Click on the picture above to see descriptions
On the last day of winter this year, I decided to squeeze in as much last minute holiday treats as I could. I love wintertime, and I wanted to get the most out of it this year, for some reason. However, when spring came, it was fantastic, because as you can see above in the middle picture (click to enlarge), the first full day of spring was filled with 3 inches of snow–in Texas!
I go to school in Houston but visit Dallas (my home) as often as I can. For spring break I went, and the last day I was there I was running and playing in the snow like a little kid again. How I wish I took more pictures! I made two snow angels, a snow man and several hundred snowballs to throw at the window to get my preteen sister and her friends to wake up (they didn’t come out by the way–apparently they’re too cool for that).
Anyway, back to the recipes. I made quite a bit, unintentionally, and shared them with my mom–brothers and sisters are more into the processed food, promoting its taste and “quality” while never attempting to try real food. Oh well; there is only so much you can do to try to promote health and wellness in others. However, I am “The Healthy Advocate”, so I shall try more, without being too overbearing.
OK, I have strayed again, and I will stay on topic. Enter Coconut Flour Gingerbread Cookies! Sugar free, dairy free and gluten free, I might add (did I also mention they were grain free?). I have never had any luck making a recipe completely vegan when it comes to coconut flour. It seems as though the eggs are an integral part of the recipe in order to bind everything together properly. If anyone has any tips on this, please let me know.
My cookies came out thin, mainly because that was the way I wanted them. You can make them thicker by adding more batter to the cookie cutter (see recipe). Also, they are very soft, not crispy like other gingerbread cookies. I think next time I will try almond flour next winter for a crispier cookie.
The only trouble I had with the recipe was the coconut oil frosting/glaze. Sometimes a chef can’t be patient–you must be when it comes to this recipe! You must first allow the cookies to completely cool before frosting, otherwise the coconut oil will soak into the warm cookie, and won’t make that beautiful hard coating that you see in the picture below.
One more note: The nutrition information below is calculated based on the number of cookies I made. You may need to adjust the numbers when you actually make yours. The entire recipe comes out at 9 grams of digestible carbs! Which means if you ate one cookie, you would only get 0.6 grams of digestible carbohydrates, which is pretty cool (only if you are able to make 16 cookies, like I did). It also contains a whopping 1.5 grams of high quality protein, due to the eggs and coconut flour. What a nutritious and guilt free treat!
This recipe was adapted from SimplyCoconut.com. They have fantastic coconut flour recipes. I haven’t tried them all out yet, but I’m getting there.
Coconut Flour Gingerbread Cookies
Makes about 16 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.
1/4 + 1/8 cup Coconut Flour (6 TBSP total)
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 Cup Xylitol + 2 TBSP Xylitol (or favorite sugar free sweetener)
1/4 tsp. Pure Stevia Powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dairy free milk–Coconut milk might be best
3 TBSP butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
3 eggs OR 6 egg whites
Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Combine the milk, melted butter or oil and the eggs in a separate bowl. Mix until blended.
Pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
On a greased glass baking dish, place your desired cookie cutter. Pour a couple of tablespoons worth of batter in the cookie cutter and press batter into the shape. Slowly unmold the cookie so all that is left is the batter in the desired shape. Repeat with same or different cookie cutters.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Coconut Oil Frosting/Glaze
1/4 Cup – 1/2 Cup melted coconut oil
Stevia, to taste
Pour sweetened coconut oil on top of cooled cookies one TBSP at a time and spread. Cool cookies again so the glaze will harden.
Per Cookie w/o Glaze & Made w/ Whole Eggs
Fat: 4 g
Digestible Carb: 0.6 g
Fiber: 0.95 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Per Cookie w/o Glaze & Made w/ Egg Whites
Fat: 2.9 g
Digestible Carb: 0.6 g
Fiber: 0.95 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Sugar: 0.19 g (naturally occurring and bound w/ fiber in the coconut flour)
Now for the nut-butter cups. These “Reese’s” inspired chocolate covered peanut butter cup is one of my favorite, because I combine different and healthier nuts other than peanut. Peanuts can contain a toxin around them the majority of the time, and are high in inflammatory oils and fats (omega-6’s). I use a blend of organic peanut butter, walnut butter and almond butter (homemade, of course–recipe coming soon).
Homemade Reese’s can take some time, but it is SO worth it, especially when you consider the health of your body. Rather than giving your body all the sugar and inflammatory fats that are found in regular candies, you know you are giving your body the anti-aging, anti-inflammatory fats from walnuts, the anti-oxidants from pure chocolate, and the metabolism boosting qualities of coconut oil. Also, you won’t be bombarding your body with sugar.
This is my first shot at these healthy versions of nut butter cups and balls. I will be trying them again at Easter, and will revisit them again for you guys. You will need paper cupake/muffin liners, cutting the paper “walls” of the liner so that they only stand about 1/2 inches tall.
Homemade “Reese’s” Nut Butter Cups
Makes 14-16 Chocolate Covered Nut Butter Cups
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, bar
-OR- 12 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder mixed with 4 TBSP melted coconut oil
1 tsp. honey, or more depending on how sweet you want your chocolate to be
1/2 cup of your favorite nut butter (I used peanut, almond, sunflower and walnut)
-Sweeten with powdered xylitol, erythritol, honey or stevia, if desired
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Using a small paintbrush or a spoon and your fingertips (like me), spread a teaspoon and a half into a paper muffin cup. Spread around to coat the entire cup (may need more than 1 1/2 tsp.). Continue to do this until about 10-12 muffin cups are all coated. Place in freezer to firm.
Meanwhile, stir the nut butter with your sweetener, if using. Take the hardened chocolate cups out of freezer and put nut butter in each cup, making sure you fill the entire cup–but not too much; you don’t want to fill it up to the top.
Place the muffin cups in the freezer again. Melt chocolate while you wait about 5 minutes, if you need to, and then take out the muffin cups once again. Spread remaining melted chocolate over the nut butter inside the chocolate shells, and spread over to completely cover. Once done, place in freezer again
Wait until it is solid enough to unmold, and then store in freezer or refrigerator. It can melt fast at room temperature if you are using the coconut oil and cocoa powder mixture, so keep in the refrigerator.
With any remaining chocolate and nut butter, make chocolate covered nut butter balls, or make more chocolate covered nut butter cups. Or, use your imagination, be creative, and tell me what you do!
Per Chocolate Covered Nut Cup
Fat: 7 g
Protein: 4.5 g
Digestible Carb: 2.7 g
Fiber: 1.75 g
Sugar: 0.8 g (natural–with 1 tsp. honey)
Well there is the winter recipe round up. No savory dishes this season, but the upcoming ones you will see more healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas.
This has been The Healthy Advocate.