the chewiest almond butter cookies {goddamn you, gwyneth!}

IMG_6888IMG1231
There was a time when I would devour the contents of my dinner plate within a span of two minutes. I was a marathon eater, a clock-watcher, an Olympian when it came to food consumption. I would eat simply to swallow, to move on to the next thing. Perhaps this comes from my childhood where I often wondered from where my next meal would materialize. Back then, you ate your food before someone else did. You ate your meal wondering if it would be your last. There was a summer when my family subsisted on potatoes, butter, and a hot pot. When we were flush, we feasted on chicken legs and quarter bags of cheese doodles from the local bodega–but these occurrences were rare. So now, even as I’ve been privileged to live a life of food abundance, I still flash back to my youth, and inhale every meal without being present.

Before my three-month program with my nutritionist/food coach commences, I’ve been really observing what I eat over the course of a day, and I often ask myself whether what I’m about to ingest will both nourish and sustain me. Am I savoring every bite and will the space between meals be less of a longing and more of a celebration, a siesta if you will? Otherwise, why bother. Why shovel food in your mouth just because?

Offline, I’ve been chatting with a lot of my close friends and have wondered how this demonstrable shift in my life will affect my baking and the kinds of recipes you’ll see here in the coming months. I have given this a lot of thought because I REALLY enjoy baking and the alchemy of ingredients, and the idea of photographing quinoa and chicken every day makes me CRY BUCKETS.

Then I had a thought. Why not make the very best pastries I can find {full-fat, full-flavor} as occasion treats, mixing in more virtuous desserts, which are not replacements for the sweets I love {don’t you dare talk to me about apple sauce in cakes because I’m not here for it}, but add a new dimension of flavor–desserts that take me to a new place rather than a revisit of the tired and old. It’s the difference between having homemade pasta with shaved truffles versus a box of dry noodles you dump into hot water.

Essentially, balance. Bake, but bake brilliantly and thoughtfully. Croissants mixed with these cookies and roasted veggies.

Now about these cookies. My friend Amber is over right now, and she can attest to the fact that these are THE BUSINESS. These chewy, rich cookies have no eggs, wheat, butter, sugar, or dairy of any kind and they are INCREDIBLE.

SERIOUSLY. ASK AMBER. THEY’RE THAT GOOD.

The almond butter flavor is pretty pronounced {you can use any nut butter, really}, and there is a smoky sweetness from the syrup, which pairs perfectly with the crunchy sea salt that christens the cookie. Honestly, these protein-packed cookies are a great treat for when you’re suffering from all the sugar cravings.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook.
1½ cups gluten-free flour (add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum if flour does not contain it)*
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup natural almond butter {I made two batches, and in the second batch I mixed ½ almond butter with ½ peanut butter}
1 cup good quality maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp Maldon sea salt
*Note: I didn’t have xanthan gum on hand, and my cookies turned out fine.

DIRECTIONS
Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk or mix all the dry ingredients {flour, salt, baking powder}. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients {almond butter, maple syrup + vanilla extract}. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients with a fork and mix to completely combine.

Drop a tablespoon of mixture onto prepared baking sheets, ensuring that you’re creating small disks. Sprinkle each cookie with a small amount of Maldon salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes and cool on a rack before serving.

IMG_6884IMG1231
IMG_6887IMG1231

cookie recipes sweet recipes