Tuesday, May, 21, 2013
Last week I went to a raw foods potluck. I was almost overwhelmed, everything on the buffet was safe for me to eat!
I can’t remember the last time I had a plate of food like this, unless I had prepared it all myself. There is so much joy in sharing a meal with others, especially when it is the same meal, when all of the food can be enjoyed by everyone gathered around the table.
My contributions to the potluck were my Brigadeiros, a decadent chocolate truffle with healthy ingredients, and these Pad Thai wraps.
The wraps were inspired by this recipe, shared by Heather at Gluten-Free Cat. Heather hosts Raw Foods Thursdays and attends raw potlucks often. She inspired me to give it a try and I’m glad I did. I met fun folks at the potluck, heard Dave the Raw Food Trucker speak again and ate lots of delicious food. Plus there was homebrew Kombucha, which makes my body sing. I hope to go to a potluck like this again soon, but in the meantime, I’m gonna make more of these wraps.
About these wraps: I used a dehydrator to make the wrap, but they may also work in the oven on the lowest possible temperature. If you try it, let me know. And the sauce….well, you’ll want to make it again and again. It’s great not just on these wraps but drizzled over just about any vegetable dish. Or straight off a spoon. Not that I would do that…
Living Foods Pad Thai Wraps
For The Wraps:
- Blend all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor until very smooth. Add more water only as needed to reach a thick batter consistency.
- Spread batter evenly on two teflex lined dehydrator sheets. Score into six pieces on each sheet. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 3 hours or until wraps can be peeled off of the teflex sheets. If the wraps are still too moist to remove, put them back and check again in 30 minutes to an hour.
- Once the wraps can be peeled off the teflex, remove the teflex, flip them over onto the mesh dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate another 1 1/2 or 2 hours. If they dehydrate too long, they will crack and won't roll into a wrap. If you do dehydrate too long, you can try placing the wraps in a ziploc bag with a moist paper towel. This is also how the wraps should be stored to keep them from getting brittle.
For the Sauce:
- Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
For the Filling and Assembly:
- Put a bit of each vegetable atop one carrot wrap. Drizzle with a little sauce. Roll and serve! I serve with a small bowl of the sauce along side, as you really can't get too much of this sauce. It's delicious.
A word on preparing these wraps ahead of time: the carrot flax wraps will absorb the moisture of the filling and crumble. If you need to make them ahead of time, I suggest wrapping each wrap in a paper towel. This helps some, but the best way to enjoy these is to make them and immediately eat them. It’s hard not to anyway!
I’m linking this post up with Gluten Free Cat’s Raw Foods Thursday. Click on over and take a look at all of the goodness folks are sharing!
Monday, May, 20, 2013
It’s finally springtime here. For us Midwestern folks, that means rhubarb and morel mushrooms are making their way into the kitchens of those with a good connection.
And a good connection I have! My sweet friend Judy brought rhubarb to me from her garden in Iowa. I enjoy eating rhubarb, but have limited experience cooking and baking with it and have never tried to grow it. Judy cautioned me, “Don’t juice or eat the greens, they are poisonous!” Now what would make anyone think I’d attempt to juice those beautiful, dark, leafy greens atop the rhubarb stalks?
The area where this rhubarb exchange took place had limited cell service for me, so I couldn’t immediately use my phone to research why I shouldn’t eat the greens. My guess was high levels of oxalic acid (yes, this is how my food nerd brain works) but I couldn’t imagine how high the levels would have to be for it to become toxic. Turns out it is oxalic acid and one would have to eat a pretty hefty amount of the greens for them to be deadly. But juicing them doesn’t sound like a good idea at all, since I’m guessing removing the insoluble fiber would make the absorption of the oxalates more rapid.
So I stuck with a more traditional preparation of rhubarb. I made a strawberry rhubarb crumble with a few less-than-traditional ingredients like quinoa and bourbon. Yep, bourbon. I heard once it’s good for digestion. Really, I heard that somewhere.
A quick tip on the quinoa flour: you can buy quinoa flour at many stores now but if you already have quinoa in your pantry, just turn it into flour using a high speed blender, spice or coffee mill. It can be a challenge to keep everything in the pantry fresh, so why keep two items in the pantry when you can keep just one? I do this with quite a few other ingredients, including flax seed. Anything I can do to keep my food fresh, cost and waste down, wins with me!
