Mint Double Carob Chip Cookies

I revamped this recipe because chocolate and mint is a combination that my grandson absolutely loves! And I have to admit, they are pretty good. Be careful or you won’t have any batter to cook, the raw dough is that tasty!

Makes 24-30 depending on the size.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Put parchment paper on the bottom of 2 cookie sheets (unless you have a large one that will hold 2 dozen at a time). Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small, heat safe bowl, soak 16-18 dried prunes in boiling water (approximately 1 cup should be enough). Be sure all the prunes are covered. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. While they are soaking, put together the flour mixture in a gallon food storage bag mix:

1 2/3 cups millet flour

1/3 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup chickpea flour

2/3 cup arrowroot

2/3 cup potato starch (NOT flour)

Seal the bag and shake to thoroughly mix the flours. Be sure to refrigerate the unused flour mixture.

In a medium size food processor add:

Prunes

2 tablespoons of the prune soaking water

1/2 cup date or coconut sugar

1/3 cup agave, honey, date or coconut syrup

1/2 teaspoon mint extract (or about 2 dozen fresh mint leaves torn)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon vinegar

Blend until the prunes are smooth and the mixture has combined. Don’t worry if the prunes are entirely smooth since they will continue to blend with the next steps. Add:

1/3 cup avocado, sunflower, palm, or coconut oil (melted)

Blend again until the mixture is smooth. If the food processor is large enough add (if not scrap the prune mixture out of the food process and into a medium size bowl and add the dry ingredients):

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (see above)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 cup carob powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse until the flours are combined. Remove the dough from the food processor and stir in:

1/4 to 1/3 cup unsweetened carob chips

Mix thoroughly. Using a tablespoon measure or small cookie scoop, measure out the dough and form into approximately 1 inch balls (although slightly sticky, it’s easy to shape into balls using damp hands). Place the balls on a cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart and, again with a slightly damp hand, flatten them to about a 1/2 inch in depth. Bake for 8-10 minutes; 8 minutes will give you a chewy, fudgy, softer center while 10 minutes will be chewy but not as fudgy in the center. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Raspberry Bars

I’ve always preferred making bars instead of cookies, takes less effort and time and tastes just as good. So I was pleased to find a recipe for raspberry bars (my favorite berry) that I think came out pretty good with revamping.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 9×9″ baking dish being sure to grease at least a 1/2 inch up the sides. Combine in a food processor:

2/3 cup white rice flour

1/3 cup brown rice flour

3 tablespoons potato starch

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1/3 cup date sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Pulse until blended. Add by spoonfuls:

2/3 cup shortening or vegan margarine

Pulse until combined and mixture forms pea like bits (it looks a lot like pastry crust. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl. Press the remaining mix into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. While it’s baking, stir into the 1/2 cup of mix reserved:

2 tablespoons date sugar

1/4 cup hemp hulls (or any seed your family likes such as pumpkin or sunflower, chopped)

1/4 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats

Set aside. In another small bowl mix:

1 cup sugar-free raspberry jam

1 cup fresh raspberries

zest of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Stir together, breaking up some of the raspberries, until combined. Spread this over the top of the hot crust when it’s comes out of the oven. Sprinkle the reserved flour/hemp/oat mixture over the top of the raspberries. Bake another 20-25 minutes until the top has browned and the filling is starting to bubble. Cool on a cooling rack and then in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.

TIP: I left the other half of the bars in the baking dish, covered them and left them in the refrigerator overnight and they came out of the dish much cleaner the next day, keeping more of the bottom layer intact.

Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles

Get the feeling I’m really into pumpkin right now! I think it may be because I haven’t been feeling very well and knowing pumpkin can aid in calming an upset stomach, I’m turning to it to help me deal with stomach issues.

I’ve never had a snickerdoodle! Now that I’m allergic to chocolate (actually the caffeine in chocolate), I’m expanding my cookie horizons. Found this recipe on-line and thought it easily adjustable however, the cookies are not the easiest to make, especially if you’re new to cookie baking or don’t have a stand mixer like me. Treat them much like you would a peanut butter cookie – roll in sugar and then use a fork to flatten the balls.

