This will be my last note to you before Christmas, and hopefully by now you’ve finished up work and are driving/flying/preparing for a lovely family celebration (or three!) tomorrow. If you’re NZ or Australian based, it might involve the beach, a BBQ, or a big shared lunch in a sunny garden. Meanwhile if you’re on the other side of the world, perhaps you’ll be building snowmen in the snow, crowding round a magically lit Christmas tree, or enjoying a warming dinner full of mulled wine, roast potatoes and Christmas pudding.
Wherever you are, I hope you have a magical day ahead. No matter how big or small your celebrations are, it’s always wonderful this time of year I think, getting together across cities and oceans with the ones you love most.
I’m assuming you’ve already got your meal plan prepped for the big day (and if not, I’ve included a few of my favourite recipes below). So this week I wanted to share with you a super simple and healthy Chocolate Chip Almond Cookie recipe. They make the perfect stocking stuffers, or just a great little number to have stashed in your pantry over the next few weeks.
These yum balls cookies are super simple to make and require only six ingredients. Almonds, oats, coconut, dates, vanilla and of course the ubiquitous chocolate. And yet the flavour combination is amazing. Simple is always best, right? These little cookies are perfect for adults and kiddies alike, are dairy, gluten and refined sugar free (so everyone's happy), and as always are made from 100% plant-based whole foods.
The almighty almond
The star ingredient in these cookies is the almighty almond, which needs no introduction. Almonds are a lovely little tree nut native to the Middle East (which is why they work so brilliantly with Moroccan flavours, like my Pomegranate Cauliflower Couscous Salad last week). As with many nuts they’re high in protein (21%) which helps us with cellular and muscle repair. They also contain lots of vitamin E which protects our cell membranes from oxidative damage (aka aging) - 20 almonds provide a third of our recommended daily intake. The same little handful also contain over 20% of our daily magnesium intake, which assists in muscle relaxation and helps us fall (and stay) asleep. Almonds are also one of the only alkalising nuts, which means they promote an environment of disease-prevention in the body, in contrast to meat, dairy and alcohol which foster an acidic disease-forming environment.
One thing to note with almonds and most nuts is that they contain a compound called phytic acid in the skin. Phytic acid binds to some minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc, preventing them from being absorbed fully by our bodies. Which means all those iron and calcium packed foods might not be getting their lovely way into your blood stream as much as you think. In saying this, there are also a lot of antioxidants in the skins of nuts, so blanching is not necessarily the best way to go. My top recommended way to prepare them is to either soak, dehydrate or oven-dry, or lightly roast them at a low temperature. While roasting does have the potential of oxidising some of nuts' valuable omega 3 oils, if it’s done at a low temperature for a short period of time these effects are minimised (if you’re interested in the ins and outs of soaking, dehydrating and roasting nuts, I’ve written about it before here.)
Back to these lovely cookies. They only take 15 minutes to whiz up and roll into balls, then you can either bake them for 10 minutes in the oven at 160°C, or dehydrate them for 12 hours at 46°C (I use this dehydrator here). If you don’t have a dehydrator and still want to try the ‘raw’ version, you can pop them in the oven on fan bake at 50°C (generally the lowest setting), pull the door slightly ajar (put a wooden spoon in there if needs be), and dry overnight. If you’re trying this option though, I highly recommend doing it in the evening so your oven (and power usage/carbon footprint) can at least double as a dining room heater!
I hope you’ll make these gorgeously simple and delicious cookies over the coming week, and share them with your family and friends. No one can say no when offered a homemade cookie and a cup of tea, especially when they’re as healthy and delicious as these!
As always, if you try them out I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below or take a snap on Instagram and tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics - I’d love to come say hello and see what you come up with!
Merry Christmas, and thanks for being with me this year – whether it be reading my blog, leaving your lovely comments on Facebook, or sharing your recipe recreations on Instagram. I’m wishing you an amazing day tomorrow, full of lots of love, hugs, and as always, a healthy dose of delicious plant-based whole food.
PS I promised you some of my favourite Christmas recipes, here’s a few we’re going to be serving alongside a BBQ of vegetarian sausages and grilled veges tomorrow!
Pomegranate Cauliflower Couscous Salad
Raw Beetroot Salad
Pesto Potato Salad
Raw Christmas Cake
Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Summer Strawberry Cheesecake
Mango and Turmeric Cheesecake
Key Lime Tart
Coconut Cashew Chia Cream
Takes 15 mins + 10 mins to bake (or overnight to dehydrate).
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Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possible
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon