Quickie: Macadamia and Mission Fig Oatmeal Cookies

I don’t have a ton to say this week—I’d prepared to do a full-photo post with these little guys but I guess I lost a lot of my photos when my hard drive crashed last summer.. boo! *BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER PEOPLES… TODAY!*
Anyways, these are a great snack to carry around, an energy- and mood-booster, full of lots of the good stuff to keep your belly happy and your cells smilin’. I brought these to the Toronto My New Roots Potluck picnic last year (as I posted about) and from what I could tell, they were pretty well-received :).
*Edit, 11:45 pm Korea time
These cookies feature a special, and especially sweet ingredient—Lucuma, an Andean superfood (coming from the same region as quinoa, cacao, maca, camu camu, sacha inchi, and yacon.. wow!). Lucuma, which I used here in powdered form, is a unique fruit known for it’s uniquely sweet and slightly caramel-like flavour. It’s low on the glycemic index and is loaded with Vitamin B3, a nutrient known for its positive effects on depression. The fruit is also chock-full of fibre, iron, and carotene—that beautiful orange stuff (think: carrots, sweet potatoes) that helps steer your cells clear of cancer.
You should be able to find it at your local health food store, or on iHerb (Nativas Naturals is a great brand).

the only remaining photo!

Macadamia and Mission Fig Oatmeal Cookies (Raw, Vegan, Soy-Free, Can be Gluten-Free)
Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats (I used certified gluten-free)

1 cup cashews

2 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp honey or agave syrup

3 tbsp lucuma

3 tbsp filtered water

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1/2 cup organic mission figs, chopped

Directions:

Process 1 cup of the rolled oats, the cashews, coconut oil, honey, agave, lucuma, filtered water as needed, vanilla, and sea salt until it starts to form a ball. Pulse in the rest of the oats and the nuts and figs. (You can easily substitute the nuts and figs to things of your liking—goji beries, slivered almonds, pecans, or medjool dates would all be lovely.). Remove mixture from food processor and use 1 tbsp to measure out and roll little balls. Store in the fridge, and if you plan to keep them longer than a week (though you probably shouldn’t!), store in the freezer as the oats can go rancid quickly.
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Double Dark Chocolate Cacao Chip Brownies with Coconut-Vanilla Icing

Some of the world’s best inventions are by accident.

Post-it notes. Popsicles. These brownies.

In cleaning out my kitchen for an upcoming move (more about which I will share soon), I’ve been emptying my cabinets and trying to creatively use all my ingredients. There were a few flops, a few recipe makeovers, and then there were these.

I tried to make some chocolate granola bars to bring road-trippin this week. But the granola bars were just too good. So good, I decided to slather them with icing, thus converting them from health-snack status to divine, decadent desserts.

Scrumptious, sweet, satiating, and shareable. Very, very shareable. So shareable I had to take them into work, and then bring them on my road trip to ensure all of my friends were able to sample these little delights, and couldn’t take proper pictures at home. So shareable that I had to share them with you.

Double Dark Chocolate Cacao Chip Brownies with Coconut-Vanilla Icing (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

For the brownies:

Ingredients:

Start by making date paste: In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates and 2 tbsp filtered water, adding more water and combining as long as needed to achieve a nutella-like consistency. (Optional: combine in this mixture 1 tbsp bee pollen. 1 tbsp sprouted flax, 1 tbsp hemp or chia seeds, 1 tbsp maca… it’s easy to sneak a few superfood goodies in here!) Date paste acts as a great fruit-based sweetener and binding agent, and if you make extra it can be saved in the fridge.

Leave the date paste in the food processor and then add:

1/2 cup cup walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1 cup oats (I used gluten-free)

3/4 cup cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the food processor until the “dough” starts clumping together and forming a large ball. Transfer out of food processor and press dough into a pyrex tray, flattening with hands.

For the vanilla frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut butter

1/4 cup agave or honey

2 tbsp vanilla

dash of sea salt

Directions:

Make a “double boiler” by placing coconut butter in a small bowl and placing the bowl of coconut butter in a tub of hot water. Stir the coconut butter to aid its melting—it should be pudding-like, not runny. Stir in the agave, vanilla and sea salt, and while the mixture is still hot spread evenly over the top of the brownie base. Sprinkle with cacao powder and store in the fridge so the coconut butter doesn’t melt. Mine made 20 small square brownies.

These are dense and quite filling which is why I highly suggest them for sharing! Or, if you want some bite-sized goodies for later, do the opposite—put the icing at the bottom of a shot glass and top with brownie base. Put in the fridge for a few hours and pop out of the glass with a knife when you are ready to eat—brownie thimbles!

Sunflower Seed Cheez Whiz

I like to call this recipe Cheez Whiz, ’cause it’s like, “Gee Whiz! That was easy!” Thankfully, my cheesy spread has got a much better texture. And won’t kill you softly (and miserably).

Below is the full list of ingredients in Kraft’s Cheez Whiz. Bonus points if you can pronounce all of them. (And don’t even ask about Cheez Whiz “Light.” The only thing it’ll lighten up is the number of times you’ll get to blow out your birthday candles.)

WHEY, CANOLA OIL, MILK, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MALTODEXTRIN , SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SALT, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM ALGINATE, MUSTARD FLOUR, WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE (VINEGAR, MOLASSES, CORN SYRUP, WATER, SALT, CARAMEL COLOR, GARLIC POWDER, SUGAR, SPICES, TAMARIND, NATURAL FLAVOR), SORBIC ACID AS A PRESERVATIVE, MILKFAT, CHEESE CULTURE, OLEORESIN PAPRIKA (COLOR), ANNATTO (COLOR), NATURAL FLAVOR, ENZYMES.

Doesn’t that just scream “yum!” to you? Denatured, highly processed milk ingredients? I’m sure my childhood obsession with Cheez Whiz slothered on white bagels has nothing to do with this little lactose sensitivity I’ve developed over the years… nothing at all.

So for my own epicly awesome and healthlicious cheesy flavoured spread, I looked to my little friend nutritional yeast (a.k.a. “nooch”). Nutritional yeast is a super, super food lending a cheese-like flavour and texture where it would otherwise be amiss in vegan dishes. It’s chock-full of the B vitamins often elusive to those who follow a plant-based lifestyle, and is a complete protein, meaning that it provides all of the essential amino acids required by your body for proper functioning. I like nutritional yeast on popcorn, as a salad topper, pulsed in a food processor with equal parts pine nuts to create a vegan parmesan, or as below, to give my favorite seed-based spread a new lease on flavour. No unwanted, lactose-induced side effects (read: gas) included.

Sunflower Seed Cheez Whiz (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Ingredients:

2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked at least 2 hrs, drained, and rinsed (why soak? read up here)

1/2- to 3/4 cup nutritional yeast (depending on how dangerously cheesy you’d like it to be)

3 tbsp tamari (in a pinch you can use soy sauce – just note it contains gluten)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp miso paste (I used red brown rice 5 year aged miso)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tsp sea salt

extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), as needed for desired texture

Directions:

Process all ingredients together until no visible chunks or clumps remain. If you want a smoother texture you can run some EVOO through the mouth of the food processor as it is running. Spread on pizza or crackers, as a paste in nori rolls or to amp up some wraps, or ad by the spoonful to give a salad staying power. Keeps about 5 days in the fridge.