Strawberry Rhubarb Quinoa Crumble
- 2 1/2 cups certified gluten-free oats
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
- 1 t. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 sticks chilled Earth Balance non-dairy butter substitute
- 2 cups rhubarb stalks (1" dice)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved or quartered depending on size)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
- 3 T. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 T. bourbon (replace with orange juice if you prefer to skip the bourbon)
- 1 t. orange zest
- 1 t. arrowroot
- Optional: Vanilla Ice Cream (I used So Delicious Vanilla Bean)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9 x 13 baking dish ready.
- Combine oats, quinoa flour, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix together just to combine.
- Add chilled Earth Balance (or butter of your choice) and cut in using either a fork or pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.
- Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with HALF of the crumble mixture. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
- While crust is baking, prepare filling.
- In a small bowl, combine orange juice, bourbon, orange zest and arrowroot. Mix to combine.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the rhubarb, strawberries and coconut sugar.
- When crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven. Top with fruit mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the top of the fruit. Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
Thursday, May, 16, 2013
I have a fascination with Brazilian food. This might surprise you if your idea of Brazilian food is visiting a churrascaria to eat endless mounds of meat cooked on a skewer. What would a plant-based eater have in common with a meat-on-a-stick way of eating?
Nope, it’s not about the meat for me. It’s about the breads, the crepes, the desserts, made without gluten. Naturally gluten-free, always have been.
But here’s the thing (there’s always a *thing* with me and food)…many of the Brazilian desserts I like best are made with sweetened, condensed milk. That doesn’t work well for me, so I wanted to find a way around it. Then I started thinking about how that became the Brazilian way in the first place. How did a processed food become an essential ingredient in the desserts of a country so rich with fresh products, fruits, seeds, nuts? It was because of World War II food shortages. Nestle introduced sweetened, condensed milk and cocoa powder to Brazil to compensate for their shortages of fruits and nuts. Interesting!
Since we aren’t currently short of unprocessed foods, I’m reinventing the Brigadeiro. My version is free of dairy and refined sugar, it’s technically raw and vegan if that’s how you like to eat. You can also make it nut free if you prefer. Instead of rolling the truffles in the traditional chocolate sprinkles, I’ve rolled mine in cacao nibs. You could also roll them in finely shredded, unsweetened coconut. Any way you go about it, these are decadent, luscious bites of chocolate. Enjoy!
Oh! One more thing…there’s still time to enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Michael Pollan’s new book, Cooked. Click here to enter.
Brigadeiros, a raw vegan twist on Brazilian chocolate truffles
- 3/4 cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked in water overnight and drained
- 1/4 cup raw nut butter of your choice OR raw sunflower butter
- 3 T. maple syrup, raw agave or raw local honey
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 Tablespoons maca powder (replace with cacao if you don't have maca)
- 2 T. coconut oil, softened but not liquified
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. raw vanilla powder (or scrape 1/4 of a vanilla bean)
- dash of sea salt
- raw cacao nibs for rolling, about 1/2 cup (I break mine up a bit in the food processor)
- Place all ingredients except the cacao nibs in either a high speed blender or food processor with the "s" blade. Process until smooth.
- Put mixture in a bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. It will be firm enough to roll into a ball. Roll into 12 to 14 balls. Roll each ball in cacao nibs.
- Store these in the refrigerator.
I’m linking this post up with Gluten Free Cat’s Raw Foods Thursdays , Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Drop by to see all of the goodness folks have shared this week!
Monday, May, 06, 2013
I’ve been making this unique variation on a traditional Korean dish at least once a week for the past six months . I’ve taught it in several culinary classes and even created a single-serving version for my recent 21-day healthy eating program. Of all of my recipes, this is the one folks rave about the most. I’ve seen photos shared on Facebook and Twitter, friends begging the person posting for the recipe. Folks who have tried this dish just can’ t get enough of it.
