Monday, March 3, 2014

Say It Five Times Fast: Cocoa Carrot Cookies (gluten free, vegan)

We were amazing this weekend! Bitterly, unfathomably cold weather and a sick preschooler will do that to a kitchen-savvy family. We did some more big-batch baking: granola, sugary coconut mini muffins, and tortillas this time.


And we soaked, because we're soakers: MC's starter, Old Mother Stallard beans from Seed Savers, and whole sorghum (a new ingredient for me - I'll keep you posted). And we also managed some vegetable (bean) stock and some funky cookies, the latter being what we're all actually here for today.

What's funky about them? Well, they're gluten free and vegan and have carrot and cocoa in them. They kind of look like they'd be crunchy like haystacks or chewy like a chocolate macaroon, and yet they are neither. If I can compare them to anything I've had before, it would be muffin tops. Chocolaty muffin tops, with a hefty dose of cocoa and a subtle complementary dose of cinnamon. They are quite lovely, and cute, and have a nice crumb. And after two years of alternative baking, I know to appreciate the following things about them too:

1. Only one grain: ground oats. You could substitute whole wheat or spelt flour cup for cup, maybe quinoa flour too although I find its taste quite offensive (which is sad since it's a v. workable, reliable, wheat-like flour).
2. This is a mostly whole foods cookie! No gums but they still have a good texture on day 2, stored airtight in the refrigerator, and thawed from freezer a few days later. At room temp they get too crumbly, however.
3. Flax seed slurry was a great egg replacer in these. Chia seeds would work fine too, although I think they add a crunch that flax doesn't. Not a bad thing but would probably cut against muffin top thing raved about above.


Cocoa Carrot Cookies
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook (a v. good cookbook indeed)
Yield: 2 dozen cookies

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds*
3 tablespoons water*
1/4 cup olive oil*
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons sugar or brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oat flour (I ground mine in blender)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely grated carrot (2 small or 1 medium/large carrot)
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar or cocoa sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

* You could use one large egg in place of flax seeds and water. Reduce amount of olive oil to 3 tablespoons.

Whisk together flax seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside. Combine olive oil, maple syrup, and sugar in a measuring cup or bowl. In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt and whisk until no lumps remain. Add flax mixture to wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry and combine thoroughly. Stir in carrots. Dough will be wet, allow to rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes (this allows time for oats to hydrate and dough to firm up a bit).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Measure tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle tops of cookies with cinnamon or cocoa sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pan 180 degrees after 7 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple minutes on baking sheet and then transfer them to racks to cool completely before eating. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

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