coconut sugar

carob walnut chip cookies (gluten-free, vegan)

22nd November 2019

These cookies have crunchy edges with a soft centre, a rich buttery flavour with studs of walnuts, oats and carob chips.  It’s surprising how delicious they are!

Chocolate contains theobromine – a stimulant. Like all stimulants, it is unsupportive for yogic practices that require focus of the mind. Carob is an excellent replacement for chocolate and has hardly a trace amount of theobromine. I have made them with both chocolate and carob, and prefer the softness of the carob.

carob walnut chip cookies

Preparation – 25 minutes

Baking – 12 – 15 minutes

Makes 12 medium or 8 large cookies.

Recipe slightly altered from Healthier Together by Liz Moody.

ingredients

1 flax egg (2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup/120g homemade almond butter

¼ cup/25g almond flour

¼ tsp fine-grain rock salt

½ cup/65g coconut sugar

½ tsp baking soda

¼ cup/25g chopped walnuts

¼ cup/25g rolled oats (gluten-free)

¼ cup/35g unsweetened carob chips or chopped carob bar

preparation

1.   Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.   Mix together the ground flaxseed and water in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to thicken.

3.  Add to the flaxseed, vanilla and almond butter – mix together with a spoon until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, coconut sugar, baking soda, walnuts, oats and carob chips.

5.  Add to the flax-almond mixture, mix, working the dough a bit to get everything distributed evenly (the dough may seem a bit dry and thick – keep mixing.)

6.  Scoop heaped teaspoon full into your hand and squeeze into balls. Place on the baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch between them, and slightly press down with your fingers.

7.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through until the edges turn golden. Remove from oven and let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven, or later that same day. 

Note:  For freshly baked cookies anytime, refrigerate some of the dough for later.

Variation: Replace the carob with small currants or chopped raisins which have been soaked in water for 10 minutes.

Andreia’s coconut cookies (vegan)

16th December 2017

These delicious cookies have shreds of crunchy coconut on the outside and a soft, silky, cakey interior. They started from a cookie which Andreia from Soul Food Vegan baked for us when she was preparing lunches for the Jivana Week. I adapted them slightly inspired by a coconut cookie recipe in Kim Boyce -‘Good to the Grain’.

coconut cookies

Makes 28 – 30 cookies.

I tried these with different whole flours which made a heavier cookie, the all-purpose flour creates a light and silky interior which is preferable.

dry ingredients

3 cups/240g shredded dried unsweetened coconut – divided

1 cup/120g all-purpose flour

1 cup/170g coconut sugar

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp baking powder

wet ingredients

⅓ cup coconut oil – melted 

½ cup/125ml almond/coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

finish

1 cup/80g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

preparation

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside.

2.  Grind half the coconut in a food processor or blender for 30 seconds until it resembles fine flour.

3.  Pour into a medium bowl and add the remaining 1½ cups coconut, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine and set aside.

4.  Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and measure out a ⅓ cup. Add into a small jug or bowl along with the almond milk, vanilla essence and vinegar. Whisk to combine.

5.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and combine well until all incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes before moulding for easier handling and a firmer mounded dome shape.

6.  Scoop balls of dough, a tablespoon in size (approx 20g) and form into a round ball by rolling in the palms of your hand, as you dip one side into the coconut, flatten slightly. Gently lift out of the coconut and place them on the prepared baking trays, coconut side up, leaving about 2 inches between them.

7.  Bake for 16 – 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through until the coconut crust is golden and the bottom of the cookies are evenly brown.

8.  Place the second tray into the oven and bake the next round. Allow to cool completely. When freshly baked these cookies have a delicious outside crunch which softens up the longer they sit. Delicious eaten the same day, otherwise, place in an airtight container.

tofu with five spices, coconut sugar & baby basil

9th July 2009

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As a Christmas present, Ben and I were given a beautiful Taiwanese cookbook from Ben’s sister, Sarah and her husband, Phil.  The book is a collection of recipes by Jade & Muriel Chen, a mother and daughter team from Blue Eye Dragon, a Taiwanese restaurant in Pyrmont, Sydney.  Sarah and Phil took us there when we were visiting, as the daughter is a friend of Sarah’s.  Before that time, I can’t recall experiencing Taiwanese dishes, and this dinner was one of those memorable food moments.  Who would believe something as simple and bland as choy sum could taste so good? Very fresh, simple flavours and delicious.  As you can imagine, I was very thrilled to receive their cookbook when it was published last year.

It is a beautifully presented book with clearly set-out recipes that are easy to follow.  Ingredients that may be unfamiliar are explained fully in the glossary with reasons for their use.  I have tried about 6 of their recipes and my favourite would have to be the salt and pepper mixture with five spice.  The original recipe the following dish was inspired from was ‘Crispy Chicken with Basil and Five Spice.’  I discovered the coconut sugar in my last health food shop and was keen to experiment with it.  A very successful purchase and it will be making regular appearances in future posts.  Of course, you can replace it with cane sugar if you prefer.

five spice tofu with coconut sugar & baby basil

Sweet potato flour, also known as tapioca flour gives a crispier texture to fried foods.  (A very useful tip from the book).  It is available from large supermarkets, Indian/Asian speciality stores.  Coconut sugar is produced from coconut palm blossoms by kettle boiling to crystallise the sugar content.  It is organic, unfiltered, unbleached and preservative free.  It has a crisp, fine texture, caramel in colour and toffee-like in taste and is available from health food stores.

ingredients 

about 3 tsp salt and pepper, five spice mixture (See recipe below)

1 x 300g block tofu, cut into cubes

2 Tbsp sweet potato flour (tapioca flour)

peanut oil

coconut sugar (white sugar was in original recipe)

a handful of baby basil leaves

preparation 

1.  For the Salt and Pepper Mixture, combine 4 tab salt, 2 tab coconut sugar and 1 tab ground white pepper in a spice grinder and blend well. (Leftover can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months)

These were the original quantities from the book, however, I only ever make half the mixture.  White sugar was used in their recipe.

2.  Combine 3 tsp of the salt and pepper mixture to ½ tsp five-spice powder. Add a good pinch of potato flour.

3.  Toss the tofu in this mixture and let stand for a few minutes.

4.  Heat the oil in a wok. While heating, toss the tofu pieces in potato flour and let rest for a minute before frying.

5.  Fry tofu pieces in batches until brown and crisp.  Drain on paper towelling.

6.  Toss in a bowl with coconut sugar, baby basil leaves and extra salt and pepper mixture to taste.

Serve with soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free) as a side or rice and steamed greens with a sesame dressing.

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