Peanut butter cookies with chocolate-peanut topping

Peanut butter cookies

The first dessert I ever made Thom was a batch of peanut butter cookies, delivered on the morning of Christmas Eve, back before we were anything more than coworkers who were somewhat attracted to one another. Those peanut butter cookies also happened to be the first thing I ever baked on my own so, as you can imagine, I was slightly nervous about handing them over to him. I was even more nervous when he opened the bag in front of me, pulled one out, and shoved it into his mouth because all I could think about was how terrible it would be if he thought they were awful. Thankfully, he thought they were the opposite of awful. In fact, he said they tasted exactly like the peanut butter cookies his Grandma Cassidy used to make. Cookies he hadn’t had since before leaving for the army, half a decade prior.

To this day I swear those cookies were the reason for our first date. Which wasn’t really a date. It was more of a Hey my friends and I do this thing at a truck stop every year on Christmas Eve and you should come. But I’m not going to give you my phone number because that would make it far too easy for you to back out. 11PM, there will be a big group of us. Show up if you want. 

I almost didn’t. I drove around in my car, after family Christmas at my Oma and Opa’s, on the phone with one of my good friends (HI LIAM) (found you on the internets, you handsome thing!), waxing poetic about some random guy at work and how I wasn’t going to know anyone and LIAM. AM I OUT OF MY FUCKING MIND? He assured me I wasn’t and stayed on the other end until I parked my rusty 1992 Honda accord and got out. I hung up the phone, walked in (late) to a room full of strangers, and found Thom sitting in the back with the biggest grin on his face and that bag of peanut butter cookies on the table.

To this day, he says if I wouldn’t have showed up he probably wouldn’t have asked me on a real date. To this day I say if he hadn’t liked those peanut butter cookies, I wouldn’t have had the guts to show my face at the truck stop. And although these aren’t the cookies from his childhood (turns out recreating a vegan version is difficult when you forget to document the original recipe) (I tried eight times), peanut butter cookies in any form remind me of our humble beginning; of the days when we were both trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do with our lives and where we were going to make it happen. Little did we know, almost seven years later, we’d be living in Denver and I’d be planning our wedding while he cooks up the plans for post-nuptial travel. It’s kind of crazy and overwhelming to think back to where this all started, and I owe it – in part – to those peanut butter cookies. The ones that reminded him so much of his childhood.

Creamy peanut butterPeanut butter cookies in the makingPeanut butter cookie doughPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookiesPeanut butter cookies

Notes: If you don’t want to use spelt flour, all purpose unbleached flour will do the trick. Just the same, any gluten free flour (blend) will substitute well, but I prefer oat flour or this gluten free flour blend. If you prefer thin cookies, you can reduce the flour to 2/3 cup but they will be substantially thinner than the recipe below. Coconut oil is pretty crucial to this recipe so do not skip and use oils that are liquid at room temperature. You can use vegan butter in place of the coconut oil but I’ve been trying to minimize the use of it given its not-so-sustainable connection to the palm oil industry. If you prefer thick and chewy cookies, pull the cookies from the oven at the 12 minute mark and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes. If you’d prefer to omit the toppings, just flatten the cookies using the criss cross fork method. And if you want to mix the toppings into the dough, you can do that, too.

PS – Topping the cookies with pretzel pieces (in place of the peanuts) is also delicious. Just sayin’.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE-PEANUT TOPPING

Cookie dough
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, solid
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup whole spelt flour

Toppings
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the oil then stir in the almond milk. Cook just until the mixture is warm, but not boiling. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and sugar using a hand mixer on high speed, for 20-30 seconds. Add the almond milk mixture and the vanilla extract; beat for  about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the baking soda, sea salt, and flour just until combined. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes, although 12-24 hours is preferable to give the sugar adequate time to caramelize.

Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and, using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 4 inches apart, then roll into balls. Mix the chocolate chips and peanuts in a small bowl and take about a tablespoon of toppings and smash them into the top of each cookie. You don’t want to completely flatten the cookies, but you want to flatten them until they’re 3/4-1″ thick. Transfer baking sheet to freezer and chill for 10 minutes. Bake at 350˚F for 14-15 minutes then allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer each cookie to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Before transferring cookies to an air tight container for keeps, put them in the freezer for 10 minutes to solidify the chocolate chips. Cookies will keep in an air tight container for up to five days.

