September 29, 2012

Nutty Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

This weekend at the Portland VegFest I had the pleasure of organizing the prep kitchen.  Scott & I packed up the kitchen and had two wonderful days of playing with our food.  We assisted seven vegan chefs from around the country for nine chef demos.  We learned a lot, especially about working together.  I have a lot more confidence Scott & I can work as a team whichever way this vegan cooking adventure takes us.

The first chef we got to work with was Chef Del Sroufe, author of the Forks Over Knives cookbook.  I opened it at work Wednesday and chose the first recipe I saw for my "plan review" treats, Nutty Raspberry Jam Thumbprints.  They look easy and made with the oat flour, they're gluten free. Today is just a little bit tense having the budget reviewed by our superiors.  I like to break the ice with some vegan treats.  If nothing else goes well, and it will, the cookies usually cause a little smiling.

I had most the ingredients in the recipe, except some nuts.  I stopped by the grocery store after the garden last night and picked up some nice pecans.  I didn't have any applesauce handy, but an apple in the Blendtec worked out just fine.  Yesterday morning before I went to work I took some raspberries out of the freezer to thaw.  I made a little jam with some pure maple syrup and Agar and let it cool.  You can use a good pre-made jam.

My Quick Jam

About 2 cups fresh or frozen berries
3 TB pure maple syrup
1 TB Agar
1 Cup boiling water
1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/4 tsp nutmeg, optional

Heat the berries with the maple syrup until they come to a gentl boil.  Add the Agar to the boiling water and dissolve.  Add the Agar mixture to the hot berry mixture, mix well, add cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bring it to a gentle boil again, remove it from the heat and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.

Nutty Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
     Forks Over Knives Cookbook, page 271

Makes 18 cookies

1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce,
1/4 Cup almond butter
1/2 Cup dry sweetener:  raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, sucanat, etc.
1 TB ground flaxseeds
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups oat flour (If you're not concerned with gluten, unbleached wheat or spelt, flour will work fine)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, (I used pecans)
1/2 cup raspberry jam, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.

In a large mixing bowl use a  strong fork to mix the applesauce, almond butter, sweetener, and flax seeds.  Once relatively smooth, mix in vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well.  Fold in the oats and walnuts.

Roll about 2 tablespoons of batter into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining batter until you have 18 balls.  They can fit into once cookie sheet because they don't spread much at all during baking.  Moisten you thumb (or index finger) and make a deep indent in the center of each cookie.  Place about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each indent.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookie are golden brown. 

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I sprinkled them with a bit of powdered sugar, that's optional.

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