Happy Monday! You know you want cookies…

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Random thought of the day: I’m currently watching a very acrobatic squirrel do some amazing things on the eaves outside of my house. Go squirrel!! Show Monday whatcha got.

I showed Monday, that’s right: I’m post-Jazzercize! I maybe love it. A LOT. I really can’t think of a better way to start a Monday. Besides, my skin is sooooo dry, and getting my sweat on/fogging up the windows in the studio seemed like a fab idea. I feel better now, thank you…

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And these!! I made them to fill a post-yoga void in my stomach (funny how those always occur when I do mid-morning yoga). I loooove tea… as anyone who hangs out with me regularly knows… who else carries two bags of assorted and miscellaneous tea bags in their purse?! Right. I do. Just in case. You never know when you’re going to want tea.

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But then!!! You can put tea in COOKIES! Who knew?! That’s like two of my favorite things all smooshed up into one big ball of awesome. Or a little ball, as the case may be, but whatever. Beside the point. Smoosh that [variegated size] ball of awesome into a flatish thing, dollop a bit of naturally-sweetened jam in the middle, and you got yourself a winner! Tea. Tea in my cookies. Tea cookies with my tea. Yummm. Can’t go wrong (Unless you’re a coffee fan, in which case I apologize and will get back to you with some coffee type cookies if you ask me nicely).

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Happy Monday! Get your sweat on and then go eat some cookies, I promise it will make Monday better.

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Earl Grey Thumbprints with Wildberry Jam

I made a little teeny batch that was actually supposed to be bigger: I got six adorable cookies out of mine, which were adorable but I wanted more. I’ll post the bigger batch here, which would yield 12. The recipe is lightly adapted from 5’oclock A Tea Bag, here! Could probably be easily gluten free, though mine weren’t. They are free of refined sugar, however.

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  • 6 tbsp butter (I used salted)
  • 8 tsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c + 4 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6.5 tbsp almond flour
  • 4 tsp Earl Grey tea leaves (mine was decaffeinated; this would be about 4 tea bags)
  • large pinch of salt
  • enough jam to dollop each cookie (I used apple juice sweetened wild berry)

Cream together butter and coconut sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, tea leaves, and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Refrigerate dough for about a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll the dough into smallish balls, flatten each one, and with a thumb make an indentation in the top. Dollop your jam into the imprint, then place on a cookie sheet. Repeat until all cookies are done… then pop into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes! They should be lightly golden brown.
Enjoy them with tea! Obviously…

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Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

I think you’ll find I’ve had a browniepiphany

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So you know how I’m always whining about how I’m soooo picky with brownies and that I never make them and blah blah blah?!

Yes, well…

I think that might have changed.

THESE.

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Gaahhhh… I can’t even.

Crackly crust. Fudgy, dense interior… IN. A. SKILLET. With ice cream. And date caramel. And two spoons.

Be jealous, it’s okay.

And yeah. They were so good I didn’t even really get proper pictures, but that should tell you just how good they really were. I think they might actually be too good for their own good…

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Everything I want in a brownie and then some. AND double bonus, they’re gluten free and dairy free! Not that I’m either (um, hello BUTTER) (and bread. obvs) but for all my little pallies out there who don’t do the gluten and dairy thing, these are for you. Because I love you and I want you to have fabulous brownies.

Time for second breakfast. I ate oatmeal for the first round, so obviously brownies make a logical second choice? Yes, I thought so too.

tis the season!
tis the season!

The Best Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Recreating Happiness, here! I made a 1/2 batch for a 5″ cast iron skillet, so I’ll post those measurements here. Double for a larger skillet, or an 8 by 8 pan. I highly recommend making them in cast iron, because eating them out of a warm skillet is magical.

  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%)
  • 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (Guittard)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice (I used a 5″ cast iron skillet and coconut oil).

In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil, dark chocolate, and 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside to hang out with the cooling chocolate.