Yield: 8 big cookies

Chocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnuts + a giveaway

Chocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnuts

There’s a Voodoo Doughnut shop two blocks away from our place. I run by there at least five times a week. At 6AM when there isn’t a line (!) and the sun isn’t up to reflect off the glass and impede my ability to see trays upon trays of delicious palm oil-laden sugar bombs. Somehow I keep running, even though I want to stop. Even though I haven’t eaten breakfast and the thought of getting a yeasted doughnut and devouring it in the alley sounds so much better than hurrying through the convoluted city route I’ve got mapped out in my head.

I’ve started this thing where, at least once a week, I indulge myself after the concrete loop. I deserve it! I say. And so I walk in, completely out of breath, trying to figure out which pocket swallowed my cash (why do running tights have so many pockets?) (and why does Voodoo only accept cash?) and while I’m digging I order two doughnuts: one coated in cinnamon sugar and one topped with chocolate frosting. I usually get a little over halfway into each before tossing them back in the bag because not only does the overly processed sugar give me some serious jitters, I swear it penetrates my teeth in a way that can’t be brushed or swished away.

So this is where I tell you that eating doughnuts isn’t exactly the best thing to ingest after a 12 hour fast (or however long you go between eating dinner a post-dinner snack and first breakfast). Are doughnuts delicious? Absolutely. Nutritious? Not in the slightest. But thankfully I’ve kinda-sorta fixed that with a baked doughnut recipe that won’t leave us feeling like we just ate 10 pixie sticks or like we need to pay a visit to that person who examines oral cavities for a living.

Doughnut makingToasted coconut flakesChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnuts

You’re probably wondering about the + GIVEAWAY thing up top so let’s get to it. Just over three years ago I started this blog and I somehow missed what some would call a ‘blogiversary‘. To show you how much I appreciate your kindness and constructive criticism (or sometimes not-so-constructive) and emails filled with funny .gifs, I figured there’s no better way to celebrate than by giving away three packages loaded with a few of my favorite ingredients (like dark chocolate chips, coconut oil, and naturally colored sprinkles). There may also be a bottle of that 12 month aged vanilla extract tucked inside, along with two new products I’m launching later this year. Plus a doughnut pan, the best spatula in the history of spatulas, and a copy of Green Kitchen Travels because it’s my favorite cookbook right now (it isn’t 100% vegan, but many of the recipes are and those that aren’t can easily be adapted to suit your dietary preferences).

So how do you enter? All you have to do is comment below (if you’re not a first time commenter, you’ll get two entries) (no need to let me know, I can tell if you’ve commented before), telling me your favorite breakfast food (and why) or what you like to do with your free time or if there’s a new kitchen tool/ingredient you’re crazy about. Anything, really. And because I don’t like to discriminate against people and their various geographic locations, we’re opening this thing to the whole goddamn world. I’ll draw three winners on Tuesday 7 October and will notify them via email, so please comment with an address you check with some sort of frequency. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Winners will be notified later today.

From the bottom of my guts, thank you for visiting my little expletive-filled corner of the interweb.

Chocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnutsChocolate glazed toasted coconut doughnuts

Notes: If you don’t have coconut sugar, feel free to use regular cane sugar, sucanat, brown cane sugar, etc. Make sure the almondmilk is room temperature, as any cold ingredient will cause the coconut oil to solidify. Whatever you do, do not warm it on the stove to speed up the process – if it’s too warm it will make the batter lumpy and the doughnuts won’t bake properly (trust me, tried it). If you’d rather these be plain ol’ chocolate glazed doughnuts, replace the toasted coconut almondmilk with Califia’s original or unsweetened variety and finish with sprinkles, crushed nuts, pretzel pieces, etc. You can prepare the doughnuts in either a normal or mini size doughnut pan. This recipe will make 12 normal doughnuts, 24 mini doughnuts, or 6 normal and 12 mini. The glaze recipe makes just enough for the doughnuts, so if you’re looking to give them a heavy dip, increase the powdered sugar to 3/4 cup, the cacao to 1/3 cup, and the toasted coconut almondmilk to 3-4 tablespoons.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