Make Chai Sugar by mixing together:

1/3 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix:

1/3 cup aquafaba (if you don’t have a can of garbanzo beans handy or powdered aquafaba, substitute water)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

Let sit for several minutes to form flax gel and then add:

1/2 cup vegan shortening or margarine (I use Spectrum shortening)

1 cup date sugar

With a hand or stand mixer, beat on low/medium until the mixture is combined and almost fluffy. Add:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix to combine and then add:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix to combine before adding:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour.

At this point, unless you have a stand mixer, it’s best to continue mixing with a large spoon or even, if you’ve washed your hands or are wearing gloves, with your hands. Mixture will be quite crumbly until all the flour is worked into the dough. The consistency reminds me of gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies. I used my hands and found the mixture combined quite easily. Scoop out by tablespoonful and roll into a ball (so you have to use your hands anyway!). The mixture shouldn’t be at all sticky but if it is, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the stickiness is gone.

Roll each ball as you make them into the chai sugar mixture and place 1-2″ apart on the cookie sheet. When the sheet is full, using a fork, press down each ball into a flat disk.* Bake 8 minutes then check. If the cookies have puffed up (domed), flatten more with the fork. Bake an additional 2-3 minutes until the outside of the cookies are firm while the inside is still slightly underdone. Cool on sheet for several minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

*If you prefer, bake the balls for 8 minutes and then flatten them with the fork. Their appearance differs and I found the ones I flattened before baking were chewier. The smoother ones were flattened before baking (on the right) while the ones flattened after baking were rougher looking (on the left).

Pumpkin Seed Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are one of the most popular cookies on the planet but not for those of us with nut allergies. If you can use pumpkin seeds, this may be a cookie for you to try. I’ve been using pumpkin seed butter now for several years. It’s a very different taste, very nutty and earthy. I prefer the butter made from roasted pumpkin seeds but raw is also available; as one might expect, the roasted is brown while the raw is green in color. I haven’t been able to find pumpkin seed butter in a store so I order it online from Amazon where they have several varieties available. I’m sure a google search would find it available elsewhere online if you prefer not to use Amazon.

Just like regular peanut butter, pumpkin seed butter is available in sweetened and unsweetened forms. I prefer the unsweetened which is what is used in this recipe. If sweetened is used, reduce the amount of sugar in the mixture. Makes about 12 cookies.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup date sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup pumpkin seed butter (room temperature)

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/3 cup carob chips (or if you can use them chocolate chips)

Prepare a medium size cookie sheet by covering with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix together the date sugar and the water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla, whisk until smooth. Add the pumpkin seed butter, flaxseed, flour, salt and mix until combined. Add the chips and blend. Scoop out the dough by tablespoons and shape into balls and then flatten. Place about an inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. These cookies won’t raise or spread much. Store in an airtight container or freeze if there are any left!

Carob Chip Cookies

I think this is the third recipe I’ve put up on the blog for carob (or chocolate) chip cookies. This one is very easy to make and tastes great. I cooked mine for 15 minutes and they were caky, so stick to 10-12 minutes for a chewy cookie. It should make 18-20 cookies so if you have dough left over, increase the size of each cookie. If smaller cookies are wanted, bake them for only 7-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet (to hold all the cookies at once).

In a small bowl, soak 8-10 medjool dates or 1 cup of diced dates in 1 cup boiling water for 10-15 minutes (this is the longest part of the process!)

Pour the dates and the water into a food processor (I actually used my Vitamix) and process for 1-2 minutes until the dates are pureed. Scrape back into the small bowl. Whisk in to the dates:

1/2 cup avocado or melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium bowl combine:

2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pour the date mixture into the flour mixture along with 1/2 cup unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Take 2 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of the dough and shape by hand into a ball, then flatten, and put them on the greased cookie sheet. Don’t worry about putting them close on the cookie sheet because they won’t spread much although they will puff up slightly when baked.

Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Easy Chicken Wings (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free)

I do love chicken wings, pork ribs, all those things that are so not good for us. Since it’s my birthday today, I decided to make some of the things I love. I just put up Cinnamon Sticky Rolls and now here is my recipe for chicken wings. I bake them instead of deep frying so they are not too greasy.

