sunny solstice cookies with cacao

If there’s any holiday I can get excited about in winter, it’s the one reminding me that winter, with all it’s darkness and erratic weather, will end. On the solstice, I am all too eager to celebrate, helping push the pendulum towards longer days, and the spring to come.

This recipe attempts to honor everything about this time of year, when the body craves density and creaminess, and the soul craves color and light. The interweb is bloated with holiday cookie recipes that involve rolling, cutting, sprinkling, or glopping with icing, so I see this as a simple healthy alternative that can save you time but still satisfy the sweet tooth. These guys are dairy, grain, and nut-free (not an easy feat for a cookie), so they can make a nutritious homemade treat packed in a school lunch, or to take to parties in which there may be nut, gluten, and/or dairy allergies. Plus, there’s no messy icing, meaning they can travel or ship without congealing into a disastrously UNfestive mess more unwelcome than a fruitcake. There are people out there I am lucky enough to still call friends who have been in the receiving end of such messes. P.S. I am so sorry guys. I know it was, like, 10 years ago, but I should have known better.

Not only does the sunbutter make the cookie exteriors glossy (the refrain to REM’s ‘Shiny Happy People’) has been running through my head ever since I took them out of the oven), but the little crunch of cacao nibs is like a little surprise inside! If you prefer dried fruits or actual dark chocolate chips inside, swap out the nibs in their favor. Enjoy!

sunny solstice cookies with crunchy cacao
Yields 14
A completely grain and nut--free treat that's creamy, delicious, portable, and fun to eat despite not being covered in sticky frosting.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
38 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
38 min
149 calories
12 g
13 g
10 g
4 g
1 g
39 g
105 g
9 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
39g
Yields
14
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149
Calories from Fat 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
16%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 13mg
4%
Sodium 105mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 9g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
2%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/3 cup local honey
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 cup cacao nibs
  10. 3/4 cup chopped dried dark cherries (optional)
  11. Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of your ingredients except the chocolate chunks until they come together and mixed thoroughly.
  3. Once the batter comes together, fold in your cacao nibs and optional dried cherries.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and scoop your batter onto the baking sheet to form 12-14 cookies.
  5. If you're in the mood, arrange a few nibs and/or dried cherries on top to make a smiley face.
  6. If you like a little sea salt on the top of your cookies, sprinkle a little onto each cookie before putting it in the oven.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Notes
  1. Here is a good resource on making your own sunflower seed butter:http://www.tessadomesticdiva.com/2012/09/homemade-sunflower-seed-butter-extra-creamy.html.
  2. Also, my title is a mouthful (I have a weakness for alliteration), so feel free to change it. Shiny Happy Cookies works, too.
Adapted from PaleOMG
beta
calories
149
fat
10g
protein
4g
carbs
12g
more
Adapted from PaleOMG
http://goodphytefoods.com/

paleo pumpkin spice muffins

Have you seen the “exposés” about canned pumpkin not actually being pumpkin (like this one on the kitchn)? Even as a #snacksnark who can’t resist a good food industry conspiracy, I know there’s a good reason for this, and it’s simple: butternut is better. The color is brighter, the flavor sweeter, and the plants are very productive, something I appreciate as a gardener.  No matter what else I’ve f*$#ed up in the weeding, watering, and composting department, the butternut is forgiving, sprawling across the lawn and giving birth to, in a better year, dozens of large, delicious lunkers I can stow away in the basement for a hungry day.  Pumpkins and what we know as winter squash come from the same genus, and have very similar nutritional contents (lots of vitamin A & potassium). So I will unabashedly tell you that these pumpkin muffins are made with homegrown butternut, though certainly I will also use kabocha squash or seminole pumpkin later in the fall and winter. If you want to geek out a little on pumpkins and winter squash, here’s a nice little piece on a blog called Botanist in the Kitchen.

I’ve never been into pumpkin lattes, but I can understand their appeal– warm, rich, spicy, and entirely seasonal. These hit that same spot. Even the first test batch of these vegan and grain-free pumpkin muffins got high marks from my toddler taste-tester, who would devour three in a sitting before I could take a decent photo. The texture of these more resembles a traditional muffin (whoo-hoo!) than some of the other paleo muffins using grated veggies, which I attribute to the moist binding properties of the squash.

Ingredients: butternut squash, local pastured eggs (Modesto Farm), organic coconut flour, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, organic dates, filtered water, spices (I’ll tell you which ones if you ask nicely), baking soda, vanilla extract

 

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)

Have you been duped in the confusing profusion of “energy bars”? Well, I decided I had been duped for the last time a few days ago, trying to choose the “least bad” option for my little guy at the at the store, as he Go-Go-Gadgetted his arms toward everything within view of the shopping cart. Even the best of commercially available ones (those without some kind of rice syrup or other liquid sweetener) are still composed mostly of dried fruits, with some seeds thrown in for texture. Of course they will give you “energy” if they are mostly sugar! This recipe is better for two reasons: Even by weight, seeds predominate, lending a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and minerals. Secondly, I managed to sneak a decent amount of spinach in there. In retrospect, I laughingly admit that these would be much prettier with some goji berries.  See my post on Seedy Superfood Saucers regarding goji berries. Go ahead and add about 1/2 cup of them to the recipe below if you fancy.

Note: There are two options with this recipe. The traditional bar size is made in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, while the saucers use a 24 cup mini muffin tin, which might require two batches. Alternatively, you could have it both ways by using a square 9 by 9 inch baking dish and simply use the remaining mixture for the muffin tin.

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)
Yields 20
Not too sweet, these "space saucers" are mostly seeds, with just enough dried fruit to hold them together. Your little one will never guess they also contain spinach!
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
134 calories
12 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
2 g
29 g
36 g
3 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134
Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 36mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 medjool dates
  2. 8 dried Turkish apricots
  3. 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1 1/2 cup (about 3-4 ounces) fresh spinach leaves, packed down (this should equal at least 1/2 cup purée)
  7. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  10. 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  11. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  12. 1/2 cup chia seeds
  13. ½ cup whole brown flax seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a 9” x 13” metal cake pan with parchment paper, OR grease the cups of a 24 cup mini muffin tin with coconut oil.
  2. Put the pitted dates and apricots in a metal or glass 1 cup measuring cup and pack down. Add about 3 tablespoons hot water and let soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soaked dates and apricots (along with the liquid) to a food processor. (I use a Nutribullet). Add the spinach and blend to a smooth purée.
  4. In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, and puree mixture, mixing till well combined for just a minute or two. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the ginger,cinnamon, and salt.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir the pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, and chia together.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir together thoroughly.
  7. For bars: spread the mixture into the parchment paper-lined metal pan and press down until you have an even thickness.
  8. For saucers: Spoon the mixture onto the greased mini muffin tin and press into each well, patting down firmly so that the mixture comes flush with the top in each one.
  9. Bake at 300 F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool completely on the counter, and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour (or overnight, if it's late!) before moving onto the next step.
  10. For bars: Cut into 20 rectangles.
  11. For saucers: place a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin and gently flip it over, setting the sheet on a counter before lifting the upside-down muffin tin.
  12. Store bars/saucers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (though they will probably last much longer if you let them!)
beta
calories
134
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
12g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/