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Gluten Free Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hmmmnnnn. . . . so what does this say about me?  I am surrounded by boxes.   Right here, in my office, the towers of boxes around me–leaving a path just barely wide enough to traverse to get to my computer–resemble a child’s game of war and fortress (I can almost see over the top of the cardboard wall, peeking out at the doorway–wait!  Here comes the enemy cloathed in black fur!–no, wait, that’s just Elsie .  But I digress).  The house is in total chaos, and no wonder–we are moving in FOUR DAYS.  Half my food is packed away.  Almost all my books are packed away (I saved four favorites to comfort me until I make it to the new place).  There are piles of papers, cardboard, old magazines and other detritus strewn about the hallway, slated to be dumped in the recylcle bin before we leave.  The kitchen floor hasn’t been mopped in over a week (oh, well, wait a second, that has nothing to do with moving–we’re always more or less slobs that way). 

And amid all this entropy, what do I want to do?  I want to bake.

So, finally, here is the first dessert of Diet, Dessert and Dogs.  Most of my supplies are packed, I’ve got very few ingredients left in the house, but when all else fails, I bake.  It’s comforting, it’s familiar, it’s creative, it’s a way to distract myself (which is actually one of my successful diet strategies, come to think of it).  So when the urge hit earlier today, I decided to allow it to run its course.  It seems an impossible goal, in any case, to adhere to any kind of healthy eating regimen while undergoing the upheaval and concomitant stress I’m experiencing at present, so if I feel like eating cookies, dammit, I’m going to eat cookies.  Even if I have to bake them myself, in a kitchen full of boxes, devoid of most utensils, bowls, spoons, or other usual amenities.

I ended up making these Cashew Chocolate Chip cookies, a variation on a recipe I created for the baking company.  Like everything else I make, they are primarily organic, made with natural (unrefined) sweeteners, and no eggs or dairy (ie, vegan).  They are similar in texture to an old-fashioned shortbread cookie (though perhaps a bit more delicate), with that slightly crumbly, slightly sandy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency, and the smooth, creamy sweetness of the chocolate chips dotted throughout.  They are divinely rich tasting, and yet not cloying.  (I deliberately made a quarter recipe so that I’d have only four cookies, just in case I had the impulse to eat them all–which, of course, I did.  Luckily, I remembered to take a photo before they were all gone.) 

And now, here’s the bonus–they are gluten-free!  While I don’t have a problem with gluten, the NAG diet naturally gravitates toward gluten-free grains, and I’ve done a bit of experimenting with grain-free cookies.  I think you’ll love these. 

Do excuse the photo–I am not only new to blogging, but completely unskilled with a camera as well. (Oh, and the plate in the picture is our last one left unpacked, bland as it may be).  But I think you can get the idea.

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Gluten Free Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup (scant) organic cashew butter (at room temperature)

1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil, melted

1 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste), at room temperature

1/8 cup (2 Tbsp.) pure maple syrup

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/8 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch sea salt

1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, blend the cashew butter, coconut butter, and tahini until perfectly smooth.  Add the maple syrup and vanilla and stir to mix well. 

In a small bowl, stir the flax with the cardamom, soda, and sea salt.  Sprinkle this mixture over the cashew butter mixture, and stir to blend well.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a 2-ounce scoop or tablespoon, scoop batter onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Wet your palms, and flatten each cookie slightly (they will spread a bit as they bake). 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.  Allow to cool completely before removing from cookie sheet (these will firm up as they cool).  Makes 8 irresistible cookies.

( “Mum, they do look irresistible!  But you know we’re not allowed chocolate!”)

[This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog.  For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]

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