Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Healthy Thumbprint Cookies

Confession: I'm a cookie monster. I must eat at least one cookie every day with a cup of tea or coffee. This kind of thing isn't very good for my weight or health, not with all that butter and refined sugar, no. But if you know me, I don't give up so easy. Yes, I'm still on track for the summer -- I've worked things out so I can have my cake cookie and eat it too:

1. Cardio for 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week
2. Soups or salads for dinner, 4-5 days a week
3. 2 daily allowances of healthy cookies

Everyone's body is different but this is what's working for me. If I'm going to eat cookies daily, well then, I should make them on the healthier side! And luckily that's just what I've figured out after being inspired by Green Kitchen Stories' recipe! AND they're gluten-free and potentially nut-free. Even if you don't have a problem with gluten, it's always good to eat alternate flours. The key to a wholesome self is variation. If you eat a rainbow of foods, then you get different nutrients from those different foods. So definitely change it up and try new things!

What's so special about these cookies? THEY'RE DELICIOUS -- that's always the number one criteria. If they're healthy but don't taste good, then I'm not interested. However, these are healthy AND delicious. They have a nutty taste but are also tart and sweet from the raspberries. I almost have a hard time believing that they're healthy! Why not try for yourself and see?

Now just because these cookies are healthier doesn't mean you should eat ten of them in one sitting. The daily recommendation for carbohydrates are 45-60 E%, fat is 25-35 E%, and protein is 10-20 E%. If you're eating rice, pasta or bread and/or vegetables and fruits for every meal, chances are you're already fulfilling your daily recommended quota for carbohydrates, fat and protein. So technically your body doesn't need cookies. But if you insist on eating your sweet cookie, and I do, you should try to balance it out so that you're not eating too many carbs or too much fat, as that imbalance can lead to weight gain, among other things. It's a balancing act -- if you eat a cookie, eat less carbs somewhere else, and don't forget, exercise is a giant part of maintaining optimal weight and health.

So enjoy tea time or fika (Swedish meal of cookie/cinnamon bun + coffee). Here's a photo from Mellqvist -- my favorite fika place lately, under the cherry blossoms and overlooking beautifully colored Swedish architecture.
Healthy Thumbprint Cookies
Inspired by Green Kitchen Stories
Makes 18-20 cookies

1 3/4 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free if gluten-intolerant)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds turned into 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour or buckwheat flour (I use red rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs flax or chia seed meal
3 tbs water
10 dates (75g)
1/3 cup (plant) milk
2 tbs canola/rapeseed/coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Raspberry Jam:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tbs coconut or regular sugar
2 tbs chopped nuts (optional)

1. Grind oats into a flour in your food processor. Do the same with the sunflower seeds. Then measure out each.

2. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. Mix oat flour, sunflower seed flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

3. Grind dates and milk until the dates are completely ground and transfer to the dry ingredients. Add the water, flax meal, canola oil and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Chill while making the jam.

4. Make the raspberry jam by heating the frozen raspberries with sugar until the raspberries breakdown and the mixture thickens -- this takes less than 5 minutes.

5. Take the dough out of the fridge. Take about a tablespoon's worth of dough and form into a ball, flatten and dip the sides in the mixed nuts and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest. Then make an indent in the center of each cookie and fill with the jam.

4. Bake the cookies for 15 - 20 minutes, until the bottom is golden. Allow to sit in the turned off oven for 5-10 minutes if the cookies are damp or soft. Once cool, place in an air-tight container for up to two weeks. Happy fika!

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