Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodle-2

I can’t believe it’s the holiday season! This year has been such a whirlwind and full of change, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already almost over. Regardless, I love the holiday season and am happily embracing it. I’m even going home to Michigan for Christmas this year…the first time in five years!

Anyway, since it is the time of year for goodies, I thought I’d try my hand at grain-free snickerdoodles. These did not disappoint and could not be any easier to make. The texture is soft and pillowy with a light crust on the edges. The flavor is slightly sweet, tangy and of course, cinnamon-y. The cream of tartar is actually what gives the cookie its signature tang and reacts with the baking soda to create the crackled appearance. The cream of tartar also accounts for the perfect chewiness.

When first researching snickerdoodle recipes, I was actually kinda thrown off by the cream of tartar. I had to do a little more digging, but soon understood that from a snickerdoodle purist standpoint, it’s a must. Traditionally, it was always used to make snickerdoodles and without it, it’d just be a crunchy cinnamon sugar cookie (it keeps sugar from crystalizing!). It truly is the age-old snickerdoodle secret and enough for me to want to include it in the recipe.

Another thing about a classic snickerdoodle recipe — there is no vanilla extract. This is actually quite rare for a cookie recipe, but from what I learned, vanilla mellows out the tangy flavor from the cream of tartar. Who knew? So, in an effort to keep the cookie more classic, I also opted for no vanilla. And, truthfully, I didn’t miss it.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live in November and made my herbed turkey potato stew. Watch the segment HERE. Stay tuned because I’ll also be going back on December 16 to make my no-bake rum balls!

snickerdoodle-bite

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp non-irradiated cream of tartar (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted softened butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, plus another 3 Tbsp for rolling
  • 1 large egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use a non-slip baking mat like this one. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together the softened butter and 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar. Once light and fluffy, beat in the egg. Then, slowly add the dry mixture until combined.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar.
  5. Scoop out 1 Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form a ball. Then, roll the ball in coconut sugar and cinnamon to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten dough with palm of your hand.
  6. Bake in the prepared oven for 8-9 minutes or just until edges are barely brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields: 20 small cookies

St. Patrick’s Day Recap

My St. Patty's Day meal.
My St. Patty’s Day meal.

Monday, already? It always comes so quickly, doesn’t it? Well, anyway, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and St. Patrick’s Day. Did you do or make anything special to celebrate? I made corned beef with carrots, onion and cabbage, which tasted delicious. I probably hadn’t eaten corned beef since I was between the ages of 12-15. I cheated a little and bought 2 lbs worth of fresh, local corned beef at Whole Foods. It was pre-brined and had spices rubbed all over it, and just needed to be cooked. I threw it in the Crock Pot with carrots, yellow onion, green cabbage and bone broth, and let it cook for about 4.5 hours. It was perfect and much better than the corned beef I recall eating as a kid. The beef was more brown than pink after cooking, because it didn’t contain any nitrates, but it did have beet powder in the brine, which allowed for a tiny bit of pink. I served it up for us in bowls, to allow for ladel-fuls of savory broth. Specifically, here’s what I did for the recipe:

Corned beef and cabbage

  • 2 lb pre-brined fresh corned beef, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 6-8 medium carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (I used orange and multicolored carrots)
  • 1 head of cabbage, quartered
  • 4 cups bone broth
  1. Place corned beef in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with carrots, onion and finally cabbage. Pour broth over everything, making sure the meat is covered by about 1-inch.
  2. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on high for about 4.5 hours.
  3. Slice meat against the grain to serve. Top with veggies and lots of broth. Watch out for loose peppercorns from the rub!

For a St. Patty’s Day treat, I whipped up the egg version of Against All Grain’s, cinnamon ‘oat’meal raisin cookies. Holy moly, these really do turn green too, especially as they sit and cool. The reaction of sunflower seed butter and baking soda causes the green to occur, in case you’re wondering. Mine turned just as green as Danielle’s (blogger of Against All Grain) did in her pictures! They almost look mossy and even look slightly blue, which may be in part from the raisins. Because of their mossy appearance, they’re definitely a Portland-appropriate cookie! We have a lot of moss here, because of rain and being in a valley.

