December 27, 2014

Almond Auroras: The Superfood Cookie {Vegan Recipe}


Sometimes the dreary weather brings me down and I need a little pick me up.

Sure, light therapy and pharmaceuticals can help, but I prefer using nutrition to help me over the hump of the dark days of winter.

This easy recipe incorporates several superfoods to give us a quick boost.

Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine which help with proper brain function. Orange zest or peel are rich in flavonones, powerful antioxidants that help reduce oxidative damage and fight free radicals. Orange zest is nature’s sprinkles: adding color, flavor and nutrition.

Dark chocolate contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may improve brain function in the short term. Combine all of these powerful superfoods with the serotonin boost that the brain gets from having something tasty and sweet and we have a recipe for relief.

The best thing about this recipe is that they are icebox cookies, meaning you make them and store them in the freezer, to bake as needed. So you can make two cookies or two dozen. This eliminates the pressure to eat a whole batch of cookies at one time (this pressure does exist, really) and can keep us on track with our nutrition. I used my food processor to make the cookies, so it was really quick and easy.

In a food processor with chopping blade, blend until coarsely ground:

½ cup raw almonds

Place almonds in a medium bowl and whisk together with:

1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest

In a small bowl, mix together one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water. This is the egg replacement.

In a food processor with the dough blade, cream together:

½ cup vegan butter
½ cup sucanat

This took about three pulses and then 15 seconds on low, scraping the sides and processing for another 15 seconds on low.

Add the flax/water mixture and process for another 10 seconds on low. Scrape down the sides. Add half of the flour/almond mixture. Pulse for three times and then process on low for 15 seconds, scrape down the sides. Finally add the last of the flour mixture processing for another 15 seconds on low. The dough will come together and start spinning in a large ball in the processor bowl.

Divide dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form into two logs. The size of your log will be how big the finished cookies are. My logs were about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate or freeze the dough for baking later. If baking the same day, refrigerate for at least two hours before slicing and baking.

To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the logs into 1/8th inch rounds. I like to slice on the bias, which gives an almond shaped cookie, but you can just cut straight across to have a medallion shape. Place sliced cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. I like the cookies crunchy, so I bake for about 17 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cookies cool before garnishing.

To garnish the cookies, melt desired amount of semi-sweet dark chocolate chips, I used about one cup for all of the dough. I melt the chocolate by placing the chips in a sealed pastry bag and putting that in some hot water. Once the chips are melted, I snip off the end of the pastry bag and drizzle the chocolate onto the cookies. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, then drizzle with a fork. Top with additional orange zest, about four tablespoons for all of the dough.

This recipe yields four dozen small cookies.

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Author: Bria Luu

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Provided by author


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