Chocolate Coconut Almond Meal Cookies

23 12 2012

Well it’s here and gone, the winter solstice and we all survived the Mayan’s end of the world prediction. Phew ;-). I hope this post finds you well and settled in for a break during the holidays. The winter solstice, being the shortest day of the year, is a turning point, the first official day of winter and now the days slowly gain more light. It is a time of reflection and as a dear friend said to me recently I hope you “are able to step back, rest and reconnect with the deeper voices of life this solstice season.”

This time of year is a cookie occasion. Filling tins and gift bags with baking to share with family and friends. I didn’t imagine myself to be a cookie maker, but alas here I am, blocking my calendar for a ‘bake day’ in early December. This included cracking open wine in the afternoon, maybe unique to me, no? I bet that’s why there are ‘bake days’ ;-). I started the day off early making Walnut Kifli with grandma Anne. These cookies get lots of hits on my blog this time of year, so I know there are other Hungarians out there enjoying this traditional recipe, that’s fantastic.

photo 3

Once the kifli were done, it was home to the test kitchen. I wanted to make a ‘not so bad for you cookie’ and use up a bunch of almond meal from the Almond Milk I make weekly. I found a recipe on Naked Chef, but was not convinced by it. Once I got the cookie dough made, it was quite wet, a bit bland and I had to bake them longer to set. I tried two kinds, regular and chocolate. The regular didn’t turn out but the chocolate were okay. I added coconut to the chocolate ones and dipped them in ganache with a sprinkle of sea salt, much better.  I wasn’t convinced at first, but B liked them and then mom liked them. So here they are. I will definitely make them again, and experiment with flavours.

To make vegan: grind up 2 tbsp flax seeds and add to 1/3 cup water. Mix together and let sit while you prep the rest. This is an excellent egg substitute and is really good for you.

Flax meal

To make gluten-free: experiment with your wheat free flour. I think this recipe could be gluten-free, but haven’t tried. Let me know if you do.

Chocolate Coconut Almond Meal Cookies (adapted from The Naked Chef)

  • 2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed soaked in 1/3 cup Water
  • 2 cups raw Almond Meal (remember you can keep almond meal in the freezer to use later)
  • 2 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt + a few grains for garnish
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup Honey
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup grated and unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the almond meal, flour, baking soda, salt, coconut sugar, cocoa powder and shredded coconut together. Add the ground flax mixture, coconut oil, honey and vanilla, mix together. Roll into balls using about 2 tbsp of dough. They do puff up a bit so they should be kept on the small side. Bigger and they stay raw inside (as per my experience). Bake 15-25 min. Test one batch in your oven to make sure they are cooked in the middle. I had to bake for 23 min,  depends on the size of the cookie balls you roll. Let cool.

I melted 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and added a few tablespoons of almond milk, stir well. Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. They save well in the fridge or freezer. The recipe is supposed to make 36 cookies, but by the time I got this all figured out I didn’t have a lot to offer folks…oh well, next time.

Chocolate Coconut Almond cookies

Enjoy the holidays and happy solstice!

Eat well, Be well, Nat

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Recipe Share: Almond Butter Maple Cookies

18 04 2011

Bit of a dry spell on the blog as of late. This weekend I finally had time to spend in the kitchen, besides whipping up easy soups for work, at least I got that far the previous two weeks.

I have been wanting to start a post called ‘Recipe Share’ for awhile. I have a beautiful recipe book that my dear friends put together for my wedding shower. Each guest wrote down a favourite recipe and it was pasted into the book. Since then this book has become my recipe-food-garden journal. I have recorded menus for meals we have hosted, garden plans and progress and recipes in it. I save a lot of what I do digitally, but there is something nostalgic about writing it down. My grandmother has an amazing recipe book that was her mothers, and I hope that I will be able to pass mine down to someone one day. How do you save your recipes?

Anyhow, my goal is to write about the recipes I try from the book, from friends and blog readers. Today’s Recipe Share is from my sweet friend Emily. She gave me this cookie recipe to try, and it is yummy. It made for the perfect dessert Sunday night. I have recorded the original recipe below with my comments of course, I can’t help but give alternatives and share what I did. If you are looking for a semi-healthful sweet, these are for you.

