09 June 2013

going nuts

Ugh, I'm seriously the worst! Now it's not only my mother who scolds me for my inconsistent blogging habits, my grandma has jumped on the bandwagon, too (love you ladies!) As usual I've got a billion posts pending and another billion ideas for posts floating around in my brain. Unfortunately, I just came seem to find the blogging spirit in myself as frequently as I'd like to and it becomes a bit of a chore to sit down at the computer and spend time click clacking away at the keyboard. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been  in the kitchen experimenting. Though I may not have it in me to brag and blog about my current or recent culinary adventures, I have had quite a few. So let's flash back to a couple of weeks ago when I tried something brand new.

Like everyone else seems to be doing, I've been trying to cut back. Cut back on what, you ask. Everything. Less meat, less dairy, less sugar, less gluten, less fat. Less everything. When giving up so much, it's easy to fall in to a slump of humdrum meals and snacks. I'm not ok with that; no way jose. If I'm going to create a healthy and balanced diet for myself, there better be loads of flavor, creativity, taste and experimentation - I refuse to eat plain, boring kale salads everyday. I want variety. I want dessert. I want... cookies!

Hmm, how to make cookies with less gluten and sugar and dairy. What's the sweetest nut around (other than myself?) Almonds! And since we are forbidden to have peanuts or peanut butter in the house (honey is NOT a fan of peanuts,) I have loads of almonds in pretty much every form: sliced, slivered, buttered, ground into meal, ground into flour, raw, roasted, all kinds of almonds. So I took my go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies and adjusted it to include no flour and almonds. Since almonds are high in fat and oils even when they're ground into flour, subbing almond flour for regular white flour requires a few other adjustments to the recipe including less butter. I've learned from my previous almond flour disasters that a good rule of thumb is to double the flour and halve the butter. Because I like my nut butter cookies a little more on the chunky side rather than smooth, I used a combination of powdery almond flour and grainy almond meal.

Cooking with nut flours, especially baking with nut flours, takes a keen eye more than anything else. You really just need to add the dry ingredients a little at a time to make sure the consistency looks right. And if you've done it all correctly, you will end up with what might just be the most perfect cookies ever. Seriously, honey even said so! Crispy on the edges, chewy and soft on the inside, perfect to soak up milk or a latte or some Ovaltine. And it's gluten free! And has minimal dairy. The sugar is still the same but I think I might try it with agave or honey next time. Experimentation is key when creating a new diet, I couldn't handle it if I weren't allowed to try new things. I encourage you, darling readers, to do the same.

perfect with a side of fresh sweet cherries!
all almond all the time almond butter cookies
1 c packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c salted butter, room temp
1/2 c chunky almond butter
1 egg
1 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c almond meal
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and blend until completely mixed in. Mix in almond butter.
2. With mixer on a medium-low speed, mix in dry ingredients one cup at a time. Don't be afraid to add more almond flour/meal to get the right consistency. When all ingredients are mixed and the right doughiness is achieved, roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let chill for at least one hour.
3. Form chilled dough into 1" balls and press down with a fork (criss cross like peanut butter cookies usually are.) The dough might seem to be a little crumbly when you're pushing it down; don't be discouraged, it will be fine! Bake on a silpat covered cookie sheet at 375 for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

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