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March 21, 2014

Courageous Cookies

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Cookies.  We all have our favourites.  This cookie tries to please everyone by combining the best of the chocolate chip, oatmeal, raisin and gingersnap all into one. That is pretty brave.  They are filled with nourishing ingredients, but don’t tell anyone because they won’t notice!

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These cookies are gluten free and use hemp protein as a portion of the flour mixture. In addition to being a complete protein, hemp protein powder is an amazing source of both iron and calcium.  Also full of fibre and an optimal balance of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, the colour of hemp protein is due to chlorophyll, the powerful substance that makes plants green.  Chlorophyll is known to improve the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune and detoxification systems of the body having multiple effects on health.  Bring on the green foods!

hempproteinpowder

To sweeten these morsels, we have chosen coconut sugar.  Known for containing minerals, B vitamins, amino acids and vitamin C, coconut sugar is also much more slowly absorbed than other natural sweeteners making its affect on blood sugars quite low (35-40 on the Glycemic Index).  It’s rich colour is reflected in the toffee-like flavour (we don’t add vanilla to the cookies because the sugar gives a toffee-vanilla flavour all on its own).  Coconut sugar is made by taping a coconut tree, like we would tap a maple tree here in Canada, and reducing the liquid at a low temperature and then dehydrating to get the crystals out of the liquid.  The sugar should be a bit powdery since it is not heated to high temperatures causing crystallization.

coconut palm sugar

The butter in these cookies can be substituted with a vegan spread or coconut oil if you do not eat animal products, but otherwise, butter (and a variety of other healthy fats) is a healthy addition to a whole foods diet.  There are actually too many good things about organic butter to go into – it needs a post all to itself!  If you are sensitive to dairy products and don’t eat butter, try using ghee.  Ghee, or clarified butter, has had the protein (casein) and sugar (lactose) removed making it enjoyable for most people sensitive to these substances.  More about butter and ghee in a future post!

Spices give flavour to foods, but a high quality, non-irradiated spice can also share loads of nutritional value.  If the budget allows, try certified organic spices that haven’t been “nuked” (irradiated) and taste the difference.  Most spices also have anti-inflammatory effects as well as antioxidants and they may just be able to affect your DNA.  We expose ourselves to what seems like a variety of foods when in truth, we are limited to just a few families at our disposal.  Adding a wide variety of herbs and spices in their whole foods form exposes our bodies to more food families and can affect how our DNA switches are turned on and off.  This is called Epigenetics. We aren’t saving the world by eating cookies, but we can expose ourselves to other substances throughout the day to get a cumulative effect.  Pretty powerful stuff.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Raisin Spice Cookies – makes about 20-30 cookies depending on size

1/2-3/4 cup Coconut Sugar (depending on how sweet you like things)

2 TBSP local raw honey

1 1/3 cups organic unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, decrease the added salt by half), or ghee

1 egg (to make a vegan version, combine 1 TBSP ground flax or whole chia with 3 TBSP water)

1 cup oat flour (use GF oat flour to make them gluten free), 1 cup buckwheat flour, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 3/4 cup hemp protein

1 tsp both pink Himalayan sea salt and baking soda

2 tsp both baking powder and cinnamon

1 tsp each of cloves and ginger

3 cups rolled oats (use GF if needed)

3/4 cup raisins of your liking

1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips (look for fair trade chips with at least 60% cocoa if you are so inclined)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a hand held mixer or mixing stand, cream together the sugar, honey, butter and egg or egg replacement until it begins to change colour. Add the dry ingredients right into the creamed mixture (don’t dirty another bowl – who wants more dishes?) stopping after the cloves and ginger.  Combine well for a good minute.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix again just until combined.

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Roll into balls in your hand about 1.5 inches in diameter for small cookies or 2.5 inches for large cookies.  Cover cookie sheet with a piece a parchment paper and place the rolled balls onto the sheet with about 3 inches between each (they don’t spread very much).  Press the cookies down with a fork.  Bake in a preheated oven for: small cookie size 9-11 minutes, large cookie size 12-14 minutes.

TIP – Sometimes gluten free cookies have a bit of a cake texture instead of cookie. There is a remedy for that.  Take the cookies out of the oven about 3 minutes early and press them down with that fork again.  Just press out that extra air and put them back in the oven to finish up.

Allow the cookies to cool almost completely before taking them off of the cookie sheet as once they are cooled they will not fall apart.  Store in the cookie jar, in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or freeze them.  Enjoy!

Your cookies will appear anywhere from light to dark to greenish depending on the brand of hemp protein powder and the potency of your spices.  You can add a variety of nuts and seeds to make these your own!

Recipe and post by Amy Buckman

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