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I used 1/2 cup pastry and 1/2 cup spelt to up the wholeness)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt (use sea salt if you got it)
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds (I used slivered almonds)
1/2 cup Almond Butter (unsweetened)
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil (I used 2 tbsp and try using a light olive or sunflower)
1 tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract (invest in good quality, not imitation, they’re full of chemicals)

  • Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together (although, I mixed the almond butter right into the dry and then added the mixed wet). Mix the wet and dry. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the fridge. Pinch off and roll into 1.5 inch balls, press lightly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-14 min. I give this range because the recipe calls for 10, my oven 14 was better. 12 worked and they were a bit chewier in the middle. Makes about 16.
  • Thanks Emily!!!

Besides making cookies and a nice meal on Sunday, I gave my new favourite kitchen appliance a try, my Vitamix. Oh yes, this is the shizzz. I have been blending perfection into my green smoothies since I got it, not a kale or swiss chard lump in site. Sunday I made almond mylk for the first time using it, I was saying out loud, ‘unbelievable’. How smooth it was. The almond meal left over is flour. Not that my old blender didn’t do a good job, it’s just amazing the difference the appliance makes. If you haven’t invested in one, think about it. I finally felt justified to retire my eight year old blender Tony so sweetly bought me (and fixed half a dozen times) for my birthday when we first started dating (ah). Plus, I got the smaller four cup container thrown in, how could I resist!

I hope everyone is having a nice Monday…have a great week!

Eat well, Be well

Nat





Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Goodness

26 02 2011

I am always looking, finding and noting recipes that are healthful. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe in SwerveCalgary. I think I got a tweet from somewhere to something that led me to find these cookies by Julie Van Rosendaal, a well known chef/foodie, she’s hilarious. It was a no brainer. Hurry up banana’s ripen!

I made them and they are now my favourite oatmeal cookie. Here is the recipe with my notes on how I made them. Make them today, seriously, go, now.

If you need to make these peanut free, try other nut butters or a soy nut butter that is okay with schools. This recipe is sooooo good for kids lunches, but the peanut/nut free thing is so constraining for mom’s. I lived off peanut butter as a kid, today, this is not the case. Most kids can’t bring peanut or other nut things to school.

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas (I used frozen, thawed them, poured off most of the liquid, left about a tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, preferably all-natural (sugar free!!!)
  • 1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil (use the olive, canola, not so much)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) or quick oats (not instant and to be gluten free you have to use gluten free certified oats)
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut (sugar free!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (I used a regular sized Green & Blacks organic dark 80% chocolate bar, chopped it up, about 1 cup. I could have used less, like 3/4, but they were good)

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2) In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the peanut butter, oil and vanilla until smooth. (A fork worked perfectly). Add the oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir until combined, then stir in the chocolate.
3) Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick spray (I pressed them down a bit). Bake 12-14 minutes, until just set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 24 cookies (I baked for 14 on convention, made about 20 cookies).

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Just Eat It: Thumbprint Cookies

22 04 2010

This month’s Yoga Shala recipe is a healthier version of a thumbprint cookie. I forget where I adapted this from, too many sites and recipes to keep it all straight, and hopefully I don’t break a copyright law somewhere. These cookies are delicious and not in an ‘I feel bad eating them’ kind of way. If you make your own almond ‘milk’ it is also a great way to use up the pulp we accumulate. If you do, dry it out or lightly toast it. For the filling buy jams that are pure fruit and sweetened with fruit juice or better yet make your own! Planet Organic and Community have a few brands and they are all delicious. My favorite so far is a blood orange jam I bought at Planet. I make them often but need to remember to take pictures…next time.

1 cup Rolled Oats (not instant oatmeal)

1 cup Almonds (or dried almond meal)

1 cup Spelt flour

½ cup Sunflower or Safflower Oil (I use a little less than asked here and a bit of water, you experiment)

¼ cup Maple Syrup (not Aunt Jemima!!!)

¼ cup Agave Syrup* (see note below)

Your favorite fruit jam

Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a food processor, blend the oats and almonds (or almond meal) together until flour like. Put into a mixing bowl and mix in the spelt flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Roll the dough into about 1.5” balls, makes about 13-14 cookies. Place on cookie sheet, press the cookies a bit flat, make indentation in the middle of each and fill with the jam. Bake for 15-17 min, until slightly golden. Eat it.

*You can now get a package of two Organic Agave Syrup’s at Costco. We’ve been picking this up in the US on our runs to Vegas and Spokane. I was excited to see some of the organic stuff we buy in the US making it onto the shelves of Costco here. There is a nice bag of organic quinoa there now too.

Eat well, be well,

Nat