Tag Archives: cookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There’s nothing more comforting and satisfying than a deliciously chewy chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven–except one that doesn’t make you feel guilty straight after eating it! You can enjoy these paleo chocolate chip cookies every once in a while without getting that glucose-crash or feeling completely gluttonous. And they are ridiculously delicious!

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies (Adapted from Running to the Kitchen) (Difficulty-Easy; Makes a dozen cookies)

  •  1 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp. melted organic extra virgin coconut oil 
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut milk
  • 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add wet to dry and mix together. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut if using. Scoop a tablespoon of dough into your hands and shape into a ball. Bake for 10-11 minutes until bottoms just start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They will be soft when removed from oven but firm up in a couple of minutes.

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Coffee Flavored French Macarons with Hazelnut Filling

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Although I’ve never really understood the hype, I have a coworker who is COMPLETELY obsessed with French Macarons. She knows every bakery in the Los Angeles area that sells them, and her boyfriend buys her a box of macarons for her Birthday gift. So I thought I’d attempt them for her for a little office pick-me-up. She had told me her favorite flavor was coffee and I already had a jar of hazelnut spread in the refrigerator that I wasn’t going to be eating myself–how perfect. Besides, while the brightly colored macarons in magazines are pretty adorable, I hate to use all that artificial food dye. And I have always been a fan of coffee flavored desserts.

Before I started doing some research, I had no idea how temperamental these little airy sandwiches were. But I should have known I’d be dealing with a fussy meringue batter. Actually, for a first pass, the recipe I ended up using was relatively forgiving. I started to take a few off the pan and realized I didn’t allow them to cool long enough and the bottoms caved in, but once I gathered some patience, they held up quite well, resulting in a shiny sleek flat bottom, perfect for sandwiching. Like all macaron cookies, I found them much too sugary, but my coworker loved them, so much that she refused to share ANY with her boyfriend. So if you too are a french macaron fanatic or looking for a good recipe, here it is. Be ready to spend a good couple hours with this recipe. There will be notes below on techniques, but generally speaking, it is very important to stick closely to the directions in regards to timing and temperature, as with any egg-white based batter, it is annoyingly sensitive. It is recommended that you use a scale for more accurately measured ingredients, but I actually used standard measuring cups and spoons and had no problems with this recipe adapted from David Lebovitz. If you have a scale though, might as well put it to use.

Aged Egg Whites: One of the most important keys to a French Meringue is aging the egg whites at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. As with most baking, all ingredients should be at room temperature, but this is ESPECIALLY important when it comes to making a meringue based batter. If you have ever made an egg-white based batter, you know that cold egg whites are much more difficult to transform into stiff peaks. The scientific explanation behind this is that at room temperature, the egg whites retain less moisture and their protein bonds are less tightly formed, making it easier to ‘de-nature’ or unfold the protein structures (ovalbumin) in the egg whites. Thus, any excess moisture or fats (e.g. water drops, oils, butter left in your mixing bowl) will also weigh down the egg white-sugar mixture and weaken your peaks. It is also important to use a metal bowl to whip the egg whites (this goes for fresh whipped cream as well). Many people also prefer copper bowls.

Parchment or Silicon? When I made this recipe I used silicon baking sheets to line the baking pan, but I actually recently came across this great guide on Not So Humble Pie.  According to her baking tests, she found that parchment paper in general produced better results, though both are viable options.

Don’t Overbeat! As I said before, egg whites are very temperamental. Once they have become stiff peaks, it is important not to beat them too much more or the peaks will begin to loosen and you will end up with a sloppy, liquidy mess. When it is time to fold in the almond meal, fold with a spatula until it is well incorporated. It should not take more than fifty strokes. Test the batter by piping onto the pan; the surface of the batter should settle smoothly on its own. If a little curl forms at the top, fold the batter a few more times.

Resting the piped batter: After you have piped even 1″ circles onto the baking sheet, tap the sheet lightly against the counter or hard surface to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the batter. At this point, the batter needs to rest at room temperature for about an hour, or until the macarons develop a skin on the surface.

Lastly, use a thermometer to make sure your oven temperature is accurate.

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French Coffee Macarons with Hazelnut Ganache Filling (slightly adapted from My Diverse Kitchen) (Difficulty-Advanced; Makes ~15 macarons)

For the Macaron shells:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  •  ½ c. almond meal
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature (aged for 2 days)
  • 5 Tbsp. granulated sugar

For the Ganache Filling:

  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
  •  1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. Nutella or other Hazelnut spread

Make the shells: Line two baking sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch) ready. You may also use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off, for piping.  Pulse the powdered sugar, almond meal and coffee powder in a small chopper or food processor until incorporated.

