Marvelous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan!)
Posted Mar 22 2010 12:00am
Unfortunately, an onslaught of review requests these past few months kept me from getting to one of my newest gems, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. But ever since I finally cracked it open, I haven’t put it down. It is dusted with flours and splattered with oil, and already deemed a staple in my kitchen.
Since this is a recipe blog, not a review blog, I only share those cookbooks here that inspire some delicious recipes, and this one certainly has. Beyond helping me with my new CSA load with a recipe for Balsamic Roasted Beets and another for Collard Wraps , I quickly gained appreciation for the healthified desserts in this cookbook .. and in typical Alisa-fashion, I jumped straight to the cookies!
The Cashew Coconut Cookies were the first to catch my eye. My husband isn’t a big fan of coconut, but I knew an easy swap for chocolate chips would win him over. And as I taste-tested the dough (come on – you always have to taste test the dough, right?!), I thought it was very good, but perhaps just a touch too healthy for our current cravings. The dough had a mild shortbread sweetness, while we were both craving a sweeter treat. So I made a few adjustments and additions, and viola! My slightly less healthy, but still quite virtuous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip version.
Just so you know – I did try to “gluten” these cookies in a second batch, since I know that many of you don’t have a problem with wheat (all of the recipes in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook are gluten-free), and may not have the flours and xanthan gum on hand. I replaced the brown rice flour with whole wheat pastry flour and removed the xanthan gum. I kept the starch since these are egg-free. The cookies worked, but just weren’t as good in my opinion; they were a wee bit too sweet and spread a bit more. I actually really like them the gluten-free way. But, if I were to trial them again with wheat, I would probably switch to cornstarch or arrowroot for the tapioca (it seems those starches yield a softer product) and would reduce the maple syrup by a tablespoon or two. It was a bit overpowering with the wheat, but a nice contrast with the brown rice flour. Just wanted to give you a heads up on that, in case you feel like experimenting!
Here is a pic of my wheaty results – I split the wheat batch, trialing some with raisins (pictured), some with cranberries, and some with chocolate chips – the chocolate chips won hands down.
And yes, even though there are no known problems with wheat/gluten in my household, I always keep various gluten-free flours and starches on hand. It started several years back with some recipe-testing for a few gluten-free / casein-free companies … but I quickly learned that the different flours offer new textures and flavors that are yummy in their own right. So, I just sort of kept stocking them. Fortunately, brown rice flour, tapioca starch (see my sub note above) and xanthan gum can now be found in most major grocers with ease.
Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies
I adapted this recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre.These cookies have a unique but addictive flavor that is maple-rich. Once allowed too cool, they are very cohesive, particularly for gluten-free gems, yet they still have a nice cookie dough-esque texture that I simply adored.
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free.
Place the nuts in your spice grinder (or food processor) and pulse until you get a powdery /coarse flour-like consistency. It is okay if a few little cashew bits remain, but if you go too far with the grinding, the cashews will turn into a nut butter.
In a mediume bowl, combine the cashew flour, brown rice flour, tapioca, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Briefly set aside.
In a mixing bowl, blend the oil, maple syrup, sugar, and water. Blend in the flour mixture until you get a nice dough. Stir in the chocolate chips.
The dough may seem a bit sticky / greasy, but I still found it fairly easy to loosely shape into balls and place on the cookie sheet (I line mine with a silicone baking mat). If the dough is just too much to handle, pop it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes, it will firm up quickly. Flatten the dough balls a bit – these cookies don’t spread much as they cook, so what you see is what you get.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. If your husband’s greedy hands try to pop them off the baking sheet while hot, they will be crumbly, but they do firm up quite a bit as they cool.