Digging out from the flu/cold that felled the adults in the household last month, I made cookies to ease us back into normalcy. These could and should be an addition to your holiday cookie plate; not only can they be made gluten-free, they are vegan, made from whole, simple ingredients, and definitely worth the brief time it takes to put the recipe together.
We put up our Christmas decorations this past weekend, strung some lights, tried to explain to Sierra what the holiday means (so. complicated. I resorted to focusing on baking because that’s certainly one aspect of this season) and why it’s not obviously celebrated here. In Morocco, where life was much more open, I was surprised to see Christmas-themed displays at the mall and when we were invited to the neighbor’s house for a glass of wine (!) she had a tree tucked into the corner of her living room. These are all, of course, quite commonplace occurrences – the alcoholic drink, the festive tree – in much of the United States but to experience them in a Muslim country was unexpected. How little I knew then! We are now living in the most conservative of Muslim countries so there will be no overt celebration though of course the many, many expatriates living here will do their Christmas usual behind closed doors, we’ll see Santa at the embassy holiday party, I have a lead on acquiring some clandestine poinsettia plants, and there will be lots of other festive gatherings.
We’re also hosting a little holiday tea with cookies and cake for my husband’s office and I plan to have my little one help with making nearly all of it. This particular recipe will feature on the cookie plate as it’s a lovely antidote to the shortbread (delicious) and sugar cookies (kids’ favorites) I’ll be making during the next weeks — all of which are traditional and wanted and just right but sometimes you need some chocolate, you know? And if the chocolate is folded into a chewy whole grain peanut butter cookie all the better.
I’ll post a few more holiday recipes as we lead up to the end of the year, and then it’s back to quinoa bowls with baked sweet potatoes and kale and roasted cauliflower — or, rather, I’ll continue on with those, which I’ve been making for most dinners when I’m on my own or for lunches when I can actually grab a minute or two to sit down. For some reason I’m currently mildly obsessed with baked sweet potatoes and I’ll bake two to three at a time (and they’re a total splurge here, being expensive and imported from the States), stash them in the fridge, and pull one out at whim to drizzle with tahini and soy sauce and whatever other leftover vegetables I have. Quick, hearty, and healthy, eating a bowl of baked sweet potato/etc. makes me feel MUCH better about the multiple cookie chaser to follow.
These simple, very peanutty cookies are easy to make gluten-free if you substitute oat flour for the spelt.
Makes two dozen cookies.
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour) or oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
Heat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk and stir together the peanut butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until well combined. for 1 minute. Add vanilla extract and stir vigorously for another 30 seconds.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until a crumbly dough forms. Add the water and continue to stir until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Roll the dough into balls (about 1½ – 2 tablespoons per cookie), place on parchment paper, and flatten with a fork.
Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden on edges.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.