Spray with a non-stick spray a cookie sheet with sides, size depending on how many wings you’re making. Preheat oven to 425 degree. If making more than a dozen, just increase the recipe.

For 10-12 drummettes, mix in a gallon baggie:

2 tablespoons cassava flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Shake to combine. Add the wings (you can use split wings if you like the fattier section as well). Shake to coat all the wings completely. Remove them from the bag, shaking off any excess flour and arrange on the cookie sheet. You don’t want them touching each other or they will stick together. Lightly spray with non-stick spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until you start seeing browning around the bottom. Remove from oven and turn them over so that both sides get crispy. Bake for about another 8-10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite sauce.

Tahini Carob Chip Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined cane sugar-free, egg free, vegan)

Remember those chewy, nutty peanut butter cookies from our younger days? These are very reminiscent of those but are healthy and so easy with just five ingredients. Feel free to substitute any nut or seed butter you can use such as sunflower or pepitas.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put in your food processor:

  • 1 cup tahini (or any nut or seed butter), use a thicker tahini rather than a runny thin one or your cookies will not come out chewy
  • 1 cup date sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of aguafava (or 1 egg if you can use eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Process until smooth and then remove from food processor into medium bowl and stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Scoop by tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheet, flatten with damp fork (or spatula) and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. You want them crispy on the outside but chewy in the middle so when the middle is set and the outside browned, they are done. Makes 10-15 cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

What’s better at the holidays than sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies?  Just the smell of gingerbread baking makes most of us think of Christmas.  This recipe uses a number of types of flours to get the right consistency for gingerbread but is fairly easy to put together.  I added a 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger but it could have used substantially more so if you really like ginger, add 1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger.  And, depending on how thin you roll these, vary the baking times from 10-12 minutes for thinner cookies and  15-20 minutes for thicker cookies.  And the number it makes also depends on how thin you roll them; it can make as few as 15 for thicker cookies or as many as 24 for thinner cookies.

I’m working on a sugar-free and egg-free royal icing and hope to have that recipe ready for the blog soon.  

In a medium sized bowl combine:

  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (more if you like them really gingery)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Sift or stir to combine dry ingredients.  In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 cup shortening such as Spectrum
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat on medium speed until well mixed.  Add:

  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or coconut nectar or honey)
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

Mix on medium speed until combined.  Add dry ingredients in several batches (around 3/4 cup at a time) until all the flour is incorporated.  I actually put down the mixer when half the dry ingredients were added and mixed in the remainder with a large spoon.  Form into a round disk (or a rectangle) and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (no non-stick spray needed).  Unwrap the plastic wrap and add a piece of parchment paper to the top.  Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch depending on taste.  I prefer a very thin, crispy cookie so I rolled mine out rather thin.  Repeat until all the dough is used.  These cookies will not rise or expand while baking so they can be placed on the cookie sheets closely packed.  Decorate with unsweetened carob or chocolate chips if desired before baking.  

Bake 10-20 minutes depending on thickness; when the cookies are slightly firm and browned (hard to tell with the molasses), they are cooked; if you like yours crunchier, cook them a little longer.   Cool on cooling racks.  These can be frosted with carob buttercream or cream cheese frosting if desired (I enjoyed mine just plain).

Nachos (dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free)

If you love nachos like I do, you’ll like this recipe.  I spent 12 years living in the Phoenix area and our favorites places to eat were the Mexican restaurants.  Now, with my dairy, gluten and corn allergies, I don’t get to eat nachos very often.  I found using this tortilla recipe, that the nachos stay sturdier; with regular flour or corn chips, they can get very soggy after the cheese sauce is added.  These did get a little soft but they still held up and everything didn’t spill off when they were picked up, even the ones on the bottom.  This recipe makes 3 tortillas or about enough a large plate of nachos.  As an appetizer, enough for 6-8 people but as a meal, probably only enough for 1-2.

