Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies

  Well folks, I back from a lengthy hiatus due to this precious little gem that joined our family on April 16th:

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Little Ben totally lights up my life and is such a bundle of joy.  Our family praises God for such a precious gift and we are all totally in love.   But, as much as I’d like to think you came to drool over the baby, I’m guessing you’re here for the food.  So let’s talk cookies!

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   Now and again I have a craving for a really good cookie.   You know the kind I’m talking about…chewy, moist and loaded with chocolate.  The problem is that most of the cookies I’ve tried that use gluten free flour have been sort of lackluster, dry and grainy.  Little did I know that the secret to a delicious gluten free cookie was not to use flour at all!  Instead, a base of almond meal creates a chewy and totally satisfying morsel of goodness.  I’ve made these cookies twice and my kids loved them.  The second time I made them, we shared them with friends and got equally rave reviews.   And a giant bonus is that they contain no dairy ingredients and are sweetened only lightly with honey.  It’s one of those rare healthy-ish foods that doesn’t taste healthy.  It’s also a flexible recipe and you can adjust the add-ins to your tastes.  These are definite winners in my book!

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Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies (makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour, sifted

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp salt 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the chocolate chips and cherries.  In a separate bowl, stir honey, coconut oil and vanilla together (you may need to microwave for just a few seconds in order to get them to liquefy).  Add the egg and whisk until combined.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Scoop the cookies into tablespoon size balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Gently flatten them with your hand.  Bake for 15 minutes and cool for at least 5 minutes before enjoying.  

 

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My Holiday Baking List

I kind of procrastinated big time on my holiday baking this year.   Did anyone else feel like December was so short this year?  I kept thinking, “I have plenty of time,” only to realize that Christmas is next week!!!! Consequently, I’ve been in a bit of a baking frenzy this week.  Here are the things that made it onto my baking list this year.  All of these recipes are new to me this year and I have to say, I’ve been very pleased with the the results!

Turtles: I’ve made turtles before, but this year I wanted to make my own caramel that is corn syrup free.  Try this recipe and substitute honey for the corn syrup.  The honey gives the caramel a rich, unique flavor that compliments the caramel flavor perfectly.

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Chewy Coconut Truffles:  There are seriously few flavor combinations I like better than coconut and chocolate.  These truffles are delicious.  I followed the recipe, but substituted dark chocolate for the milk chocolate. The coconut filling is sweet, gooey, and moist. The dark chocolate coating takes it over the top, adding a slightly bitter note to compliment the sweetness of the coconut.  I’ve have a hard time resisting these.

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Peppermint Patties:  I made these with my husband in mind and they definitely give York Peppermint Patties a run for their money.  Not to mention, they are so pretty and festive.   They make a tasty after-dinner treat or a thoughtful gift to wrap up and give away.

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Italian Almond Cookies:  I love that these cookies are naturally gluten free.  They are sweet, nutty and wonderfully chewy.  In my opinion they would be perfect with a cup of English Breakfast Tea.

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Hope this gives you a few new ideas for your own holiday baking.  What is on your list this year?

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes, I feel like I am constantly running from store to store for last minute ingredients that somehow I’ve either forgotten to put on my shopping list or actually looked at on my shopping list 100 times in the store, yet still managed to forget.   My husband thinks it’s particularly funny that often the items I am running out for should be staples in my pantry.  Case in point: the other day I was making dinner for a friend who recently had a baby.  In typical fashion, I didn’t plan ahead for a dessert so on the day of, I pulled up my old standby chocolate chip cookie recipe and started whipping up a  batch. I got about halfway into the recipe and realized I had NO flour. Zip. Zero.  Zilch.   Seriously?!?!?! No flour?!?!?!  I mean, my husband and I are eating gluten free these days, but I usually have some flour around the house for these kinds of occasions.   To make matters even worse, I’d already dragged my kids to the store once that morning for a different ingredient I’d forgotten.  So, I scoured the internet for cookie recipes, hoping for a magic flour free option to appear.    I found a promising recipe for monster cookies that used oats instead of flour.  Since I had already started the other recipe, I just combined them and the results were better than I could expected.  Hearty like an oatmeal cookie should be, crispy on the edges and chewy in the center.   And perhaps best of all, it saved me from another trip to the store.  You know what they say…”necessity is the mother of invention!”

These cookies come together much like your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Start by creaming your butters and sugars together and then adding eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined.

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Refrigerate the dough for several hours.  This is a very important step in achieving that perfect crispy edge, chewy center texture.  Scoop 12 heaping tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  If you don’t want to bake the whole recipe at once, you can put the leftover dough in plastic wrap, roll it into logs and put it in your freezer for later.

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Allow the cookies to cool for several minutes on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.Image

Enjoy warm or a room temperature with a glass of milk.

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Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 c butter

1 c white sugar

1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c creamy peanut butter

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp hot water

4 1/2 c gluten-free oats

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, peanut butter, white and brown sugars.  Add eggs, beating after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Stir together hot water and baking soda and then add to the batter.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 min until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.