CINNAMON RAISIN COOKIES (vegan, paleo, nut-free)

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Happy Monday, everyone!

Hurricane Ana brought us a weekend full of non-stop rain, and the cool, grey weather put me in a baking kind of mood.  Yesterday afternoon I made a batch of these divinely aromatic cookies, and I thought this would be the perfect time to share my newest recipe with you all.

Crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside, my Cinnamon Raisin Cookies are so good for so many reasons.  For the past month I have been working on a cookie that is Paleo, vegan, and nut-free, and I was pleased when this recipe turned out perfectly.

Free of eggs, dairy, grain, tree nuts, refined sugar, and gluten, these yummy bites are exactly what I was hoping for.  When I did food allergy testing about 6 years ago, it was eggs and almonds that came up as my two biggest offenders, and I have many friends and family members who also avoid nuts, so I wanted to come up with a baked treat that we can all enjoy without triggering a negative immune response or digestive upset.

Instead of relying on almond flour, which is the most commonly used flour in Paleo baking aside from coconut flour (which requires the use of eggs), my Cinnamon Raisin Cookies feature a base of ground raw sunflower seeds and dried unsweetened coconut. Low in sugar, but rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, I feel great about giving these to my boys at any time of the day, and I rely on them for an energy-packed snack for myself.  They are also the perfect companion to a cup of tea at the end of the day.

If you aren’t crazy about raisins, feel free to use any type of dried fruit instead (I avoid ones with added sugar), or turn these into chocolate chip cookies by using a half cup of chopped dark chocolate chips in place of the raisins.  Don’t be intimidated by the use of ground raw sunflower seeds- you can easily grind them yourself at home using your food processor or a clean spice grinder.

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Yields about 2 dozen cookies 

DRY INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups finely ground raw sunflower seeds (make sure they are not roasted or salted)

1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

 

WET INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled

3 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

First, grind your raw sunflower seeds in a clean, dry spice grinder or food processor.  I have used both methods and found that the food processor is much easier.  You can do a larger quantity at once, and the flour doesn’t clump together, as it tends to do in the spice grinder.  Fit your food processor with an “S” blade, and let it run for about 3 or 4 minutes until the seeds are finely ground.  It’s okay if the sunflower seed flour looks a bit grainy or mealy.  It doesn’t need to be superfine for this recipe.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl, making sure there are no clumps.  Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Stir well until everything is well combined, then add in your chopped raisins and mix well again.  The dough should be quite sticky.

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Scoop your dough by a packed tablespoon measure onto the lined baking sheet, using your finger to scoop the dough out of the measuring spoon.  Make sure that you really pack the tablespoon so that the balls of dough that you turn out onto the baking sheet aren’t full of air pockets.  You don’t want to have crumbly cookies in the end!

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These cookies don’t spread much when they bake, so you can fit 15 on a standard sized sheet.

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Gently flatten the cookies with your fingers, leaving an inch between each pressed cookie.

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Bake for 6-8 minutes until they are slightly golden brown, and crispy along the edges, being careful to avoid overdone cookies.  Remove them from the oven and let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooking rack.  Allow your cookies to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

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Note: Because it’s so humid here I always store my baked goods in the fridge to maintain their freshness, and I love these cookies right out of the fridge.  I’ve found that they stay crisp on the outside for a couple of hours after coming out of the oven, but they tend to lose that crunch after a while.  I’m assuming it’s because of the high humidity here, but I’m curious to know how yours fare in other climates!

Are your cookies green?!

Don’t be alarmed if your cookies take on a slightly green hue and/or turn bright green in the middle.  There’s nothing wrong with your cookies- it’s just due to a chemical reaction between the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds and the baking soda.  I’ve also found that my cookie dough turns green if I don’t bake it right away (I’ll sometimes make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it to bake later). My boys love finding green inside their cookies.

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I love getting your feedback!  Do you have a favorite healthy go-to snack?  I’m always looking for new snack ideas for myself and my boys.

 

 

 

 

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