Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Accidental Vegan, Gluten Free with Cacao Nibs Oatmeal Cookie



I was recently asked to make oatmeal cookies for an upcoming camping trip. While I love to cook, I wasn't excited to get going on this project as I am not a baker.  (My older sister has the corner on that one).  I'm also not an oatmeal cookie buff.  Now if I had been asked to make chocolate chip cookies, I may have gotten a little  more excited. Nevertheless, I still wanted to accommodate the request and I set out to search for a gluten free recipe, sweetened as naturally as possible.  I ended up taking three recipes and choosing a little from each and came up with a pretty tasty cookie, if I do say so myself!  It was kind of a science experiment, which is always what makes cooking fun.  It's a tasty, chewy, not too sweet little cookie that leaves you feeling satisfied and happy.  I may be an oatmeal cookie buff after all.  

I have posted this recipe with both vegan and vegetarian ingredients and equivalents.  I do prefer using butter and the eggs but the vegan version is wonderful as well!
Here's how it goes....

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup pecan halves (toasting is optional-it adds a nice flavor)
2 cups gluten free-rolled oats, divided
3/4 cups buckwheat flour or any gluten free flour
1/2 cup Sucanat* or unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (I don't like a whole lot of cinnamon but some people do)
1 tsp Real Salt
1 Large egg beaten or 1 tsp ground Chi seeds or 2 tsp. ground flaxseed + 2 Tablespoons water
1/3 cup organic honey or rice syrup
15 drops liquid stevia
4 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Heaping 1/3 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)
2 Tablespoons Cacao nibs*

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Put pecans along with 1 cup of oats in food processor and process until coarsely chopped with some fine powder showing. Be sure not to over process or the oils in the nuts will release.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the above mixture with the next 5 ingredients and the remaining 1 cup of oats.  Put aside.
  4. In small bowl, coat the chopped dates in 1 tsp flour and toss until coated. (This prevents the dates from sticking together)
  5. In a large bowl, mix together your version of the egg along with the syrup, butter or coconut oil, and vanilla extract.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in cranberries or cherries, nibs and dates.  
  6. Take about 2 Tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball, and then press down on it with your hand or a spoon to flatten.  Space the cookies a couple inches apart.
Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pan and bake for another 5 minutes until the cookies are golden. Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing cookies onto a cooling rack.

Sucanat: is dehydrated pure cane sugar.  It is a golden brown in color and maintains its molasses flavor and minerals.  It has less sweetening power than refined white sugar and a lower glycemic index.

Cacao Nibs: chocolate in its purest form yielding all of its antioxidant benefits. They are the cacao beans that have been roasted but not processed with alkali and are probably the best dietary source of magnesium, which is a wonderful little mineral that naturally relaxes us.  The cacao bean is also a great source of tryptophan which helps with moods. No wonder you crave chocolate when you're PMSing.





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