I am not a Monday person (who is though?!) The start of the working week never holds much joy or motivation for me. In an effort to change this, now I am at temporary stay-at-home mom and days of the week mean nothing to a child; we have Baking Mondays. I have surprised myself with the consistency that has been achieved in the recipes we have also repeated. I confess, I am a “serial tweaker” responsible for augmenting/botching even my favourite baking recipes with what is to hand. Not so now..
The focus has been on baking something simple, with few ingredients, simple recipes to read together and nothing in it that I wouldn’t want the toddler to be munching on straight from the bowl at clean-up time. Hence, a lot of maple syrup and wholemeal flour (low sugar and low processed ingredients) with a vegan type approach (no dangers of raw eggs in the batter).
The first such recipe, inspired by this one at Blissful Basil, has been tested and we have tried various optional extras during the three times we have made these cookies. The ratios hold up well to any mishaps, so foolproof for a less than exact baker and their impatient junior baker. It is also healthy and time friendly. I have left half the batter in the bowl for an hour in the warm kitchen and they have baked up fine. I have put the batter in the fridge for slightly harder dough, put more than a tablespoon and less for each cookie and I (today) mistakenly put a bit more than a quarter cup of almond milk in, making it a wetter dough. All had no apparent effect to the overall consistency of the delicious cookies that are produced. Our appreciative, hard-working 9-5 tasters are eager that we keep baking them!
Below is the recipe as we made it today.
Nut butters of all kinds are a super source of protein, healthy saturated fats and trace minerals like selenium, copper and zinc, which are all important for blood sugar balance and healthy immunity. Nuts like almond are also a source of dairy free calcium, so extra bonus. Personally, I find that nut butters also have more of a flavour and aroma. Cashew butter is buttery and rich and pairs well with cinnamon, almond butter has a lovely smoothness to it and hazelnut has an obvious nutty flavour which loves chocolate (of course that’s how Nutella was born). What about peanuts you may ask?! Personally, I have eschewed peanuts given years of Candida issues (peanuts can be implicated in encouraging yeast overgrowth. Since going off them, if I try them again, I feel the effects).
We also love adding the chia almond butter because really, chia are brilliant little dynamites of nutrients. Also, apart from in baking and over porridge, I have never been able to get on with them (chia pudding–I want to love you, but your texture is too off-putting!) The toddler also tries to get her paws this almond butter whenever she can, so best to put it into something she can enjoy without raiding the jar and leaving a messy, chia-encrusted fingerprint trail everywhere!
Nut butter cookies
1 cup nut butter (we used a mix of Meridian cashew butter and Sowan’s almond butter with chia)
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon (to pair with the cashew butter)
1 cup wholemeal flour (bran included)
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt (plan to try Maldon salt flakes at some point to see if the added crunch adds anything)
1/4 cup almond milk (Oatly I find has the highest almond content)
handful of unroasted sesame seeds and roughly chopped cashew nuts (battered in a clean tea towel with a rolling pin)
- line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to 170 degrees Celcius
- start by creaming the nut butters and maple syrup together
- add the vanilla bean paste, baking powder and cinnamon and combine
- add your optional extras (here sesame seeds and cashew nuts, but pecans and sesame and chocolate and sesame work brilliantly too)
- slowly add the flour and salt (you can mix them together in a separate bowl, or just add straight–both works)
- add the almond milk a bit at a time to form a sticky dough that will still drop off a spoon (but as mentioned, a little extra splash of milk to a wetter dough seems to simply need a little longer in the oven with no harm done)
- drop a tablespoon of the mix at regular intervals onto the parchment
- bake top to middle of the oven, watching regularly for them to puff up.
- once they puff up and get a bit drier, use the back of a fork pressed horizontally and vertically to flatten them down. Put them back in.
- the cookies can take anything from 8-14 minutes to bake. (Note: don’t write a blog post with the last batch of these baking in the oven–they burn quicker than you think and need a watchful eye!)
- take them out either when they are just a tiny bit darker (softer cookie) or nicely brown around the edges (chewier cookie)
The finished product never lasts long and sadly doesn’t make more than about 15 cookies unless you plan to make them half a tablespoon in size–which I don’t have the heart to do. The end result is a toddler happily covered in flour, making cookies for Papa and learning to follow simple instructions like “pour slowly”. She gets to wear a borrowed dark blue apron (from granny since we are currently living here), heavily folded at the middle to shorten it up and with the apron strings wrapped about three times round her middle because of their length. And at the end, licking the spoon and clean up. All part of the magic Monday fun!