Don’t take my word for it, here’s what a few of the folks attending my classes have to say about it:
“Loved this! Delicious and beautiful. Who’d a thunk you could do that with sweet potatoes?” –S.H.
“This was ah-freaka-mazing!” –M.B.
“This dish is great. Even my hubs who doesn’t normally like sweet potatoes loved it!? –M.V.
“I thought I did not like sweet potatoes but had never eaten them like this. Wow!” –L.A.
“This has become one of our family’s favorite dishes.” –G.M.
“This sweet potato dish changed my life! We have it on our menu each week and it’s a family favorite. And the sauce!! It’s incredible. I can’t say enough great things about this dish.” –R.H.
Are you convinced yet? Ready to try it?
Here’s the scoop on Japchae: It’s a traditional Korean dish made with sweet potato starch noodles. The noodles used remind me of glass or cellophane noodles. They are a style of pasta and are parboiled before being added to a dish. Japchae includes vegetables stir fried is sesame oil, usually carrots, onion, mushrooms and spinach, and is often topped with beef. The sauce is made with soy sauce and sugar. Japchae is served hot and cold, usually topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
My variation on this dish starts with a change-up in the noodles. Instead of using the traditional pasta-style noodles, I’ve used actual sweet potatoes. I cut them with a Spiral Slicer, the kitchen gizmo I lovingly refer to as The Noodler.
I’ve stuck with the traditional vegetables, with only one swap, replacing spinach with kale. In the sauce, I have swapped out maple syrup for the sugar . The maple flavor works nicely with the sweet potato noodles.
While traditionally served with beef, this dish looks and tastes great without it. At a recent flexitarian meals class I taught with Katie of Healthnut Foodie, beef from Parker Farms was used to top this dish. If we want to amp up the protein content of this dish in our meatless home, we top it with maple sesame tofu. I’ll share the tofu recipe soon. Here’s a sneak peek:
So there you have it, a new twist on Japchae that’s packed with nutrients and flavor. I hope you’ll try this one and add your name to the growing list of Johnna’s Japchae fans!
Johnna’s Japchae, a new twist on a Korean favorite
- 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced with a spiral slicer
- 2 t. toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup Gluten-free soy sauce (Tamari), Braggs Aminos or Coconut Aminos
- 1 T. Toasted sesame oil
- 1 T. Maple syrup
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 t. toasted sesame oil
- 4 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 6 to 8 stems of kale, remove from stems and chop kale
- 2 T. Sesame seeds
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil and maple syrup. Set aside.
- In a large deep skillet, toss sweet potato noodles with sesame oil and cook over medium-low heat. Constantly toss, cooking to warm and slightly soften.
- Once soft, toss with the soy sauce, sesame oil and maple syrup mixture.
- In another pan, stirfry onion with 2 t. sesame oil. Once transparent, add mushrooms, carrots, red pepper and kale. Toss often, greens will relax and reduce a bit in size.
- Once vegetables have heated through (cook as you would for stirfry, to heat but not make mushy), plate noodles on serving plates and top with vegetables. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.
Thursday, March, 21, 2013
Yesterday, on my appearance on Better Kansas City, I shared my favorite chocolate cupcake and chocomole frosting. I’ve turned my TV leftovers into a dessert that may be even more decadent than the original!
Leftovers? Leftover cupcakes? Yep. I’m a bit of a perfectionist about my recipes. Not so much that they be impeccably formatted (maybe you’ve noticed) or that they have some specific nutritional balance (just healthy ingredients works for me), but that they actually work and taste great. So every time I’m going to be on TV, teach a class, post a recipe here, I find myself testing a few times just to be sure. Which means I had lots of cupcakes and lots of frosting from my TV appearance. What’s a girl to do with several batches of frosting staring her down every time the refrigerator door is open? Make trifles!
Here’s all you need to do this: a few fresh raspberries, one batch of Chocomole frosting (recipe below) and one batch of My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes.
I used small plastic punch cups to make these for a couple of reasons. First, I could share these with friends and neighbors and not worry about getting a container back. Second, the shape of the punch cups follows the shape of a cupcake, narrower at the bottom, flaring at the top. These can also be created in small mason jars.
Slice each cupcake in half. Place bottom of cupcake in the bottom of the cup.