CHOCOLATE GLAZED TOASTED COCONUT DOUGHNUTS

Doughnut batter
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Califia Farms toasted coconut almondmilk, room temperature
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Chocolate glaze
1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
1/4 cup cacao powder
2-3 tablespoons Califia Farms chocolate coconut almondmilk

Topping
Toasted coconut (flaked or shredded)

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Lightly spray two 6 cavity doughnut pans with oil; set aside. Line a drinking glass with a piping or ziplock bag; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and almondmilk; whisk thoroughly to combine then set mixture aside for 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve a bit (if using brown sugar, you can skip this step). In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. When the wet mixture is ready, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk in just until the lumps disappear (be sure not to over mix or else your doughnuts will be dense). Pour the batter into the bag and (if using a ziplock, snip the corner about 1/2″ up) fill each doughnut cavity 2/3 full. You should have just enough batter to fill the two pans. Bake at 325˚F for 15-16 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the doughnuts are cooling, prepare the chocolate glaze by sifting together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk in the chocolate coconut almondmilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. When doughnuts have cooled, dip into glaze then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Let the doughnuts sit until the glaze has hardened; about 1 hour. Doughnuts are best served the day of, but will keep at room temperature for up to three days, loosely covered with plastic.

Yield: 12 doughnuts

Peach cardamom pie with coconut oil crust | For Thom, with love

Peach cardamom pie

It’s been a while since I’ve done a FTWL post so I figured that with the fleeting peach season I had better get on it. I feel like I should also apologize for the abundance of pie-like recipes. Thom says I fixate on them. I do. I go on pie binges and although it seems excessive, too much pie is never a bad thing so I’m not going to offer up an apology. Instead I offer a recipe for Thom’s favorite pie. Prefaced with 667 words and a shitload of pictures, and for that I am a little bit sorry. 

I had an epiphany of sorts after we did away with the original wedding plan. Prior to doing so, I can’t tell you how bad I didn’t want to get married and how much that feeling ate away at me. I started getting cold feet. Questioning the empire of love that we built and have worked so hard to maintain. I lost my shit. He lost his shit. We had a tumultuous spring. We screamed. I cried. And then we came to our senses like people usually do when they stop trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. Or something like that.

Have you ever tried imagining your life without the person you love most? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a significant other. It could be your mom or your bother or your best friend. Try it. Close your eyes and try to picture your life without them. Your eyes will probably get wet. You might also laugh. But no matter how you get there – to that place where your favorite person no longer exists – you’re going to realize something: Your life would not be nearly as full and you, my friend, would undoubtedly be worse off. Life would – for lack of better words – kinda fucking suck.

Palisade peachesCoconut oil pie crust in the makingWhole cardamomPalisade peachesCoconut oil pie doughCoconut oil pie crust in the makingCoconut oil pie crustPeach cardamom pie in the makingPeach cardamom piePeach cardamom pie

My life without Thom would likely have eight fewer months of foreign travel. Less chocolate hidden in my half of the closet. I’d probably still be attending Catholic mass, trying hard to beat monotheistic ideals into my brain even though, as a very young child, I never subscribed to the beliefs of organized religion. (Especially not those of the Catholic church, although I am quite fond of Mother Teresa, PJP II, and Papa Francesco.) If not for Thom, chances are I’d still have that crippling psychological illness that lasted damn-near a decade. The one I have yet to talk about here because, I don’t know, maybe there’s a part of me that doesn’t feel comfortable putting that on the table just yet. Or ever. Sometimes I think the only reason I’m alive and well (finally, well) is because of him. I was sick. So sick. Then he came into my life and for the first time I found something that made me want to get better. It took a long time; a lot of love and encouragement, and countless nights confined to our bright blue sofa, him rubbing my back while I writhed in pain and tried my damnedest not to cry in front of the man I hadn’t yet told I loved. Maybe because I didn’t think I deserved him. Probably because I didn’t think I deserved him. He promised me there would come a time when I would wake up and the struggle would be over. I will have come out on the other side. I will have won.

He was right.

