08 December 2012

Lalo's Vegan Cookies

A little something for the vegans is in order. It's been a while since I've intentionally baked something vegan and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical about these cookies. We've all had a bad vegan cookie. But after reading about them all over the web, I decided to give these a try. The recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook but I heard about them from Tim when searching for barley flour recipes. Remember how a bit ago I spoke of how Kim Boyce and I weren't totally always prepared for each other when we met up in the kitchen? Well, when I read up that I had everything on hand to make these Paltrow cookies, I thanked Kim for making me buy the barley flour in the first place and promised we'd get together for some more complex barley-kamut-amaranth flour baking soon enough.

These cookies come together in about 10 minutes, bake for 25 or so and cool for 10-15. They are a barley flour and ground almond based batter sweetened with maple syrup and moistened with olive oil and dotted with your favorite flavor of jam. You hand mix the batter and it's all pretty forgiving. I tossed some lemon zest and vanilla extract in, too and called 2 an afternoon snack yesterday. And then, we called them, along with some creamy dark coffee, breakfast this morning. Because if there were ever a cookie to eat for breakfast, this is it. Not too sweet and decadent, wheat-free and actually pretty filling and sustaining.

And now to the jam I used. Sometimes, items have a way of making their way to your refrigerator without any effort on your part. Such is the case with this delicious blackberry/blueberry jam from Cobblestone Farm in upstate New York that my aunt gave my mom who gave the second half to me. I've put it on toast as it was and it was delicious but wondered how it would fair with grander plans. Turns out the same theory holds true about baking a fruit as baking a jam. You are always better off if you start with a very stellar fruit, not a reject one just because it's going to get baked. What I mean is, the jam here definitely stands out, so I suggest you use something special and tasty. A few more notes here and then I'll just paste in the recipe with my adjustments. 
As I mentioned, the recipe is pretty forgiving. Play around with different nuts, berry jams and zests/extracts but I would not go too far. For example, I don't carry canola oil so I used light olive oil and we thought they were fine that way. You want your nuts ground pretty finely but there can definitely be variety. I used 2/3 almonds and 1/3 walnuts. The original recipe makes about 50-60 cookies but since I haven't made them before I divided the recipe by 4 to get a standard dozen.

Lalo's Cookies

1 c barley flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t vanilla
3/4 whole raw almonds/walnuts
1/4 c light olive oil
1/4 c maple syrup
Pinch  fresh lemon zest
Jam to dot

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind nuts in a clean coffee grinder or food processor until fine. A bit of variety is fine. Don't veer too far on the almond "flour" side though. Coarse is good. Combine all ingredients except jam in bowl and stir until combined. Line a sheet pan with parchment and dollop rounds of the cookies spread a half inch or so apart, make an indent with your thumb and drop a bit of jam in there. Bake around 20 minutes when they begin to brown a bit. Cool on a wire rack.

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