Top with a layer of chocomole frosting, following by a layer of raspberries.
Top with remaining half of cupcake.
Finish with another layer of chocomole frosting and a few raspberries for garnish.
Store these in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- 4 ripe avocados
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 1 pound medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup or raw agave
- 2 t. vanilla bean paste
- ¼ to ½ cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk
- If you are using a food processor 11 cups or smaller in size, please consider splitting this recipe in half.
- In food processor, place dates and process until finely chopped. They will turn into a ball of date paste in the food processor.
- Slice the avocados in half carefully. Remove the pit and spoon out the fruit. Place the fruit into the bowl of the food processor.
- Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla bean paste to the food processor. Process until smooth, at least a few minutes.
- Slowly add in milk, until desired frosting consistency is reached. Pipe or frost with a knife onto cupcakes.
- This frosting is best kept refrigerated.
Wednesday, March, 20, 2013
This morning I appeared on Better Kansas City, a local lifestyle show on KCTV5. I shared my favorite chocolate cupcakes and chocomole frosting. I really had a terrific time!
Because y’all asked, here’s the video. I can’t watch it, really I can’t…but you go ahead, as long as you promise not to point out my blunders. Like neglecting to mention the vanilla bean paste in the frosting or putting my words in the wrong order. I did manage to not cuss like a sailor, so there’s that… And how cute is Lisa Holbrook? She’s a fun TV host and jumped right in frosting cupcakes with me, even sticking her finger in the frosting for a taste.
Wanna give these cupcakes a try? Here’s a link to the recipe from KCTV5. Tomorrow I’ll share another fun way to use these recipes. Check back, it’s a good one!
Saturday, March, 16, 2013
I’ve got several fun, new classes coming up in the Kansas City area and wanted to share them with you.
You can get the latest on all of my classes here. If you haven’t been to a class with me, here’s what to expect: a high energy, info-packed culinary class with sampling of every dish created, complete recipes to take home, along with resources. You’ll leave knowing how to make each dish shown, where to buy the ingredients shown and why the ingredients used are good for you and your family. Oh, and its’ unlikely you’ll leave hungry.
On April 1st, I’m teaching a Fabulous Flexitarian Meals class with Katie Newell of Healthnut Foodie. We’ll show you how to create four entrees that can be meatless or include meat so every member of your family can eat the same dish with easy modifications. Class is $55 and includes sampling all of the entrees, recipes and resources from both Johnna and Katie.
On April 7th, my innovative 21-day Healthy Eating program begins. This isn’t a cleanse, it’s not a detox, it’s 21 days packed full of healthy food geared at helping you eat more nutrient dense food that tastes amazing. The program includes 4 sessions with me, plus bonus guests Sarah Kucera, Mendy Shriver and Mandy Froehlich. You will get a weekly menu plan with complete recipes and a detailed shopping list plus all the support you need for the entire 21 days. This program is limited to TEN attendees in the KC area and three spots are already taken. Sign up soon for this one. (If you are not in the KC area, don’t fret. This entire program will be available as a e-book soon.)
On April 16th, I’m teaching a Gluten-Free Breads class at A Thyme for Everything in Lee’s Summit, MO. We’ll be making a grain-free bread, biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls. Join me for this class, it’s going to be a delicious evening!
On May 6th, join me for my Krazy for Kale class. We’ll be making smoothies, juices, chips, kale artichoke dip and even talk about how to grow kale. I’m even sending you home with a kale plant in addition to all of the recipes.
All of the details are here. See you in a class soon!
Thursday, March, 14, 2013
Happy Pi Day! I love when a food holiday rolls around, giving me an excuse to concoct something that tickles the tastebuds. Today’s excuse: pie. I would like 3.14159269359 slices of this one! It’s got a nice hint of mint and plenty of chocolate flavor thanks to cacao nibs in both the filling and the crust.
Often I use soaked cashews or almonds in making raw/living foods pie. Today I’ve used macadamias. Beyond the amazing flavor of macadamias, they don’t require soaking. This works great for me because I often neglect to plan ahead and find myself ready to make pie but didn’t put nuts in to soak eight hours earlier. Macadamias to the rescue!
