Monday, September 30, 2013

Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies

I wanted to use up some of my homemade nutella in a cookie, and since my husband loves anything and everything chocolate, I thought I'd make nutella sandwich cookies.  And instead of a peanut butter cookie, I substituted homemade hazelnut butter in for the peanut butter (see previous post).

Recipe notes to consider:

Although not the healthiest recipe, it is dairy-free and gluten-free, with the option to use coconut palm sugar or raw cane sugar in lieu of brown and white sugars.  You can also make this cookie vegan by swapping in a chia or flax-meal "egg".
Also, as these were for the hubby, not me, I used xanthan gum which helps the texture imitate that of a gluten flour.  They will still work if omitted, though the texture may be slightly crumbly.  I personally cannot consume xanthan gum, and do not recommend it for those will food allergies or who are extremely sensitive to corn.

Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies


scant 1 cup coconut palm sugar or organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut or other nut butter
1/2 cup nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance or coconut butter
1 egg
1-1/4 cup gluten-free flour such as Bob's Red Mill
optional 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup raw cacao homemade nutella or chocolate frosting of your choice


1.  In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, nut butter, and softened nondairy butter or butter substitute.
2.  While mixing, beat in the egg.
3.  Fold in sifted gluten-free flour, baking soda, powder and sea salt.
4.  Chill dough in fridge 30 minutes to an hour to firm a little.
5.  Roll into little balls, then flatten into discs on a cookie sheet greased or lined with parchment paper.  Optional: take a fork and use the tines to create little "hashtags" ;) The little fork marks will be more prominent if dipped in additional sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges, and let cool a few minutes before removing from the pan.  

Once the cookies are fully cooled, spread your nutella between two cookies of identical size.  There you have it: two fragrant, creamy and chocolately hazelnut cookies in one.  Paired with a hazelnut latte might be the most amazing thing ever--give it a try!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Cookies

First of all, I'm very excited for autumn as it means pumpkin everything.  (At least in my house).  This is a really easy recipe that is filling and packed with protein from the pumpkin and chickpeas.  It is a gluten-free vegan recipe that is easy to make and yields a chewy, satisfying cookie that keeps well.  Maybe even pair it with a pumpkin spice latte or chai tea for an extra holiday kick.

Side note: this also makes a perfect breakfast; you'll think you're eating dessert!

Pumpkin Protein Cookies
yields 2 dozen medium cookies


1 cup chickpeas
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup gluten-free oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw local honey, my fave
6 dates
1/2 cup raisins


1.  Rinse chickpeas and remove skins.  Food process with agave until all the beans are pureed fine.
2.  Add pumpkin, oats, cinnamon, dates, raisins, vanilla and cacao, combining well.
3.  Bake at 350 for 24-28 minutes, let cool for a few minutes then serve.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part-ay Cookies! Raw Nut Vanilla Cacao Cookies

These are more dessert than snack, so go lighter on the agave if you'd like a less sweet more trail-mix/larabar sort of cookie.  They are so flavorful and filling though, it may be hard to limit yourself to just one!  For those sensitive to nuts, beware: they contain more nuts than most, if not all of my recipes.  On the plus side though, they are full of healthy fats and should keep you pretty satiated.  I created these for a friend's birthday party in attempt at a crowd-pleasing raw cookie, and the reviews were amazing--they didn't last long and I had several requests for the recipe.

It's a little more time consuming than a throw-everything-in-theprocessor-and-voila! but if you have the time and can eat nuts, give it a go!  You won't be sorry--and there's absolutely no baking or dehydrating involved.

Raw Nut Vanilla Cacao Cookies
Yields 3 dozen cookies


1 cup cashews, ground to a fine flour
1 cup almonds, ground to a fine flour
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave or sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
1/3 cup nondairy mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa roasted pumpkin seeds (or plain raw pumpkin seeds)


1.  Grind cashews to a flour texture; set aside.
2.  Grind almonds to a fine flour, add to cashews.

3.  Add oil and agave to the nuts, and stir in vanilla, nibs, chocolate chips and seeds.
4.  Place half the mixture into the food processor, and process until the mixture comes together in one large ball.  Stir by hand into the looser crumbly mixture, and stir in gluten-free oats, adding a little water or more coconut oil if necessary for mixture to hold well together.

5.  Spoon into little discs and chill for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

Zeke, Yogi and I drove back to Carlsbad from Eugene this weekend, but not before we filled the car with fresh vegetables and goodies from my mother's amazing vegetable garden.

you see me rollin'
This morning I decided I needed to find a way to use the last of the zucchini I pilfered from my the garden.  (Every time I drive home from Oregon I load the car with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, basil, apples, pears and anything else I can find growing in the backyard).

This is an easy, super moist and nutrient-packed dessert sweetened with a touch of honey.  Enjoy!

Though one of my favorite snacks is fresh veggies with hummus or sprinkled with basil and coconut aminos, I opted for a dessert to use of the rest of the zucchini, and thus, the Black Bean Zucchini Brownies were born.

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies


1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
3/4 cup gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1-3/4 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup nondairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9" baking pan with parchment paper or coconut oil.
2.  Food process the gluten-free oats for several minutes, until fine.  

Set aside and add cacao powder, soda, powder and salt to the ground up oats.

3.  In a food processor, puree beans, and add honey, vanilla, and applesauce.  Add the wet to dry and add in zucchini and half the chocolate chips.
4.  Pour batter into pan, add 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs on top, and bake 25-35 minutes.