Speaking of this recipe, I had to chuckle when I read some of the comments. One of the readers, who clearly doesn’t pay attention or read Against All Grain’s posts very often, asked how much oats are needed for the recipe because it wasn’t mentioned in the ingredients. I loved Danielle’s response, telling her that it is a grain-free site and there are no oats in the recipe! The unsweetened coconut is meant to emulate the oats. Some people are so oblivious, yet I find it entertaining…sometimes.

Danielle's pictures were so pretty, that I decided to borrow one. Mine wouldn't do the cookies as much justice! (Photo credit: Againstallgrain.com)
(Photo credit: Againstallgrain.com)

So, that was my St. Patrick’s Day. The rest of my weekend included (kind of) studying for finals, working on a final project, working at the gym, laundry and errands.

Michigan Highlights: Part 2

It’s weird, I’ve only been back in PDX (Portland) a couple of days, but my trip back home to Michigan already seems like so long ago. Time really does fly by at an unbelievable pace, doesn’t it? Anyway, as promised here are some more highlights from my time spent back home (note — to get the recipes in the appropriate pictures, just click on the image):

Salmon cakes, cucumber and sautéed kale
One night, my family decided to order pizza for dinner. My mom had some canned salmon in the cupboard, so I took it upon myself to make Balanced Bites’s salmon cakes since I don’t eat pizza. I couldn’t find any fresh chives at the grocery store, so I subbed dried dill instead. These salmon cakes turned out fantastic and I enjoyed them on top of sautéed kale with a side of sliced cucumbers.
Another pic of Jesse hula hooping at my parent's surprise anniversary party.
Another pic of Jesse hula hooping at my parent’s surprise (early) 35th anniversary party. Isn’t he so handsome?
Homemade grain-free zucchini bread
Homemade grain-free zucchini bread, recipe courtesy of The Primal Home. After reading the reviews, I decided to use one less egg than the recipe called for. I also used organic butter instead of coconut oil because I didn’t have any coconut oil at my parent’s house. Total baking time ended up being about 50-55 minutes rather than 40. This bread turned out fantastic and SO moist. I will be making it again soon!
Zucchini bread slices
Zucchini bread slices with organic butter spread on top. So.Damn.Good.
Mom and dad cutting the cake at their anniversary party. The peach color of the cake was reminiscent of one of their wedding colors.
Mom and dad cutting the cake at their anniversary party. The peach color of the cake was reminiscent of one of their main wedding colors.
Dinner with my parents one night at home
Dinner with my parents one night at home: grilled turkey burgers and chicken drumsticks, grilled sweet onions (in the foil), steamed broccoli and carrots (in the pot on left), fresh pineapple and Michigan blueberries.
Walking Gracie, my family's 9-year old beagle
Walking Gracie, my family’s 9-year old beagle. (Taken on iPhone)
Gorgeous red tomatoes at the farmer's market.
Gorgeous red tomatoes from an Amish farm at the Alpena farmer’s market. (Taken on iPhone)
More goods at the farmer's market
More goods at the farmer’s market. (Taken on iPhone)
Lunchtime treat: fresh peach slices with coconut butter drizzled on top.
Lunchtime treat: fresh peach slices with coconut butter drizzled on top. I’m so glad I packed some of my own coconut butter for reasons such as this.
Coconut flour popovers
First time ever making popovers. These suckers deflate fast and I guess I’ve never had a popover because I was shocked when I took off the wrapper to find it hollow inside. It’s basically just a muffin top. These were made with coconut flour and I used water in place of the coconut milk because I didn’t have any. Mine didn’t get as brown as they did in the recipe (courtesy of Comfy Belly), but they were still tasty. They tasted very egg-y and went well with the vegetable grass-fed beef soup my mom made. (Taken on iPhone)
One of the many times Jesse and his brother, Nick, fell off the tube
One of the many times Jesse fell off of the tube. This is after his brother, Nick, already fell off.
I made a batch of coconut flour cookies (half with dark chocolate chips, half without since I can't have any) on the day of our departure.
I made a batch of coconut flour cookies, courtesy of Chocolate & Carrots (half with dark chocolate chips, half without since I can’t have any) on the day of our departure. They came in handy during our 4-hour car ride and flight back to PDX. Jesse ate up all the chocolate ones throughout the day. I still had several of the plain ones leftover when we got back. They’re extra delicious with coconut or sunflower butter spread on top! Note, I used water in place of almond milk because I didn’t have any made at my parent’s house. I also used organic butter in place of the coconut oil since I didn’t have any. This is why my cookies came out more yellow looking. Oh, I used 1/3 cup of honey instead of 1/2 cup of sugar too. These were soft, tasty and very moist.
A little chipmunk-like critter (but not a chipmunk) in my parent's backyard.
A little chipmunk-like critter (but not a chipmunk) in my parent’s backyard.
Boys will be boys -- Jesse and his brother, Nick, wrestling on the boat
Boys will be boys — Jesse and his brother, Nick, wrestling on the boat. (Taken on iPhone)