I wake up now a much better version of myself, partly because of Thom. Sometimes I’ll roll over, stare at him like a total creep, and think about how fortunate I am that we both found ourselves in shitty life positions in the fall of 2007. We were lost and, for one reason or another, our paths crossed and look at us now: Seven years later we are stronger, happier, and so enamored with one another it’s almost vomit-inducing. It is completely mind boggling and OH MY GOD terrifying to love another human with such intensity. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Congratulations. Those of you who don’t, just wait, it will happen. And when it does, like me, you may question whether you are worthy of another person who loves you more than the sun and the moon and all the stars in the sky. A person who carries you through the worst of the worst, and sees you out on the other end. No pressure, no judgment, just unparalleled love.

So the answer: Are you worth it? I think you know that by now.

For Thom, with love.

Peach cardamom pieFresh out da ovenPeach cardamom piePeach cardamom pie

Notes: Coconut oil pie crust is a real bitch, so follow the recipe exactly. Most recipes will tell you to freeze the oil before cutting it into the flour, but I’ve found this step to be both frustrating and unnecessary and yield a pretty shitty pie crust. I don’t like shitty pie crust. Thankfully I’ve tested this recipe over a dozen times so I promise you won’t be left with an inedible pie. Peach pie is inherently juicy, so if you prefer a pie that holds its shape (Thom does) (I do, too) get peaches that are still a bit firm but a day or two away from being fully ripened. If your peaches are super ripe you’ll want to use 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of starch in the filling, but your pie will still be a bit juicy – that’s just the nature of peach pie. If your peaches are firm, 3 tablespoons will suffice. Try a slice of each peach before using them, as you may want to increase the sugar to 1/2 cup if using peaches that haven’t fully ripened. If you want to make an 8-9″ pie with lattice, you can double the recipe but I recommend just making it in two batches. The recipe below will make enough for an 8-9″ pie without lattice.

PS – If you guys have trouble with the crust, I’ll do a How To post for coconut oil pie crust with more photos and a super detailed description. And options for whole grain, spelt, gluten free (!?!??) etc.

PEACH CARDAMOM PIE WITH COCONUT OIL CRUST

Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour (170 grams)
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
5-6 tablespoons water, ice cold

Filling
2 Palisade peaches, sliced 1/4″ thick (12-14 ounces total)
1/3 cup cane sugar
3-4 tablespoons potato starch (see notes above)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Topping
2 teaspoons soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Sprinkle a 6″ pie plate or cast iron skillet with flour; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the coconut oil, one tablespoon at a time, while using your thumb pressed against your fingers to swirl it around/press it into the flour. Once you’ve added all the oil, continue mixing with your fingers (15-20 seconds) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with larger clumps (see third photo above). Transfer bowl to the freezer for 15 minutes then remove and use your fingers to squeeze the crumbs and break down the hard clumps of coconut oil. Drizzle in the water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix with your fingers until combined (the same way you were mixing in the oil, but in a more gentle fashion). Repeat until five  tablespoons of water have been added. Pinch a piece of the dough together; if it sticks and forms a solid dough, you’re good. If it crumbles, add the remaining tablespoon of water and gently mix until incorporated. Just barely knead the dough (10-15 seconds) (do not overwork the dough) then flatten it into disk, place back in bowl, and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to wrap it in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to two weeks. You will need to let the dough thaw/soften before proceeding.

While the dough is resting, whisk the cane sugar, potato starch, cardamom, and vanilla bean seeds in a large mixing bowl. Add the sliced peached and toss until evenly coated; set aside.

Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll out the dough into a large circle about 1/4″ thick. Transfer to prepared pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about 1/2″ overhang. Fill with peach filling, but do not add the juice that’s at the bottom of the bowl – you can, however, spoon up to two tablespoons over top of the peaches. Press the remaining dough into a ball and roll it out until it’s 1/8-1/4″ thick. Cut into even strips (or use a cookie cutter to cut out tiny hearts) and lay over pie to create a lattice. Fold the edge of the pie crust over itself then crimp with your fingers or a fork. Brush with soy milk then sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 400˚F for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cover edges with foil and continue baking for an additional 7-9 minutes.

Allow pie to cool for 6-8 hours, then serve. Pie is best eaten within 24 hours, but will keep for up to three days. Cover loosely with plastic and store in the refrigerator. Reheat as needed.

If you’d prefer to freeze the pie, don’t put it back in the oven after the initial 15 minutes of baking. Instead let it cool completely then wrap in three layers of cling wrap and freeze for up to one month (it may keep longer, but I only kept mine for just over four weeks). Baking time will vary, but will be 15-25 minutes at 400˚F.

