Tag Archives: cookies

Almond thumbprint cookies

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Let me start with a disclaimer: I think most food fads – Paleo, juicing, Atkins, etc – are a little silly. I am a firm believer in the everything-in-moderation diet. I reserve the right to consume bread and cheese and wine on a Friday night after a long week, and to not feel bad about it.

Considering that baking is one of my passions, it’s a cruel joke that I actually can’t tolerate dairy very well. This is going to sound crazy, but dairy makes my nose all stuffy. After a wild night eating ice cream or hitting the cheese board pretty hard, my sinuses are a mess. Apparently, for people like me who already have bad allergies, milk products can make allergies worse. I know this from lots of personal experience. If you or your child has chronic sinus problems, I highly recommend eliminating all milk products for about two weeks. I think you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.

Ok, end of soapbox!

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I tell you all of this because lately, I’ve realized that I need to experiment with recipes that don’t use those ingredients that cause problems for me. I have good news! As it turns out, almonds and coconut oil actually make pretty delicious cookies. Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you these ingredients taste as good as these or these. But if you’re trying to avoid butter and gluten, or just want a healthier sweet, this recipe for almond thumbprint cookies is pretty damn good.

Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from this recipe. I made my own nut flours by grounding up raw slivered almonds and cashews in a food processor. Makes about one dozen cookies.

1 cup of almond flour
1 cup of cashew flour
1/4 cup of gluten-free oats (optional)
1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup of cherry or apricot jam (I like Bonne Maman)
2 T dark chocolate, chopped (optional; I made a few with chocolate in the center instead of jam. They were really good.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. In a mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extracts until relatively smooth (there will still be some lumps). Slowly add the nut flours, oats, shredded coconut, and salt until a dough forms.

Use your hands to roll the dough into smooth balls. Place them on the cookie sheet and use your thumb to press into the center of each ball, making a well for the jam. Spoon a small amount of jam in the middle of each cookie .

Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and enjoy.

Snickerdoodles

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It has taken two-and-a-half years of living in coastal California to realize that I miss seasons. I even miss winter a little bit. I can’t believe I just said that. But in a way, it’s true. I miss the sense of impending change, of time passing in increments. Living in a place with no seasons starts to feel a bit like Groundhog Day sometimes. It’s predictable.

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We’ve gotten some unseasonably cool weather for October lately (our Octobers are supposed to be our summer) but I’ve really enjoyed it. It feels like fall. I’ve been listening to a lot of Louis Armstrong and Etta James and thinking about cinnamon and pumpkin-flavored things.

So I made snickerdoodle cookies for the first time. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long; they are incredibly easy to make and so (I mean SO) delicious. Still warm from the oven, they’re like a piece of cinnamon sugar toast. I highly recommend them eaten while cozied up on the couch, watching a movie.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Recipe adapted from this one. Makes about 3 dozen medium-sized cookies. The secret ingredient is the extra sprinkle of coarse salt. Don’t forget it; it really makes these cookies spectacular.

1/4 cup granulated sugar (for cinnamon-sugar topping)

1 1/2 T cinnamon

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt plus some extra for sprinkling

Coarse sea salt (kosher or fleur de sel)

In a shallow bowl, whisk 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon together. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each one. Add in vanilla and beat until well-mixed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, just until combined.

Using your hands, divide the dough into small balls (about the size of golf balls) and roll each one in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until fully covered. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place balls on a cookie sheet and top each cookie with a healthy pinch of coarse salt. Bake each batch for about 10 minutes or until the tops have cracked but are not overly golden brown. Do not over-bake. Store all remaining dough in a resealable container; sprinkle with salt right before you bake. You can keep the raw dough refrigerated for up to one week.