In my ongoing journey to eat less sugar and grains AND at the same time truly enjoy what I'm eating, I went on a search to find paleo cookie recipes.
I found a few recipes I decided to play with and ended up combining two to make these yummy grain-free holiday cookies.
I've also been researching a new sweetener called Lakanto which is made from monk fruit and erythritol. Now I normally steer clear of sugar alcohols like erythritol (the -tol at the end gives it away), but when I saw that Donna Gates, long-time authority in gut health and a huge proponent of all things REAL when it comes to food, promoting Lakanto I decided to look at it more closely. I learned that Lakanto, which looks and tastes just like sugar sugar, has:
- a zero glycemic index, in other words no influence on your blood sugar and insulin release
- erythritol that is fermented from non-GMO corn and is a net zero when it comes to carbs
They had me at 'no influence on your blood sugar and insulin release'. One of the most important nutritional things you can do every day (and when I say you, I mean me too) is to is to eat in a way that will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable and off of the blood sugar roller coaster. No easy feat in our world.
As for the erythritol, it passes through us without being metabolized for energy. 90% of it gets eliminated through urine and the remaining 10% turns into harmless gases and short-chain fatty acids in the large intestine.
Lakanto makes two varieties - classic and golden. I used classic the first time which looks and tastes like table sugar and golden the second time which looks more like coconut palm sugar or sucanat. There are no additional additives in either; they are just processed differently.
So...back to Christmas cookies. I decided to give Lakanto classic a try in making these grain-free Thumbprint cookies and we ended up liking them. A lot.
We filled the 1st batch of thumbprints with melted chocolate and then the 2nd batch with a blueberry chia jam that I also used Lakanto to make.
I will say that when you initially form them, you need to give them a little bit of TLC. Make the balls smaller than you think you should - just an inch in diameter. And when you flatten them and add your Thumbprint, you'll want to smooth out the edges of the cookies because they crack a bit at that point. I also pulled them out just a few minutes early to make that thumbprint a little more pronounced because they started to rise in the center. It was all worth it though because we are loving these and have made a few batches since. The chocolate ones freeze really well. If you're filling them with the blueberry chia filling, freeze some empty cookies and fill them before serving. Both keep well in the fridge all week long if you ration them. Savor away!
Grain-free Thumbprint Cookies
(recipe adapted from King Arthur)
Yield: 24-30 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 8-10 minutes
2 cups blanched almond flour
6 Tbsp. softened butter
6 Tbsp. Lakanto or organic white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all of the ingredients by hand in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms.
- Form 1" balls of dough and set them about 1 1/2 - 2" apart.
- Use your hand or a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4" thick.
- Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until they start to turn light golden brown on top. At about 7 minutes, take a peak and if needed use the back of a teaspoon to reform the indentation in the middle of each cookie.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the pan or on a cooling rack before adding your choice of filling.
Chia Berry Jam:
(recipe adapted from Savory Lotus)
1 and 1/2 cups berries, fresh or frozen (defrost if frozen)
2 Tbsp. Lakanto, organic sugar or maple syrup
2 tsp. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. vanilla
- Bring berries and sweetener to a low simmer in a small pan. Once the berries release their liquid, add in chia seeds.
- Continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat.
- Add vanilla.
- Let cool. Fill Thumbprint cookies. Store unused jam in a covered glass dish in the fridge.
1 tsp. dark chocolate per cookie, chips or bar broken into pieces.
1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil for the entire batch of chocolate for added Friendly Fat (optional)
- Fill a sauté pan 1/2 way up with water.
- Heat pan over medium low heat.
- Set smaller sauce pan inside of sauté pan.
- Add chocolate to sauce pan.
- Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted.
- Let cool. Fill Thumbprint cookies. Put unused chocolate in mini muffin cups and cool in the fridge or pour it on a parchment lined baking sheet and drop in dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cool in the fridge.