Yield: 5 small slices

Hot fudge peanut butter pie

Hot fudge peanut butter pie

I stayed up later than usual last night and went for a longer than long run this morning (it was 55˚F and glorious at 6AM), and I had every intention of coming back and editing the post I wrote about the peanut butter brownie sundaes I ate in the alley with the homeless guys who hang out back, but then I thought, Who wants to read something that long over the holiday weakend? No one. At least that’s what I told myself to get out of editing it. So I have another list for you. One that includes (but is not limited to) things I want, things that make my heart happy, and things that induce deep belly laughs. Enjoy your extra day off, folks!

Are you a morning person? (Petite lady boss with the mouth of a sailor might be the best and most accurate way anyone has ever described me.)

I love a company who listens to their customers.

The best jeans I’ve ever owned.

What Thom wants to name our first kid.

My response to what Thom wants to name our first kid.

Three ingredient peanut butter mousse

If Thom wouldn’t kill me for spending $2,500 on bookshelves, I’d buy these in a heartbeat.

OWNED

I always knew I liked Robin Williams.

My favorite YouTube video. What’s yours?

This is what happens when you let a 4 year old doodle in your sketchbook.

Farmers + urban farming

I’ve always said I’ll never run a marathon but then I found this one and it somehow made its way to the top of my bucket list.

I can’t stop reading this book.

Speaking of books, I’ve been cooking from this and this, lately. And I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Drink, drank, drunk

Crumbly pie doughWhite chocolate chipsCreamy peanut butterCalifia Farms almondmilkCoconut whipped creamHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pie

Notes: I should probably warn you that this pie crust is the crumbly sort and will not cut perfectly clean like your typical pie crust. If you want something more traditional, go this route. Or maybe you’d prefer a graham cracker crust? Pretzel? If you don’t have a scale to weigh the chocolate, you can use just a tad over 1 cup of finely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips. If you’d prefer to make this with dark chocolate chips, I think it’d be delicious and I have plans on trying it. The toppings are totally optional, but I really enjoyed the pie loaded with the works (whipped cream! hot fudge! peanuts!). If you’d prefer to steer clear of coconut milk, just drizzle the chocolate over the top of the pie and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Or just eat it plain, if that’s your thing. If you don’t use a deep tart pan, you will have leftover crust and pie filling.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

HOT FUDGE PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Crust
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons Califia Farms original almond milk

Peanut butter filling
6 ounces vegan white chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup Califia Farms original almond milk

You’ll also need
Coconut whipped cream
Hot fudge sauce
Dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of an 8-9″ tart pan (mine was 2″ deep) with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, blend the flour, peanuts, and brown sugar until the peanuts are finely ground. Drizzle in the coconut oil and pulse until sandy. Add the almondmilk and pulse for 30-45 seconds, until the dough is crumbly but sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Pour the crumbs into the prepared tart pan and press it into the bottom and up into the sides. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork at least 10 times then bake at 350˚F for 14-15 minutes. Transfer crust to a cooling rack until ready to use.

In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the white chocolate chips then off the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, mix in the almond milk and whip for 1-2 minutes. To speed up the rate at which the pie sets, you can set the double boiler insert over a bowl filled with ice and beat for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to cool and thicken. Pour peanut butter filling into the pie crust then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best.

When you’re ready to assemble the pie, top with coconut whipped cream, drizzle with hot fudge (it’s easiest to transfer to a plastic bag and snip the corner), and top with chopped peanuts. Transfer back to fridge to set for an additional 30 minutes, then slice and serve. Pie will keep refrigerated, in an air tight container, for at least 3 days.

Yield: 8-12 slices

Double chocolate almond butter trail cookies

Double chocolate almond butter trail cookies

The mountains have been calling for weeks. Months. Since we returned from our Europe trip. And thanks to a two week break that required zero commitments on our behalf, we’ve been able to spend a decent chunk of time away from the Mile High City. After visiting the Sangre de Cristo Mountains while my not-so-little brother was in town last week, we decided to spend this week in Telluride, where we’re currently nestled within the San Juan Mountains with a hike of one of its tallest checked off of our list. And as you read this, we’re summiting Handies Peak because we can’t leave the area with only one of its 14ers under our belts.