In yet another bowl, whisk together coconut sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Whisk in egg—longer whisking creates the crackly crust! (who knew). Whisk in vanilla, then stir in the contents of the almond flour bowl and the chocolate chips. Pour/spread batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is set. Make sure not to over bake! No one likes dry brownies… I checked mine at 17 minutes, and then let them bake for another 4ish minutes. Mine were fairly thin, so test according to thickness and how hot your oven runs.
Let cool… or not.

Eat out of the skillet, preferably with ice cream and some date caramel… and someone else. Sharing is caring ;)

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Gooey delicious. Thank me later.

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Brownieeeeessss!!!!

These are as different as can be from the sweet potato brownies I posted not too long ago—if you like fudgy, dense deliciousness, these are for you. Prepare to have your tastebuds assaulted (in a really good way, obviously).

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I happen to be writing to you from my little vacation in Oregon! I’m currently very much enjoying some drizzly, wet weather (thanks for the welcome back, Oregon, it wouldn’t feel quite right if I wasn’t slightly damp) and taking a break from my horrifically boring online bio class. Snooooze. On the plus side, I will be doing nothing much besides eating for the next week. ALL the food… ALL the time. It’s too bad I couldn’t rent an extra stomach or something to go on vacation, you know? Someone should come up with that.

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Anyway. Pumpkin brownies. It’s fall, therefore there is absolutely NO excuse necessary to put pumpkin in EVERYTHING.

Like these.

Mmm.

Complete with gooey, delicious frosting.

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AND…..

Even better… these are good for you (or at least less bad than usual, and nutrient dense)!! Refined sugar free, grain free, and full of antioxidants (hello, super dark chocolate and pumpkin, I’m looking at you). They even have a bit of protein from the almond butter, so really, what more could you ask for?

Find some rainy weather, pop these babies in the oven, and eat them with company. Life is always a little better with a brownie, don’t you think?

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Recipe only slightly adapted from Specialty Cake Creations, here! Makes one 8 or 9″ pan, or anywhere from 9-16 brownies, depending on how hungry you are… Refined sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free!

Brownies:

  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 100% unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 c raw, unrefined honey
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Frosting:

  • 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 5-6 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375, and line an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 pan with parchment paper. I used a 9″ pan and they were fine, just a little thinner.

Melt chocolate, coconut oil, and honey together in a mediumish bowl (on the stove if you’re slightly less lazy than me, I used the microwave…). Stir until combined. Whisk in pumpkin puree and egg. In another smaller bowl, stir together almond flour and cinnamon, then toss that into the melted deliciousness of chocolate and pumpkin. Stir together until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the top just a bit. Bake for just about 30 minutes (a tester should come out clean), then let cool before frosting.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, pumpkin, pie spice, and maple. Adjust for taste!

Spread that goodness on your cooled brownies, and then find someone to share them with. Brownies are definitely better with company :)

[These keep best in the fridge!]

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Cookie Monday

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Cookie Monday.

Because, honestly… Mondays. Ugh. Today was an alarm goes off, I turn it off, roll over and promptly ignore it while carrying on a ridiculous conversation with myself about why I should get up morning. Or not. Not won and I spent and extra half an hour in bed. I am SO ready for this time change, I do not relish getting up in the pitch blackness of ugh.

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At least if you have cookies, Mondays are slightly better. Not that I have these, mind you, I made them last Wednesday and they were eaten in… six hours.

Yeahhh. Hello small batches and starving post-spin class family, bye bye cookies! At least they were a decent post-spin meal, what with having good fats and being refined sugar free and all that. You know, business as usual around here in the hippie natural food universe…

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Also. My lovely neighbors dropped off a bag of pomegranates and they’re GORGEOUS so I’m including photos for your fall pleasure. This is my favorite time of year!

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So now it’s Monday and I’m tragically cookie-free, but lucky for you, I hand deliver cookies to your inbox! Happy Monday, even if they’re virtual. Toddle off into your kitchen and you can have these for yourself in less than half an hour, which would a) make your Monday better, b) prevent bart strike angst by giving yourself something far more productive than work to do (who needs to commute, anyway?), and c) give your body what it wants while tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating something decadent. Everybody (stomach gremlins included) wins!

