Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Early Winter, Cookies & Cocoa

I can't say the weather has been anything less than cooperative through last month, and yet I still feel every bit entitled to complain as the thermometer dips, the rain and clouds remain omnipresent, and snow - yes snow!- is visible on the mountain peaks. It's actually quite surreal this weekend to see blue sky down below and fully dusted peaks up above. My Swiss and German friends are giddy with anticipation for the ski season, but first we must brave what only seems will be a swampy November.

My solution? Hot drinks and a snack to match. And what could be better then warm homemade cookies? Not the steroid-injected confections from Starbucks, but comfort food nonetheless. I have two recipes below that are SO good I urge you to try them. You'll never detect they are low in sugar and gluten free.

A friend of mine just bought me my first bottle of agave nectar in France (available in health food stores here as well), which I've incorporated into these recipes. Though it does contain sugar, it is a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index so that when used in moderation does not create that terrible sugar spike. Other helpful ingredients are chickpea flour and flax to add fiber and reduce simple carbs, and gluten free oats. Both recipes can easily be made vegan/casein free. But enough explanation, the pictures will do (remember, click to enlarge)!

Almond Butter & Quinoa Cookies

2 T butter (use vegan margarine to make recipe vegan)
4 T agave nectar
4.5 T organic almond butter
4.5 T unsweetened apple sauce
dash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1.5 t GF baking powder
1/2 t xanthan gum
dash of sea salt
1/4 cup macadamia nuts

  • Melt butter and add agave, beating together.
  • Mix in the almond butter, then the apple sauce and vanilla extract.
  • Meanwhile sift quinoa and chickpea flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
  • Chop or quickly pulse macadamia nuts in a food processor. Fold into batter.
  • Measure out a generous teaspoon of the batter on parchment paper. Use a fork to press down (rinse with cold water if it becomes to sticky). You should get 18 - 20 cookies.
  • Bake at 225 C/400 F for 15 minutes. Try to let them cool for at least half an hour before eating (well, try....).
  • This second cookie is adapted from Ricki's fantastic recipe. I used agave instead of maple, and made the recipe gluten free by using GF oats. Important --> Can I say this is the best cookie I have ever tasted?! I am not kidding.

    Vanilla 'Honey' Flax-Oat Cookies

    1/2 cup of GF rolled oats
    1 T butter (replace with vegan margarine/coconut oil to make vegan
    4 T agave nectar
    1/2 t vanilla
    4 T shredded flax seeds, soaked in water
    1 t baking powder
    pinch of salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon

  • Preheat the over to 180 C/350 F.
  • Pulse the oats a few times in the food processor - you don't want a meal, but a nice varied texture.

  • Remove from your processor and set in a separate bowl. Sift in the baking powder, salt, and spices.

  • Melt the butter, and add to food processor with the agave and vanilla. Stir in the flax seeds.

  • Add the dry ingredients to the processor and pulse until a very maleable, quite wet dough is formed.

  • Drop a generous spoonful of the cookies onto parchment paper (8-12). Note that these cookies will spread during baking.

  • Bake for 10 minutes or so. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before storing (yeah...right!).

  • Be sure to enjoy the cookies with a nice cup of cocoa. I heat lactose free milk and add unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with stevia, or I'll simply add a little carob powder to steamed milk. Stay warm :) ~c*x

    1 comment:

    1. There's something so satisfying about hot drinks on winter days! Especially hot sweet drinks. Stay warm, Candice!