Raw almond linzer cookies with cherry filling
Chances are, tomorrow will be like any other Friday. I'll wake up three hours before Thom and go to the gym on my own, despite the fact that we've made plans to go together. Unlike him, I'm one of those early bird gym rats who prefers to squeeze in my workout before the meatheads arrive because - I don't know about the meatheads at your gym - but at my gym they refuse to let people work in with them. Which means my hour long workout turns into two and I start getting irritated and hangry and basically shit hits the fan and my morning is ruined.
I'll probably come back from the gym just as Thom's getting ready to leave and, instead of getting in the shower, I'll bake cookies. Maybe brownies. Something sweet to greet him when he gets home. When he returns we'll shower, eat breakfast, then he'll convince me to go to the lab because we have a lot of work to do. So much that it'll carry us into the early evening and, before we know it, it'll be time for dinner. We'll probably order takeout because neither one of us will want to cook (or deal with the crowds), and then we'll go see a movie because we've been dying to see Her (me) and Inside Llewyn Davis (him). Our V-day in a nutshell.
While I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, I am a fan of love and romance and heart shaped goodies, so for you I have a last minute Valentine recipe: raw linzer cookies. Which really shouldn't be left until the last minute because they require a bit of preparation. If you're not into the whole raw thing, give last year's almond linzer cookies with cherry preserves a go. Or, if you are into the raw thing but would prefer something on the simple side, these raw cherry brownie hearts should do the trick.
Notes: I've been getting requests for raw desserts made without dates - so if you want to replace the dates in this recipe, you can substitute 1 packed tablespoon of raisins (soaked for 30 minutes) for each medjool date. If you'd prefer chocolate linzer cookies, add 3 tablespoons of cacao powder to the dough while the almonds and coconut are blending (you'll probably need to increase the almond milk by about one tablespoon, too). If you're not into the high fat content, you can replace 1 cup of the almonds with 1 cup of rolled oats. The jam can be a bit tricky, as 2 cups of frozen cherries can shrink to 1-1 1/2 cups when thawed, so follow these guidelines: if it turns out too thin, thicken it up with an extra teaspoon (or two) of chia seeds; too thick, thin it out with a bit of the reserved cherry juice - unless you pitched the juice, then use water. The jam recipe also makes more than needed because my blender refused to blend 1 cup of cherries. If you're blender is small enough, halve the recipe. And if you're not into cherries, how about raspberry chia jam? Or blueberry (replace honey with dates, raisins, dried figs, etc.)?
RAW ALMOND LINZER COOKIES WITH CHERRY FILLING
2 cups frozen cherries, thawed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2-4 medjool dates, soaked 30 minutes
4 teaspoons chia seeds
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Small pinch of fine sea salt
8 medjool dates
2-3 tablespoons raw almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon cherry juice
Prepare the filling by separating the thawed cherries from the cherry juice; reserve juice in a small bowl. Add the cherries to the container of a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix), along with 2 tablespoons of the reserved cherry juice, lemon juice, and the dates (the more dates you add, the sweeter it will be). Blend on high speed for 30-40 seconds, or until semi-smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chia seeds, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, coconut, and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and process until combined. Add the milk and blend for 30 seconds, just until the dough is smooth. Pat dough into a disc and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When both the dough and filling are ready, line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with raw nut meal. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/4" thick. Using a round 2" cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough scraps. When you've finished cutting the dough, use a small heart cutter to cut the centers out of half of the cookies (don't remove the centers just yet) and freeze for 20 minutes. Once the cookies have frozen, remove the heart centers and spread the uncut cookie halves with about 1 heaping teaspoon of cherry filling and sandwich with the cutout tops. Freeze on cookie sheet for an hour, then transfer to an air tight container. Cookies will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to six weeks. If freezing, allow cookies to thaw for 15 minutes before serving.
Just before serving, stir together the coconut and cherry juice and sprinkle over the exposed jam centers.
Yield: 18 linzer cookies