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Two types of cookies for you today: I made a half batch of each since I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to make more. Life is full of such complicated decisions…

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Quinoa Date Cookies

Lightly sweet, chewy, and thick. These are delicious warm or room temp, and if you make a half batch as I did, you should come out with about 8. Gluten free and refined sugar free. As posted, this makes 8 cookies—double for a full batch! Recipe only slightly adapted from Sweetest Kitchen, here!

  • 1/2 c sprouted quinoa flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp organic cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c dates, pitted
  • 1/8 c coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 squares super dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Using a food processor (or alternatively an immersion blender—-this is what I did as I didn’t feel like doing extra dishes, but it works slightly less well), puree dates. Add in coconut oil, egg white, and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add wet into dry, and stir in chocolate pieces. The dough will initially seem dry, but keep stirring and it’ll incorporate. Drop by the spoonful onto your prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for about 10 minutes, until firm to the touch and slightly browned.

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Almond Butter Pumpkin Cookies

Mine came out very soft and flat, with a bit of a gooey consistency (likely the result of too much flax egg, but I don’t care—they were delicious!). Gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. Wheeee! Again, I made a half batch of 7 cookies. Double for more! Recipe from the awesome blog Mangia, here!

  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 c maple syrup (I use organic grade B)
  • 1/4 c unsalted almond butter
  • 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed+1.5 tbsp water (1/2 a flax egg)
  • 1/4 tsp (runneth over) vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 squares dark chocolate, chopped (I used a mexican stone ground vanilla chocolate, so delicious)

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flax and water and let sit aside.

In a mediumish bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, maple, almond butter, flax egg, and vanilla. In another smallish bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, spice, and baking soda. Dump dry into wet and stir to combine (cookies are maybe like the most wonderful, easiest thing ever), toss in chopped chocolate, and drop by the spoonful onto your cookie sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes—I checked mine at 10, but let them go closer to 13. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minute (almond flour is delicate), then remove to a cooling rack.

I’m sure these store well, but I had absolutely no opportunity to test this as they disappeared the day I made them. Ah well, cookies are best fresh ;)

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Cookies that play nice in the sandbox

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OoOooOOOOooohhhh the first of the fall baking has arrived!

PUMPKIN.

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Why isn’t it a year-round thing?? I always think that summer fruit is my favorite thing, but then around comes fall (which happens to be my favorite season anyway) and I get all obsessed with pumpkin. So fickle.

But seriously. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things ever. And healthy cookies are right up there next to pumpkin on the favorite things list, so obviously why would I NOT combine these?! Helloooo.

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I’m going to start my pumpkin hoarding sometime soon…. you know what I mean if you’ve hung around my inbox snark the last several years: come fall, everyyytime I go to the store, I grab an extra can of pumpkin. Can never have too much, right?! … Right. Sorry. I have a problem. BUT. That also means that when everyone else is fighting over the *last* can of pumpkin within a 10 mile radius, I am sitting pretty on my hoarded stash. And can therefore make pumpkin things. All. The. Time. Yep. Be jealous. Or don’t, and implement my genius strategy for yourself… you’ll thank me later.

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These cookies play nice in the sandbox, too, as they’re dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and paleo. Even if you don’t subscribe to any particular dietary theory (like me. I’m an omnitarian), it’s only fair to make cookies that can make nice for other people too, right?! Cookies are meant to be shared. They’re like love, in food form.

Bake love. Share food (preferably with a bestie over tea). Eat. Be happy!

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Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, here! My batch yielded 10 cookies, about 2.5-3″. Paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free! Not to mention full of beta carotene, healthy fats, and antioxidants. How could you pass up these little gems?! That’s right… I thought not!

  • 1 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree (Just pumpkin, not pie filling pleeease!)
  • 2.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own: 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pinch of cardamom or mace), plus more to sprinkle on the top of yet-to-be-baked cookies
  • 2 large squares of 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry (and do try to avoid overmixing, we can’t have that…). Stir in chocolate, and drop by the tablespoonish onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkleysprinkle some extra pumpkin pie spice on there because that is an excellent idea. Smooth them out just a little… then pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few as they’re soft right out of the oven—they’ll seem too soft at first but they firm up nicely. Store them in the fridge, if they last that long!