Pie for Pi Day, Mint Chocolate Chip Pie (raw, vegan, gluten-free, indulgent)
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 T. cacao nibs
For the pie filling
- 3 avocados
- 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw honey (use agave or maple syrup to vegan)
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves or 1/2 t. mint extract, extra leaves for garnish
- Set a 9" pie pan nearby
- Combine macadamias, dates and cacao nibs in bowl of food processor. Process until the mixture is well combined and the nuts are a fine texture.
- Press into pie pan and place in refrigerator while making filling.
For the pie filling:
- Combine all ingredients EXCEPT CACAO NIBS in bowl of food processor or in high speed blender. Process until smooth.
- Stir in cacao nibs by hand.
- Pour over pie crust and chill for at least 3 hours before slicing.
- This pie should be refrigerated. I like it topped with a generous dollop of coconut whipped cream and a mint leaf for garnish
Are you celebrating Pi day? Wanna join me for a slice?
Wednesday, March, 13, 2013
Creamy, minty and packed full of healthy goodness…just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!
I know many of you look forward to the green shake you can get from a drive-thru window this time of year. I used to like it, too. Honestly, I kinda miss it and I sometimes wish I could grab something quick while on the go. I’ve come up with a version that’s more in line with how I eat now. While not available at a drive-thru anywhere near me, it’s very quick and easy to make. It’s dairy-free and only six ingredients. I hope it brings you lots of luck!
Luck of the Irish Shake, Shamrock Inspired
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 Avocado
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ cup ice cubes (or more, add to desired consistency)
- ½ t. peppermint extract or 1 T. fresh mint leaves
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This makes a very thick shake. If you would like a thinner consistency, add more ice cubes just a few at a time.
Monday, March, 04, 2013
I love browsing at the grocery store. I know, I know, it’s weird. I hear people say often they dread grocery shopping. I actually look forward to going to the store alone, pushing my cart around, checking out all of the things I’ve never tried, seeing what produce looks great, what’s on sale. It’s my happy place, a store packed full of food with so many possibilities, so much goodness just waiting to be created in those aisles!
While at Nature’s Pantry recently, I spotted date syrup from The Date Lady. I’m a big fan of anything made with dates so of course I bought it. While waiting in the check-out line, I noticed it was made just down the road a few hours in Springfield, Missouri! I’m excited about a local product that’s full of all sorts of goodness and contains none of the not-so-goodness. I’m even more excited to share it with you!
So what’s one do with date syrup? Well, about a million things. My favorite is as a topping for waffles, it’s better than any syrup I’ve ever had. And The Date Lady caramel sauce is the most decadent ice cream topping I’ve ever had. If you told me there was a way to make caramel sauce dairy-free and more flavorful than the “regular” sauce, I would not have believed you. Then I tried The Date Lady’s caramel sauce. Unbelievably rich, yet it contains no ingredients that I worry about eating. Just good stuff here, folks.
Surely it’s no surprise I decided to bake with the date syrup, to use that amazing caramel sauce in a dessert. AND thanks to the kind folks at The Date Lady, you can enter my giveaway so you can bake these at home! Or top your waffles or ice cream or eat it on a spoon from the jar. Yep, I did that. You’ll find the entry information at the bottom of the post. The winner will receive a jar each of the date syrup AND the caramel sauce!
I baked up chocolate cupcakes, except they are just dense enough to be a muffin, a really sweet muffin. Cupcake + muffin = cuppin. Then I frosted them with a classic American buttercream with a hint of caramel. These are definitely more cupcake than muffin when frosted, but unfrosted you might be able to pass it off as a muffin. These are great either way!
- 1 cup of Johnna’s Gluten-free flour blend
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder (don't skimp on this, buy a good one like Askinosie.)
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. fine sea salt
- 1 t. guar gum
- 1 jar Date Lady date syrup
- 2 T. flax meal, added to 6 T. hot water to make a slurry (this is an egg replacement)
- 1 container, 6 oz., So Delicious Greek Style Vanilla cultured coconut milk or other non-dairy yogurt
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 2 T. vanilla (I know it sounds like a lot, trust me on this one)
- 2 t. instant coffee (I use the Trader Joe's variety)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners for 18 cupcakes.
