.
    J’aime beaucoup.
    A très bientôt.

  85. Congratulations on the marathon! These cookies sound amazing. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  86. First time heard of Marathon Cookies. How intriguing!

  87. Angela says:

    I am so glad that I don’t have to run a marathon to eat these. A marathon would probably kill me! I am so completely in awe of you. Is there anything you can’t do?

  88. Cathy says:

    Boston Marathon? I’m so thrilled for you! The cookies look fantastic – love how you “hid” the ingredients till after your family ate them – hey if they taste good, who cares what’s in them!

  89. sophia says:

    Your mother sounds like the kind of woman who would tickler and exasperate me at the same time. But the lucky bloggers who get to meet her! I hope she enjoys the “ethnic” food, I really do! Perhaps an epiphany for her?

  90. congrats! and wow, the cookies are like nothing i’ve tried before! intrigued!

  91. These look like it could sustain you to the North Pole! Fantastic

  92. Natalie says:

    I’m dying to hear how it went…so insanely proud and jealous…you have been through so much!!

    …and i want to make these cookies!

  93. Kick some ass!!! I know you did 🙂

    Those cookies look…well I have never seen a bean concoction look so fluffy and marvelous. These will be made in my apartment this weekend.

    Can’t wait to hear your recap of the race!

  94. Can’t wait to hear how it went–I know you rocked it–especially with cookies like these. 😉

  95. Elizabeth says:

    I hope the marathon went well – I can’t wait to hear about it!

  96. Wow those sesame cookies look heavenly! How did the marathon turn out?

  97. marla says:

    I cannot wait to read about your experiences in Boston. Loved running that marathon, but certainly wish I had these cookies instead of goo. Neat that there are beans in the recipe 🙂

  98. Barbara says:

    So how did you do, kiddo???

  99. Just found your blog via another one and I enjoyed reading some of your posts! I like your quote about how one day in college you just woke up decided to go to the gym. I was never super skinny growing up, but my freshman year of college I gained the freshman 15. A guy I dated took me to the gym, showed me the ropes, and somehow I got hooked. Had a baby last summer, so I just started running in an effort to get the baby weight off. Last week I ran a mile and a half without stopping. I know, no marathon, but a huge accomplishment for me! Anyway, I’ve shared more than I planned. Way to go for finishing your marathon!

  100. Can’t wait to make these for my kids…I LOVE secretly sending them good stuff in their baked goods. I am so amazed by your determination.

  101. Cara says:

    I love this post, almost as much as I love you (and your mother!) in person. I’m so glad we got to spend some time together before your big day 🙂

  102. Mary says:

    Way to go! That really is an accomplishment given your injuries of the past year. You are a great motivator. The cookies also sound delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  103. Jeanette says:

    Wow, these cookies look delicious and so nutrient dense!

  104. wow congrats so so proud of you and great food here as ever your amazing

  105. Karen says:

    All kinds of good stuff in those cookies!

  106. Great northern beans are such an interesting addition here, they look fantastic 🙂

  107. grace says:

    huzzah! i got little goosebumps on my arms just reading this and thinking about the awesome atmosphere one would experience in boston on the day of the marathon. can’t wait to hear about it!

  108. Alea Milham says:

    My sister is a marathon runner. I think she is insane. 🙂 I hope your race went well!

    These cookies sound wonderful. And I appreciate that you can silence people by sharing the ingredients – could come in handy. 🙂

  109. I can’t believe a cookie that looks and sounds so delicious has beans in it – that is fantastic! I love it when delicious is nutritious too. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul blog hop.

    And huge congratulations on running the Boston marathon. I am in awe of you. I’m doing my first 8 km in September and I’m so daunted by it! I hope your race went really well.

  110. Kerstin says:

    What healthy treats – they sound addicting!

    It was so nice to meet you! I almost asked how your fam was doing with the menu – my mom is the same way so I can definitely relate 🙂

  111. These cookies have been on my “to make really soon” list for a while!! Thanks for reminding me about them.

  112. Erndog says:

    These were great! Made them with whole spelt flour instead of ww pastry flour. I froze the ones I didn’t bring to my bookclub and keep sneaking them one at a time. 🙂

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