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches

Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I ate an ice cream sandwich, let alone a Paleo one. Somehow the seed to make some got planted in my head the other day after I baked a batch of almond banana cookies. So, with Jesse out teaching for the evening, I decided tonight was the night to create these goodies. Not only that, it sounded like a relaxing project after a chaotic day.

It’s actually been a chaotic week, not just day. I’m adjusting to a new schedule, which now includes a weight training class from 1-1:50, Monday-Thursday at PCC (it’s part of the fitness technology program that I’m starting full-time this fall). The thing is, I have to take the bus there which takes 45-60 minutes each way due to the distance and all the stops. It’s been trickier managing my time because of this class and the commute, which essentially blocks my availability from 11:45 – 3:15 or so. It’d be easier if the commute wasn’t two hours or more out of my day. Anyway, I’ll get things nailed down eventually and after all, it’s only day two. Today was just crazy though and basically nonstop until about 4 p.m. It began with yoga at Root Whole Body from 6-7:30 a.m., riding home & changing quickly, riding up to Cultured Caveman to make treats for two hours, riding home & stopping at Whole Foods along the way, eating a late breakfast, catching the bus to class, working out in class, catching the bus home, and then catching the light rail and walking the rest of the way home (little did I know, I got on a downtown bus only … oops). Then after getting home and shoveling some food in my mouth, I tried to get some writing and research done for NightWave, the holistic sleep aid company I freelance for. Whew, what a blur. Hopefully I will sleep like a baby tonight.

Alright, pardon my rant. On with the ice cream sandwiches!

So, to go with the cookies, I made a batch of vanilla banana ice cream. I threw in one can plus one 8.5 oz box of coconut milk (love these little boxes), 1 ripe mashed banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract, several drizzles of honey (probably 1/2 – 1 Tbsp) and a dash of sea salt. I let the ice cream maker run for about 25 minutes or so. Then I dumped the ice cream into a bowl and while it was still nice and soft, spread some on top of the cookies. Then I placed another cookie on top of each to make sandwiches. Easy as 1 – 2 – 3! As you can probably guess, I put the sandwiches in the freezer after assembling. I found it helpful to wait a little bit before eating one, so that the ice cream wouldn’t squish out completely with the first bite.

Ice cream sandwich bite

Almond Banana Cookies

Ah, a relaxing Sunday afternoon of baking. It felt good to get a little project going and not only that, it produced a tasty batch of cookies. I wish I could share smells with you all because these smelled so wonderful while baking, but hopefully you can imagine it or recreate the recipe for yourself and gather your own smells.

These cookies are soft and nutty with a slight sweetness from ripe banana. The best part is that they’re healthy, grain-free (of course), quick and there’s no added sugar. Inspired by Everyday Paleo once again, I made a slight twist on her nutty cookies recipe, and cut it in half. (Seriously if you don’t have the Everyday Paleo cookbook, get it or see if it’s available at your local library!). I bet kids would love these cookies and there’s truly no shame in letting them indulge in these anytime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 5 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 C unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 C plus 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash banana in large bowl with a fork. Add coconut flour, baking soda and almond butter; mix thoroughly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 25 minutes.

Yields: 12 cookies

Cookie bite