Monday, May 2, 2011

Maple Almond Butter Cookies

This was a recipe I wasn't completely sold on.  Sure, I was intrigued by the idea, something like a peanut butter cookie but made with almond butter (not to be confused with a "butter cookie" with almonds...although now that I mention it, that sounds interesting too, I now have visions of little Dutch windmill cookies dancing through my head). 

The vegan batter tasted pretty good (no raw eggs to contend with so the dough was fair game!) and I don't think I could make a much healthier cookie if I tried.  But when they came out of the oven, I was disappointed.  They just weren't as good as I was hoping and I figured that it would just go in the "misses" pile. 

That was last night. 

This morning, I thought I should give them one last try.  Wow.  The cookies were soft, nutty and just slightly maple-y sweet.  I had to make myself stop after one knowing I'd already eaten breakfast (although these are so healthy, they could actually pass as a "breakfast cookie").  I'm starting to think of new variations I could play around with--adding some chopped dates or orange zest, dried cranberries or some cinnamon, substituting honey (not vegan) or agave for the maple syrup...there's a lot of potential in these power-packed bites!

Maple Almond Butter Cookies
makes 18-20 cookies
1/2 cup creamy natural style almond butter (could also try it with peanut butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used the oil on the top of the jar of the almond butter that I couldn't stir back in and that worked well!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or just just double the amount of one or the other)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you could try white flour, it would just be less nutritious or regular whole wheat flour for an even more rustic cookie)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used some "Almond Accents" brand sliced toasted almonds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium mixing bowl, stir together almond butter, syrup, oil and extracts.  In a separate bowl (or let's be honest, I hate to make extra dirty dishes so I just threw the dry ingredients on top of the wet and mixed them together carefully before stirring the whole mess together--there's a reason why I can be a bit hit and miss in my baking), stir together dry ingredients and then stir into almond butter mixture, stirring just until combined.  Roll heaping teaspoons into balls, place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until firm on the edges, but still soft.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Taste even better the next day! 

Recipe source: Sweet+Natural

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