It’s all rainy and lovely outside, so it’s rather perfect weather to put on one’s fluffiest boots and skulk about in winter pants. Before such serendipity was allowed, however, we had to make some quick stops around town today; pet-sitting some lovely creatures, doing some shopping for salad stuff, and dropping off some gifts of cookies at the library for our venue’s cleaning lady and the two guards. I also got a beautiful bunch of roses from a colleague who came to us to get advice on applying for a post at the other Research Commons on the Education campus. She got the job, so we unexpectedly got flowers!
Cookies don’t usually seem as if they say anything when one gifts them, or gets gifted, which is why I decided to take some time with these and try out something I’d never done before: thumbprint cookies. I was rather annoyed that almost every google search for vegan thumbprint recipes was gluten-free and focused on almond flour, because a) the stuff is bladdy expensive and b) I love flour-based goods, even though I seem to be in some horrid minority. I decided eventually to take the basis of the recipe I liked best from Detoxinista and modded the ratios of flour to suit my needs. I must say, the tiny bit of almond flour I added to the mix made it all lovely and crumbly and rich, so I completely understand the obsession with the stuff – I just can’t afford to play around with it!
Instead of just adding store-bought jam I decided to bring out the red carpet, as it were, and make my own for the filling. I based the recipe on the fig jam filling for these delightful vanilla rooibos fig newtons I’d made before, with some tweaks here and there. I’m going to try out the jam filling recipe as given in the almond recipe next time, because it does look very tasty! My FIL brought back real vanilla pods from Madagascar on one of his many work journeys, and this jam recipe is definitely a good excuse to haul out such bounty and put it to good use. I also found a packet of neglected dried figs I’d gotten from my bestest boss lady earlier this year, and altogether my kitchen was rather pleased to have such fantastic smells wafting about.
To the jam mixture I also added 1/8 cup of finely milled poppy seeds and 1/4-1/2 a cup of papaya, since the figs weren’t terribly sweet. In order to justify the poppy seeds I did some research:
– A very good source of calcium, iron, protein, zinc, magnesium and dietary fibre. Yes, whoever eats these goodies may fail a drug test, but I don’t socialize much with athletes, so that shouldn’t make a difference.
– They are a complex carb, which is apparent excellent for energy, and they aid in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
How awesome is that? Of course, my real reason for adding them is “because I can”, but it’s good to know there are some actual benefits to be had as well! Even if it is small amounts that one consumes, I still find it interesting to be mindful of what it is I’m actually eating and what effect it has on the body.
Anyway, back to the cookies!
- In the end I used 1 cup home-ground oat flour, 1/2 a cup brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup almond flour. A nice combo, if a bit crumbly, so that the total amount I ended up with is 16 (!!) cookies. I don’t know if that’s man-hands at work, since the recipe says it’ll produce “two dozen”, but I found it near impossible to get that number out of my batch. Still, they weren’t for me to munch so that’s ok I guess!
- I couldn’t bring myself to use 1/4 cup agave syrup (so much liquid, endless squeezing of bottles, gah it just gets to me!) so I used about 3 TBSP and subbed in a TBSP of applesauce for kicks.
- I also omitted the almond extract, since all I have is almond essence, which is heavily alcohol-based, according to the taste, and completely overpowers the senses. Apparently almond extract is natural and doesn’t have that gasping ethenol aftertaste that makes one question sobriety.
The cookies themselves, however, are divine! In fact, I’ll go so far as to say the best I’ve made yet! I really think that smidge of almond flour takes it from being a bland cookie to dreamy and soft, but again, considering financial restraints to what I’m able to spend on a cookie recipe, the ratio worked out pretty nifty.
The jam, however, is the clear hero of this tale – the cookie is the puffed cushion upon which the delicate jam rests its glorious self. It’s not too sweet (which is the downfall of many a cookie), so one could easily munch it with tea or black coffee without swiveling between extreme tastes. Having discovered that my mill machine actually grinds nuts, I guess I can make my own almond flour, but this is definitely a do-again recipe combination. Maybe it’s because the amount of jam left over is ridiculous (and thus pleasing!). I’ve already used the jam as part of a marinade for a tofu scramble (ate too much…so nauseous!).
The best part about finally having time to make goodies for people that make an impact in my life is the wonderful feedback I’ve been getting. I even got two phone calls and a sms about the brownies I made yesterday, and then the lady for whom I made the cookie batch also called this morning to say thanks. I told her it was just something small, and she said it wasn’t small to her. With my social anxiety it’s sometimes a bit difficult to get a handle on people and their feelings, and considering I annoy myself I’m sure I exasperate others, but there are these times when all things align and one can feel good about the time one has dedicated to doing the tiniest things, such as greeting others, whether strangers or chums. Ho hum! Then my heart flutters, as if straight out of a Winnie the Pooh book!