- In bowl of stand mixer, mix the Date Lady date syrup, flax meal slurry, So Delicious cultured coconut milk (the yogurt-y stuff), non-dairy milk, grapeseed oil, vanilla extract and instant coffee. Mix just until well combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour blend, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and guar gum.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer bowl. Mix on low until combined. Repeat two more times, incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet. There's no need to over-mix, just mix until it's combined.
- Fill each well of the muffin tins with a scant 1/3 cup of batter. Place in oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees. Close the door. Turn the temperature down to 325 degrees. Bake for 20-22 minutes. A cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when they are done. (The temperature instructions will result in a slightly better dome on top of the cupcake. If you like a very flat or concave cupcake top, bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.)
Caramel Buttercream Frosting with The Date Lady Caramel Sauce
- 3 sticks Earth Balance non-dairy butter substitute
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup Date Lady caramel sauce
- In bowl of stand mixer, cream Earth Balance until fluffy.
- One cup at a time, add in sifted powdered sugar. Mix until each cup is incorporated before adding another.
- Once the sugar is well combined with the Earth Balance, add the Caramel Sauce. Turn mixer onto high and let it mix for about 5 minutes. Frosting will be fluffy.
- Top cupcakes using your preferred method. I use a piping bag and large tip, but this frosting works just as well with the traditional knife frosting technique.
You can win goodies from The Date Lady! Make your own Chocolate Cuppins with Caramel Buttercream Frosting! The Date Lady will send the winner one jar each of her delectable date syrup and the decadent caramel sauce. Just enter below, lots of ways to earn more entries and increase your chances of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The Date Lady provided date syrup and caramel sauce for use in developing the above recipe. The opinions expressed are my own.
Monday, February, 25, 2013
These cookies, OH MY GOODNESS!
I am over-the-moon crazy about these cookies and I’m pretty darned sure you will be, too. I should mention all of the good stuff about them, like they are almost free of refined sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, grain-free, packed with superfoods (at least five by my count), vegan with a simple swap…
But what I really want to tell you is that these cookies are SO very good. Like favorite-cookie-ever kind of good. Not kidding! And they are pretty close to the famous Scout cookie sold by Watercourse in Denver. I’ve mentioned those divine Scout cookies a few times here on my blog.
I’ve named these cookies Recon Cookies because I feel like I’ve been on a few reconnaissance trips to the bakery, always asking, “What’s in these?” I was convinced there was some super secret ingredient and perhaps there is in the original. I’m still convinced there’s something exceptional about the original version that mine will never completely embrace, perhaps it’s the altitude in Denver. Every time I go to/thru/near Denver, I buy those cookies. I’ve begged friends in Colorado to ship them to me. I’ve bought them myself at least five times in hopes of getting them home and having a good look at them to try to figure them out on my own, but I never quite make it home with them. I’ve told myself repeatedly it is a good thing they are only available 600 miles away from home.
Until now. I’ve come up with a pretty good fill-in for the 363 days of the year when I’m not in Denver to buy my favorite cookies from one of my very favorite restaurants. The texture isn’t quite as coarse as the originals but they are still a very soft, almost cake-like, cookie in the center, slightly crunchy on the edges. I’ve got the key ingredients covered (sweet potato, walnut and coconut) but really have no idea what other ingredients are used in the original. I was going for flavor here and nailed it. I think I did pretty good on the appearance, too. The original from Watercourse is on the left, my version on the right:
Have I sold you on these yet? I hope so! They remind me a bit of a Girl Scout cookie, but yet aren’t anything like those cookies in a box. These are the size of my palm, chocolate-y, a hint of caramel, cake-y but still crunchy. There’s really nothing like them unless you visit Watercourse. Make these and then swoon, would ya?
Big thanks to Peace by Pastries for her version of the Scout cookie. It gave me a really terrific starting point for my version!
