During our family trip to St. Louis last weekend, (it was a blast!) my aunt told me about her friend's little girl who is unable to eat eggs or dairy and asked me to create a recipe for her. Because I'm a healthy, gluten free blog, I decided to also make something (surprise!) gluten free and healthy! Bet you didn't see that coming.
I had a really hard time deciding what to make, but I finally decided on cookies. They make a good little dessert or snack, and it's difficult to find an egg-free and dairy-free cookie. Am I right? I'm right.
Don't be fooled, though. These cookies are not plain, they are not bland, and they will make you dance. They will.
When your trusty taste testers (say that 5 times fast) give you a look and ask again "These are really dairy, gluten, AND egg free?" You're doing something right.
I wanted to mimic the deep, nutty flavor of a brown butter cookie, but butter was obviously out of the equation. Instead, I created layers of flavor by toasting the almond flour and the pecans, and incorporating notes of earthy molasses and warm cinnamon. They've got a lot going on: cinnamon to compliment the nutty flavor, chocolate because duh, and pecans, because every cookie needs a little bling.
A few notes:
1. I know ground flax isn't the most common ingredient, but if you do a lot of eggless baking, it's a good thing to have around. You'll be able to find it online, in health food stores, and in well-stocked grocery stores. It has lots of other uses, too (smoothies, yogurt, granola, etc.) It's also very good for you.
2. I don't care what anyone tells you, toasting the almond flour and the pecans is not optional. No buts, no excuses. You have to do it. Get the skillet heated right away and toast the flour while you assemble the rest of the dry ingredients. When you're done, the pan is all heated up and ready for the pecans. See? That was easy.
All of the flavors come together perfectly for a deep, toasty, crispy yet chewy, nutty little cookie. They're so good, nobody will ever guess that they don't contain even a trace of gluten, dairy, or egg. It'll be our little secret.
Toasty Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
You will need:
- 1/2 cup finely ground, blanched almond flour
- 3/4 cups rolled oats; ground into flour
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats; whole
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (brown sugar would also work)
- 1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water (allow to sit for 5 minutes)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon molasses (maple syrup would probably work too)
- 1/4 cup raw pecans
- 2 oz. high quality dark chocolate; chopped, or sub 1/3 cup chocolate chips (use vegan for dairy free)
Preheat the oven to 350° F
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the almond meal, using a spoon to break up large clumps, until golden brown.
Combine the toasted almond meal with the rest of the dry ingredients (everything before flax on the list) and mix thoroughly with a fork or a whisk.
Microwave the coconut oil just until melted, (you don't want it to be really hot) then add it to the flax "egg" along with the vanilla and molasses. Mix to combine.
Meanwhile, toast the pecans, stirring often, until they have some color and smell nutty. Keep a close eye on them, they burn easily! Allow them to cool a little, then chop coarsely.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until a thick batter forms, then fold in the chopped chocolate and pecans.
Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet; leaving about two inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool slightly so they firm up a bit.
(Or take my route and burn the daylights our of your tongue. Will I ever learn?)
Just as a quick aside, I LOVE when people give me challenges like this, and am totally open to any recipe requests you might have. Just let me know!
What else is going on?
Still workin' on my food photography, I finally set up a little station with my props and backgrounds.
I'm SUPER ULTRA MEGA excited because the wonderful glorious peach truck made a stop in my town yesterday, and I dragged my Dad along to buy a MASSIVE box each of peaches and blueberries. When I say I've been looking forward to this since January, I'm not exaggerating even a little. Of course I drew up a day-by-day timeline of recipes that correspond to peach ripeness. It's chill. So anyway, be excited for a tidal wave of peach recipes! Even if I don't get around to making them all (I think the peaches will get ripe when I'm away) I'll at least link all of the recipes I was planning to try so that you can check them out!
This morning, I raced a 15k in Fon Du Lac with my mom! It was actually really hard, it was awesome! Afterwards, we found a hidden gem of a coffee shop (they had Colectivo coffee AND almond milk!!!) and hit the farmers market for some veg action. We may have bought 12 ears of corn. What's the problem?
Also! I'm leaving for XC camp tomorrow, but I'll be back and posting as soon as I get back! I'll miss ya! :) Hope you all have a lovely week!