FRUITY ALMOND CAROB SCOOKIES (GLUTEN-FREE)

Firsts things first: what’s a “scookie”? A scookie is a scone-cookie hybrid, thus named after many happy accidents resulting in a baked treat with a scone shape and a cookie crumb. How’d that happen? Let me back up a bit. Baking without butter and without refined sugar creates a precarious problem. Both butter (margarine, Crisco, et-disgusting-cetera) and refined sugar (whether it is of the pedestrian Domino variety or the super-duper organic raw Sucanat sort) create the spread that we identify as a cookie-thing. Ditch the butter for organic canola or raw coconut oil, but keep the refined sugar and you’ll still get the spread. Same thing happens if you switch the sugar for something less processed (maple syrup, for insistence) and cream with butter: spread is maintained. But when you remove both butter and sugar, well, there’s the rub. And there’s the scookie. Now don’t get me wrong: I often bake with butter. The unctuous thing that butter does cannot be duplicated. Sometimes, though, I want something a little lighter and little more everyday, if you will. I never, however, cook with refined sugar. But I digress.

My friend is slightly obsessed with a carob-almond flavored energy bar. As far as bars go, this one’s pretty good and clean. Still, I thought I’d try to duplicate it without the abundance of brown rice syrup (to maintain all that sticky, will-last-for-months goodness) that the processed bar contains. On the contrary, my treat is sweetened with only a few drops of maple syrup (easily eliminated if you so choose) and blackstrap molasses. (Blackstrap molasses is actually very healthy, for sugar: it is mineral-dense and an iron powerhouse, which is particularly necessary for vegans/vegetarians as well as women who are menstruating or breastfeeding. But it must be blackstrap. Period.) As an added nutritional bonus (as well as subversive sweetness), I added coconut flakes, dried figs, dates, raisins and goji berries to my concoction. The fiber in one scookie will keep you regular for a week! They are also vegan and naturally gluten-free (no weird gums nor refined starches here). Enjoy them for breakfast or dessert. Or, better yet, both!

fruity carob almond scookie

 

FRUITY CAROB ALMOND SCOOKIES

Makes about 24

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, or organic non-GMO canola
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup almond butter
3 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/3 cup unsweetened carob powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup goji berries
1 cup chopped almonds

Play around with the ratio of dried fruit. If you have more raisins then dates, use them. If you don’t have gojis, but are loaded with dried cherries, by all means replace! The most important criteria is diversity. Spice it up. Get your micronutrient on.

Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. In a food processor, cream the coconut oil, blackstrap molasses and maple syrup for about a minute, until the coconut oil separates. Add the apple juice and applesauce. Blend for another minute or so, until everything melds together. Add the almond butter and pulse until combined. In a separate, large bowl, stir together the puffed brown rice cereal, almond flour, buckwheat flour, oat bran, carob powder, sea salt and vanilla powder. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, a few batches at a time. Taste it. Do you like it? If you need it a little sweeter, squeeze in a few more drops of maple syrup or honey. Fold in coconut flakes, dates, figs, raisins, goji berries and almonds. Using a ice cream scooper if you have one, scoop scookie dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart (these babies won’t spread). If you don’t have an ice cream scooper, scoop 1 tbsp-ish sized balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Eat at room temperature for a few days or increase the scookie-life by keeping them in the fridge for a week. Yum to the max.

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