Recon Cookies (or Almost-Scout Cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sweet potato (uncooked, unpeeled if organic is fine)
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I use Let's Do Organic)
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid or liquified is fine
- 1/2 cup honey (substitute with agave nectar to make vegan)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 T. flax meal in 3 T. hot water (Flax slurry, egg replacement)
- 1 T. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 6 oz. dark chocolate (non-dairy and you can use chocolate that is dark enough to have no refined sugar added)
- 1 t. coconut oil (to be added to chocolate)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grate the sweet potato using either a box grater or food processor. I grated mine using the larger of the narrow sides on a box grater. This is the second smallest option. Place in large mixing bowl.
- Add remaining dry ingredients.
- Mix in remaining ingredients (except for chocolate and remaining 1 t. coconut oil) either by hand or with a wooden spoon. I prefer to get my hands in it to incorporate all of the ingredients completely. The warmth of your hands will also melt the coconut oil if you used it in its solid form.
- Once well combined, use a biscuit or round cutter to shape into 3" patties, well compacted. Turn out onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. You will have 9 or 10 patties.
- Pat down just a bit with your hand to make a rounded top.
- Bake for 27-30 minutes. Top and edges will be slightly browned when done. Center will still be moist but not doughy.
- Move to cooling rack.
- While cooling, melt chocolate and 1 t, of coconut oil either in the microwave or in a double boiler.
- Once cookies are cool to the touch, place a sheet of parchment paper on countertop. Dip the flat bottom of each cookie in chocolate and place on the parchment. Once the bottoms are all dipped, drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.
- These freeze very well. I would like to tell you they store well in an airtight container, but we eat them all if we don't freeze them so I don't know how well they store if not frozen. Enjoy!
I am sharing these in Linda’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Click over there and check out all of the goodness, so many terrific recipes!
Friday, February, 22, 2013
TodayI’d like to share with you a quick and easy snack I eat often. Actually I eat this almost every day.
This isn’t my usual recipe-sharing kind of post, it’s more of an un-recipe at best. While I cook a lot, I also travel and work a lot so having nutritious options in a hurry is important to me. And getting superfood nutrients into my body is imperative for folks like me with nutrient absorption challenges. Well, really any of us could probably use a little help getting more goodness into our bodies, right?
This un-recipe includes a banana, one of my very favorite fruits. Bananas are technically a berry and are loaded with fructooligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic. Think of this as a fertilizer for probiotics and one which will help your body absorb calcium!
It also includes two of my favorite seeds, chia and hemp.
If you’ve been in one of my cooking classes, you’ve heard me cheer for the tiny chia seed. I love it for making pudding and add it to granola bars, fruit and nut bars, smoothies and so many other things I eat. I incorporate chia into my diet because it is rich in Omega-3s. I eat a plant-based diet, I’m careful to add plenty of Omegas. Really, we should all be concerned about Omegas, but particularly those of us who don’t get it from animal sources. I like the fiber chia provides, it keeps me full longer. Chia is also rich in antioxidants, which means I can store them for longer than other seeds, which go rancid quickly. Chia is a win-win-win seed for me!
Hemp seeds…this one always gets a giggle when I share it in cooking classes. Nope, I don’t put it in brownies and the edible variety doesn’t contain any THC, so it’s not the stoner seed. But there’s still plenty of good reason to eat it! Hemp seeds are high in Omega-3s and -6s and also pretty high in protein, 5 grams per 80 calories of seeds or so. All ten of the essential amino acids are in hemp seeds. The big highlight of hemp for me is the Omega-6 fat gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Reportedly the only edible source of GLA, hemp seeds help my body produce good anti-inflammatory hormones. For someone with an autoimmune challenge, this is important!
So here’s the scoop on this un-recipe:
1. Slice one banana
2. Dip the banana slices in chia seed and hemp seed.
3. Do a little victory dance because you’re eating like a superfood rockstar!
When buying seeds, look for raw varieties, not roasted. I also buy organic when possible.
I buy my chia and hemp seeds from Navitas. Please read labels carefully when buying seeds. I noticed recently the hulled hemp seeds from Bob’s Red Mill are no longer processed gluten-free. Products change often, so I try to remember to read labels every time I shop. It’s ok to take up space in the grocery aisle for label reading, your body will thank you for it!
Have a terrific weekend. I’ll see you on Monday with a cookie recipe that you will most definitely want to try!