In my Mini-Whisk related hiatus from blogging, a whole new food movement seems to have taken over blogland. It’s now all about paleo and raw food – everywhere I look people are embracing sugar alternatives and raw cacao and activated nuts and coconut oil.
Given my propensity for butter and roasting things until golden and crispy, I’m hardly changing my lifestyle to paleo eating, but I will admit to being somewhat curious about cooking without sugar or gluten or even dairy. A colleague of mine at my day job has been instrumental in educating me in this food movement, having embraced a largely gluten-, sugar- and lactose-free diet for health reasons. Consequently, I have become a little more aware of recipes using alternatives to my pantry staples as I am on the lookout for tasty things I can make which my friend can eat. She, in turn, has opened my eyes up to the benefits of such foods and as a result I am incorporating some changes to my diet.
On my return to work from maternity leave I was greeted with a sweet little mason jar filled with home-made cookies from my workmate. I’d had a rough start to the day as the Mini-Whisk hadn’t been overjoyed at the prospect of childcare and our parting was traumatic, with Margot clutching at my skirt trying to prevent me from leaving her as buckets of tears flowed, and not all from baby. To say I needed a strong cup of tea and
big hug cookie was an understatement.
What a treat these biscuits were! They are sweet, crunchy, not at all heavy in the way I imagine anything without gluten must be, and the cacao nibs give a lovely crunch – a chocolatey nuttiness. If cacao nibs are a step too far in the direction of good health for you, then you can certainly substitute them for dark chocolate (try and use at least 70٪ cocoa solids), but I had a jar of cacao nibs languishing in the pantry cupboard, purchased on a whim and I was glad to give them a purpose. The method couldn’t be simpler – it really is a case of combining everything in a bowl and baking. There’s no excuse not to give them a try!
I’m sure these cookies are not exactly guilt-free, but they are near enough to it that I am happy to inhale a couple with a cup of tea during a quiet moment at the office without feeling too much like I should jog home.
Almond, Vanilla & Cacao Cookies
- 130g ground almonds
- 2 ½ tbs melted coconut oil
- ⅓ cup cacao nibs (or substitute dark chocolate chips)
- 2 ½ tbs maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch sea salt flakes
What to do:
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Roll tablespoonsful of the cookie dough into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Press gently in the centre to flatten.
Bake for approx. 15 minutes until golden. If you prefer a crunchy cookie, keep them in the oven a couple of minutes longer – I prefer mine to be crispy on the outside and still a little soft and chewy in the middle.