First make the tortillas.  Combine in a quart bowl:

  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (or another dense flour such as hemp)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • dash (or two) of cumin or chili powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup cool water

Whisk until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.  Heat an 8″ skillet (non-stick) over medium heat.  When hot pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the skillet and, like a crepe, move pan to let the mixture cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Cook until small bubbles cover most of the tortilla (this will only take 2-4 minutes) and then turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Repeat for the next two tortillas.  Let cool slightly before cutting into eighths.

Meanwhile get the rest of the nacho ingredients started.  Combine in a small sauce pan:

  • 1 cup shredded non-dairy cheese (I really like the Daiya Classic Combo cheese for this)
  • non-dairy milk of choice just until it almost covers the cheese (about 2/3 of a cup)

Cook over low heat until cheese is completely melted and incorporated into the milk.  Whisk every few minutes.

If you like ground meat on your nachos, cook a quarter to a half pound of ground meat, seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder (optional).

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of refried beans in a small skillet with a little oil (or if you want, a minute in the microwave).

You can use store-bought guacamole or make some.  I use a very simple guacamole recipe:

Combine in a food processor:

  • the meat from 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • juice of 1 lime

Blend until smooth.  I prefer a smooth guacamole but I know some people like it chunky so if a chunky one is preferred, pulse until desired consistency.  Add 1/4 cup pomegranate arils if  you like a little crunch in your guacamole (and they add a nice flavor as well).

These tortillas absorb oil like crazy so I didn’t deep fry them.  Instead, I used my air fryer and placed them in a single layer, air fried them for about 10 minutes or until crispy.  

Then it time to make the nachos.  Start with a layer of chips, cover with meat and/or refried beans, top with cheese sauce and guacamole.  Repeat until chips are all used.  Top with some diced tomatoes and scallions.

Carob Fig “Truffles” (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I made filled chocolates for over fifty years until a few years ago when I realized that no one in my family or circle of friends could eat them anymore for one reason or another.  So now I cover different flavored Oreos with chocolate for my grandson and my great-nieces.  I have a friend, however, who asked me to please find a recipe for a candy that she can eat that’s healthy but still decadent enough to call candy.  Here’s what I came up with.  Don’t like figs?   Not a problem, use dates (don’t soak them) or prunes instead.  If you use dates, the mixture will be much sweeter.  If the figs or prunes aren’t sweet enough for your family’s taste buds, add a few dates to sweeten it up.

You’ll need:

  • 12 ounces of dried figs (or you can use fig paste or jam made with fresh figs in season; no need to soak those)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder (if you can have chocolate, feel free to use cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (or if you can have it any nut butter will work)
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • juice from 1/2 orange (around 2 tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, toasted sesame seeds, for rolling the truffles in
  • Remove the stems from the figs and put in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for around an hour.  Drain and put in a food processor along with the protein powder (start with 1/4 cup), carob powder, tahini, zest and juice, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  If mixture is too wet, add the remaining protein powder.

Scoop out tablespoons full and with wet hands, roll them into balls (I had a small bowl of water next to where I was working so that I could wet my hands as needed).  We want these the size for one to two bites so if a tablespoon is a little big, reduce the amount for each ball.  I would say I used around 2 teaspoons per ball.  Place them on parchment or waxed paper as you roll them out.  It should make between 16 and 24 balls.  Roll each ball in your choice of hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, or toasted sesame seeds.  Refrigerator for up to a week.  

I found these very dense and rich so I could only eat 2 at a time.  And, of course, oh so delicious and gooey.  A great substitute for candy with all that sugar.  Sweet and gooey without any sugar except the one naturally found in the fruit.  

Variations:

  • 12 ounces of prunes instead of figs — these don’t need to be soaked
  • 12 ounces of dried mango — cut into small pieces before soaking and don’t add any additional liquid to the food processor
  • 12 ounces of dried sweet dark cherries — again, no need to soak these but may need a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture (I covered these with chocolate ganache)
  • 12 ounces of dried dates, pitted of course — don’t soak them but again they may need a few tablespoons of water if too thick
  • 12 ounces of dried apricots — soak and again, don’t add any liquid to the mixture (I rolled these in ground almonds)