Cacao nibsRaw almondsUntitledDouble chocolate almond butter trail cookiesVanilla bean almond butter

Whether I’m traveling into the mountains, to campus, or around the globe, I like to bring snacks of the homemade variety because buying them is always so ridiculously expensive. And the other problem? Packaging tends to be bulky. Empty containers get in the way and take up unnecessary room once the snacks have been devoured. So my solution has always been the same: Cling wrap. Although there are a variety of ways to store your food to keep it fresh, cling wrap is undoubtedly my go-to when it comes to traveling because it a) allows delicate snacks to maintain their structural integrity, b) keeps them fresher longer than alternative food storage solutions, and c) takes up no more room in my bag than the food itself. I, admittedly, used to be the type who would buy the off-brand cling wrap because I tend to be unnecessarily frugal at times but, at some point, Thom talked me into spending a few extra bucks on the quality stuff and I haven’t reached for the $2 roll, since.

So these cookies. I had them freezing in a double layer of Glad‘s trusty cling wrap for upwards of three weeks, then we packed them up and brought them across the state where they provided energy during our insanely difficult summit of Mt. Sneffels. If you paid me ten thousand dollars to do it again, I probably wouldn’t because I have literally never been as terrified as I was while scrambling to the top of that mountain. When we made the summit I wanted to cry because, truthfully, I didn’t think we had it in us (especially not with Thom being as sick as he is). But instead I pulled two of these cookies from the front pocket of my pack and devoured them within minutes (after taking a few photos, of course). And then I caught my breath, calmed my nerves, and soaked up the immense beauty that resulted due to millions of years of activity in the Earth’s lithosphere.

High fives for plate tectonics, mountain adventures with the one you love, and double chocolate cookies.

Room with a viewWild flowersDouble chocolate almond butter trail cookiesView from Mt. SneffelsMt. Sneffels Southwest RidgeTrail cookie at high altitudeThom making the summit

Notes: I think the first thing I should get out of the way is the fact that these cookies are not exactly fitting for dessert. They’re just barely sweet and are a bit on the dense side, making them great to have for breakfast or as a post-workout snack. The best part about these cookies has to be their versatility – you can replace the chocolate chips with your favorite dried fruit, the maple syrup with your preferred liquid sweetener, the oat flour with buckwheat flour or a gluten free blend, and the rolled oats with rolled kamut or quinoa. If you want to load these up with protein, you can replace 1/2 cup of the oat flour with an equal amount of your favorite protein powder (I’ve used hemp with delicious success), but you’ll want to increase the almondmilk measurement by 2 tablespoons.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ALMOND BUTTER TRAIL COOKIES

1/2 cup vanilla almond butter, recipe follows
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup, room temperature
1/4 cup almondmilk, room temperature
1 1/4 cups oat flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond butter, oil, and maple syrup. Once combined, whisk in the almond milk. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oat flour, sea salt, and baking soda, and stir with a wooden spoon until a thick dough forms. For cookies that are a bit on the dense side (how I like them) add the 2 remaining tablespoons of oat flour and mix until combined. Add the oats, cacao nibs, chopped chocolate, and almond pieces; mix until evenly distributed. Wrap bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared sheet then flatten with your hands. Bake at 325˚F for 14-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store cookies in an air tight container or on a plate covered with cling wrap, for up to five days. If you’d prefer to freeze the cookies, wrap each individual cookie in a piece of cling wrap large enough that you can triple wrap it. Allow cookies to thaw for 4 hours before eating. Will keep frozen, wrapped in plastic, for at least three weeks.

Yield: 9 large cookies

VANILLA BEAN ALMOND BUTTER

1 cup raw almonds
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, optional

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds into a fine meal, then scrap in the vanilla bean. Continue processing mixture until the almonds turn into a thick paste (this maybe take 7-10 minutes). Add the maple syrup and continue mixing until the almond butter is at your desired consistency – the longer you blend, the more oil released by the nuts and therefore the runnier the almond butter. I prefer mine to be rather thick, so I blend it for only a few minutes longer after adding the maple syrup.

Yield: 1/2 cup almond butter

208px-Glad_logo.svg This post is sponsored by Glad in effort to save good food from going bad. Freshness, wrapped up. All opinions are my own.
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