Your kitchen will smell like heaven. Indulge responsibly ;)

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Upgrading the childhood favorites, one cookie at a time

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As you can see, I’m having quite a bit of fun riffing on things that I used to eat as a kid, except making them… edible. Because I don’t know about you, but if I try to eat conventional graham crackers now, they taste like cardboard. STALE cardboard… which is about as bad as it can get, in my book.

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So this is fun! Real food ingredients that you can pronounce and have fun eating. Because these taste almost like the “real” thing, but BETTER! Wheee!

Graham crackers. What an ubiquitous little kid snack (um. And adult?! Hellooooo).

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My grandma used to keep them in the cupboard above her fridge, probably because it was high enough up to be out of the reach of small Hayley (though why the baking drawers with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were at child level I’ll never know—I got really good at swiping handfuls of ‘baking morsels’ every time I went into the kitchen… although sometimes it was with my grandma’s consent, ha). Anyway. She ALWAYS had graham crackers. And I loved them. Crunchy-soft, subtly sweet. Besides that, I have called my grandma Gram for as long as I can remember, and gram=graham! Get it?? Like Gram Crackers? The crackers that Gram always has? Do you see? Perfect.

My dad and I used to eat them for lunch sometimes with milk. We’d get out a really nice plate, put a glass of milk in the center, and then break up about two sleeves worth of crackers nicely and place them around the edge of the plate. And then sit outside, preferably, in the sun, companionably dipping graham crackers.

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Middle school meant that I was obsessed with the cinnamon graham sticks, except my mom would never buy them (actually… thanks mom! In retrospect that was an excellent choice you made), so I would always eat them over at my friend’s house… with applesauce. For some reason that was our thing and we would literally go through a box in one sitting. Whoops. I do have to say, they were startlingly good dipped in applesauce. Weird.

Later in life (ie college) I started buying organic ones and eating them with nut butter and dark chocolate for dessert. Sort of like a deconstructed s’more, except better as I don’t care for marshmallows… so this just leaves you with the good parts… carbs and chocolate! Yessss.

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SO anyway. Lots of good memories associated with these little guys, besides the fact that I like the way they taste. BUT. I don’t really like that they come in a package, even if they are organic. SO. I’ve started making my own! It’s WAY more fun, AND I know exactly what’s going in them. Solving for nostalgia and taste, all in one fell swoop.

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Milk in a shot glass. So classy.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Recipe from Salt&Smoke, here! I adapted it only very slightly. I made two batches, one with coconut oil and maple syrup, and one with butter and honey. The butter ones browned a slight bit more, due to the honey, but they’re both delicious. I think the coconut oil one is actually my favorite—you can’t taste the coconut, but something about the almond flour/coconut oil/maple/vanilla combo really tastes like graham crackers to me. I think my next project will be adding cinnamon to the batter, to make cinnamon crackers!!

I got a yield of 20 from the coconut oil batch, and 23 from the butter batch. They’re about 2″ by 2.5″ (ish).

  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt (I used fine grain with 1 tsp, if you’re using coarse, use 1/2!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp refined coconut oil or butter (I used unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a small splash of almond extract*

*I only used the almond extract in the butter/honey version, and to me it is barely noticeable

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and stir until combined. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, and maple or honey, and microwave (I’m lazy—you can also use a saucepan) until melted and combined. Stir in extract(s). Pour wet into dry, and stir until mixed.

Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, approximately the size of your cookie sheet. I rolled mine out to about 1/8″ thick—-go thinner if you want really crunchy cookies. Score into rectangles using a butter knife, then get fancy and poke little holes in the tops with a fork (because graham crackers aren’t complete without fork marks, duh). I trimmed the excess dough off the edges and re-rolled it into more squares and a few circles.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden. I took both batches out around 13, let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then moved the parchment paper to the cooling rack.

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