**notes: If you'd like a less sweet/healthier version, use all cacao nibs instead of nondairy chocolate chips.  If you want to taste the amazingness of nondairy chocolate chips, I highly recommend Enjoy Life as they don't use any soy or soy lecithin, which seems to be in most chocolate chips (bleh)

bake until the top is slightly cracked an an inserted toothpick or tester comes out pretty clean

Monday, September 16, 2013

Roasted Snickerdoodle Chickpeas: The Perfect Snack

Hungry and craving something crunchy, like chips or popcorn?  Trying not to eat anything processed but dying for a flavorful and savory yet sweet snack?  Try roasted chickpeas!  Eaten bare or with a light glaze of coconut oil, honey and cinnamon, it is a healthy protein-filled snack that will keep you fueled for hours.

Roasted Snickerdoodle Chickpeas:

I believe canned chickpeas will work, but I highly recommend soaking dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) overnight.  Then you really know there's nothing weird added in there.


several cups of dried chickpeas

snickerdoodle optional topping:
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon honey, melted
2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon


1.  Rinse chickpeas in water and soak overnight.
2.  Drain beans and lightly dry on paper towels.  Spread on a baking sheet on a nonstick surface.
3.  Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes. (Test a few from various places on the pan; when crunchy, they are done).

Enjoy as is:

or for a yummy topping, or dessert:

 Melt coconut oil, add honey and cinnamon and roll chickpeas in the mixture, mixing well.
Stick back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Apples: Gluten-Free Apple Cobbler

Since my parents' backyard is resplendent with apples, I collected some of the nicer ones from the base of the trees, and used an ancient apple-picker apparatus complete with a little basket for the ones up high.  Ideally, the basket catches the apple after you snip the branch with shears attached to a long thin pole, but it is harder than it sounds, especially when the tool is about twenty years old.

Basically, a lot hit the ground, but cut out any unbearably bruised or rotten portions, and you're still left with a great baking apple.  This is a gluten-free, vegan recipe for apple cobbler, and is super easy to make.  A little sweeter that many of recipes, feel free to go a little lighter with your sugar or choice.  This recipe was made for my brother and his friend who begged me to make a dessert, and even offered to help peel the apples.

Apple Cobbler


7 or 8 apples, peeled and chopped into thin sections
3/4 cup (scant) of coconut palm sugar or sucanat or honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups gluten free flour*
1 cup (scant) of coconut palm sugar or sucanat
2 eggs or two "eggs"**
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or soy butter, melted


1.  Peel and thinly chop apples into large sections.
2.  Mix sweetener and cinnamon; sprinkle and toss apples.
3.  Lay apple mix in a 13 x 9 inch un-greased pan.
4.  Mix remaining ingredients except coconut oil and dollop over the apples.  Pour melted coconut oil or nondairy butter over last.
5.  Bake 42-46 minutes or until topping is golden and apples are soft.

*Gluten-free flour option: 1 cup oat flour, 3/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup tapioca or potato starch
** Eggs can be replaced with 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce or 4 TBSP flax meal mixed with 10 TBSP water

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From Apples to Easy Applesauce

I know, this post is kind of cheating.  I'm not exactly giving you a revolutionary new recipe, but this is a useful one if you have a ton of apples.  My parents have three apple trees in their backyard, and though occasionally they are good, most of them are a little tart and too tough or mealy to be a very good snack.

For applesauce though, they are perfect.  Even the fallen, bruised or mushy ones: just peel, chop off the gross parts, and dice up the apples and you're on your way to delicious, fragrant and healthy applesauce.

Easy Applesauce:

8-10 small apples, peeled and chopped
water (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)


1.  Place water in a large shallow pot to prevent the apples from burning before they release enough moisture.
2.  Simmer the apples for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on the size of your diced apples (hint: the smaller you cut them, the quicker they break down).
3.  Stir occasionally until apples begin to breakdown and thicken into a sauce.  To expedite the process, use a potato masher or other such utensil to mash the apples once they are soft.

Optional:  Add cinnamon to taste.
Albi hint:  use applesauce in place of maple syrup for anything and everything, including pancakes and waffles, french toast or as a sweetener in baked goods.

Healthy hint:  Though my mom used to make this with sugar, DO NOT add any sugar.  Apples are sweet enough, and if you think applesauce should have added sugar, something is wrong with you.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fruit-Sweetened Flourless Cookie Time

my fave: without the chocolate.  This means it could be....breakfast!
or for more decadence: add some nondairy chocolate chunks

For a healthy cookie that satisfied my sugar craving, I made this banana-sweetened treat.  Made without rice chocolate chips, it is a good anytime snack to quench that dessert desire.  I added rice chocolate chips with I made it for family friends, to give them a tasty pairing with their post-dinner wine.

Fruit-Sweetened Flourless Cookies

yields 8-10 cookies

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup gluten-free oats
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 apple, peeled and chopped

optional: 3 tablespoons rice chocolate chunks


1.  Mash banana on a plate with the tines of a fork, add to a medium bowl.

2.  Peel and dice 1/4 of an apple or any other fruit, and add to the bowl along with the gluten-free oats, dash of nondairy milk, cinnamon and vanilla.  For a sweeter option, fold in some nondairy chocolate.
3.  Scoop out batter into little rounds on a silpat or other nonstick surface on a cookie sheet.

Save yourself calories and time by getting a Silpat.  I found a cheaper version at TJ Maxx: half of what my Silpat from Williams-Sonoma cost
4.  Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Let cool a few minutes on a wire rack before transferring off the sheet.