With a hand held electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm (about 2 minutes).

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag.

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Pipe the batter on the lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart. Tap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. Keep them at room temperature for about an hour until a thin film forms on the macaron batter. If you lightly touch a macron and the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it is ready.

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Bake at 315-325 degrees F for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool completely, at least 30 minutes, before peeling off the lined pan. Transfer to a wire rack until ready to fill.

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Make the ganache: Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Add the Nutella and mix well. Let cool completely before using. When ready to fill the macarons, spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a plain large tip.

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Assemble: Pipe a bit of ganache on the inside of the macarons, then sandwich them together. Be careful not to use too much filling or it will weigh down the delicate shells and possibly crush them. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days-if they last that long. IMAG0051

Rugelach Cookies

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My friend hosted an end of Passover celebratory dinner for all of her Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike. Since during Passover, any foods that are leavened (grains risen through a biological fermentation process) are forbidden , she made sure these foods were in abundance at the dinner party, including bagels and noodle kugel, and she couldn’t leave out the brisket! While this was no traditional Passover event, I was excited to experience my first Passover party nonetheless. And since the whole focus of the dinner was essentially on carbs, I jumped at the chance to make my mom’s delicious rugelach cookie recipe. Actually, these cookies are kosher for Passover since they do not contain yeast or any other leavening agent for that matter–score! So feel free to make them for any upcoming Jewish occasions, or if you just feel like a big bite of cinnamon-sugary cream cheese heaven. Ironically, they are a Christmas cookie staple in our house. 🙂 IMAG0729

Rugelach Cookies (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 4 dozen cookies)

Cookie Dough:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 2 c. all-purpose unbleached flour

Filling:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
Make the dough: Using a stand or handheld mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Lower the speed, and gradually add the flour until a solid dough is formed. Divide the dough into three equal balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
 
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Assemble the cookies: Preheat oven to 350° F. To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts in a bowl.
 
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Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a clean surface to roll the dough out. Place one ball of dough on top of the filling mixture and roll dough into a 9″ circle. Sprinkle a generous scoop of filling onto the dough and spread evenly.
 
 
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Using a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 equal parts.  Tightly roll each piece of dough from the outside into the point. Place the cookies point side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes.
 
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Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These are the last thing but Primal, but I made them a few months ago for a friend’s birthday so I thought I’d share the recipe. The combination of the chocolate, nutella and sea salt is perfect! A caramel filling in place of the nutella would also be yummy. Bake with caution–I would definitely save this one to bring for a gathering or give away to friends.

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Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

(Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 2 dozen cookies)

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground into a flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large organic egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts and use a small food processor to grind them into a flour when cool. Whisk together the ground hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

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With an electric or stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Chill your dough for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Once dough is chilled measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. Place 1 teaspoon of chilled nutella in the middle and fold dough around it; gently roll into a ball — it doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled! Make sure that the nutella is not seeping out. Add more dough if necessary. Place dough on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and flatten with your hand VERY gently.

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Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

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Almost Primal Valentine Cookies

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Every Valentine’s Day I bake my favorite linzer hearts recipe from my Aunt Nancy. So this year I wondered if I could make a grain-free linzer heart. I made the dough replacing flour with almond meal, and confectioner’s sugar with a little honey. Even after refrigerating the dough for several hours, I was able to roll the dough out, but it was too wet for the hearts to hold their shape. Alas, I settled for round almond ‘shortbread’ cookies and made a little heart shaped well for Penzey’s Raspberry Enlightenment, which is not so primal but I only used about 1/2 tsp. per cookie so I don’t think its the worst thing you could eat. They were quite tasty, but I do have to say I miss the crumbly flaky texture of the decadent linzer heart sandwiches. Oh well! Maybe next year I’ll find the solution. In the meantime, enjoy these cute little treats!

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Grain Free Shortbread Cookies (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 12-14 cookies)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. organic honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. almond meal

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

raspberry jam or Raspberry Enlightenment from Penzeys

small heart shaped cookie cutter

Cream butter and honey together on medium speed with a stand or handheld mixer. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the almond meal, baking soda, and salt and mix until dough is formed.

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Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll about 1 Tbsp. of dough into balls and lightly press down onto a baking sheet with your fingers so they are flattened. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack or wax paper to cool.

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When cool, use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to make a well in the center of the cookie. Fill with raspberry jam or Raspberry Enlightenment. Enjoy with your loved ones! ❤

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