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everything cookies + sweetness


The sun just shines on and on. I always have to remember that. We’ve been having unseasonably warm and pleasant weather in my pocket of the world. This is concerning in a lot of ways, but it’s also kind of nice. We’ve done some grilling, had time in the sun, gone for longer walks, little green things are poking up in the garden, and most importantly: sandwiching ice cream between cookies has become a bit of a thing. Happy spring days for all. The earth seems to wake up a little bit and give us all a sign of the miracles that lie beneath. A wave hello, amazement, brilliance, life, smiles, everything…

In general I admire everything that cookies represent: portability, preparation, variety, adaptability, staying power, loving gestures and a bit of sweetness. I’ve always gravitated toward cookies like these little wonders: sort of energy bar-ish, lots of stuff in them and oat based. They’re lovely to take on a hike, bike ride, scenic walk etc. and frantically(!) nom at the end of it all. Delicious, wholesome, nutrient dense, gluten free, vegan and surprising.

I made these with coconut sugar, my new sweetener obsession of choice (I’m toting packets of it in my bag for coffees on the road now). It’s derived from coconut tree sap and is kind of brown sugar-ish with a bit of complexity. You can swap it 1:1 for any dry sweetener (like sugar, brown sugar, sucanat etc). I also used a pre-fab gluten free flour blend for these cookies as an experiment. Typically I’ll mix up my own depending on what I’m making, but I realize that this step isn’t for everyone. Convenience won this round and the results were delicious, a perfect everyday cookie. A little rough and textured, yummy surprises within, nicely sweet, a bit complex, open to change/interpretation and particularly wonderful with ice cream. That’s living! Cookie metaphors? You bet we’re going there.


everything cookies
adapted from here
serves: makes 2 1/2 dozen
notes: Give the flax and water some proper gelling time (like a good 5 minutes) to achieve that egg-like consistency. Also, whatever GF flour blend you use, make sure it has potato or some other type of starch in it to hold things together.

3 tbsp ground flax seeds
3/4 cup water
1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup gluten free oats
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2.5 cups add-ins (I used pumpkin seeds, dried sour cherries, chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips)
1/3 cup soft coconut oil (not liquid, but not crazy hard either)
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the ground flax seeds with the water in a small bowl and set aside, stirring here and there. It should be thick and gel-like by the time you’re ready to use it.

In a large bowl, mix the gluten free flour blend, almond meal, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, sea salt and various add ins. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the soft coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add the flax and water mixture. Mix on medium speed until a thick mixture is achieved, about 1 minute. Add the coconut sugar and maple syrup. Mix on medium for another minute.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Mix gently with a spatula until thoroughly combined and there is no visible flour left in the dough.

Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets in heaped tablespoonfuls. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the process. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly on the sheets.

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hännah @ dishesanddishes18/03/2012 - 11:35 pm

I agree that the energy bar-like cookies are best and I love the idea of using pumpkin seeds. I can’t think of a time that I have ever made chocolate chip cookies without sneaking some oats in…it does amazing things for the texture. I’m glad that you’ve been have this kind of whether that makes you want to make ice cream sandwiches. I’m looking forward to having that someday soon too!

Cookie + Kate19/03/2012 - 1:45 am

Lovely, Laura. I really want to snatch one of those cookie sandwiches right out of my computer screen!

Margarita19/03/2012 - 3:17 am

Love the add ins! And the coconut sugar… I’m so curious to try that now.

Elenore Bendel Zahn19/03/2012 - 3:52 am

Wowza! I´m making this <3 I love reading your words, tales, poetry! Hugs:)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugark19/03/2012 - 6:54 am

These are fabulous and so full of goodness! Yum!

Ali @ Farmers Market Vegan19/03/2012 - 7:03 am

Hello, Laura!
Gorgeous photos and yummy recipe, as always.
I was wondering if you could expand on coconut sugar, though? How refined is it? What are its nutritional benefits? Is it high on the GI scale? I’ve been curious about it for a while now.
Thanks!
-Ali.

Laura19/03/2012 - 8:14 am

Hi Ali!
The sugar is derived from the sap of the blossoms. So they tap the developing coconuts essentially for 3-4 weeks. From here, they cook the sap down to concentrate the sugars/flavour (similar to maple syrup making). The final step is dehydration to make the sap into an actual sugar.

Calorie wise, coconut sugar matches up pretty evenly with the regular stuff. It hits at 35 on the GI scale (regular sugar is 64). Generally the lower GI score means that it will be higher in fructose (like agave nectar), but I haven’t found anything speaking to that. The coolest part is the mineral content though. It’s fairly rich in magnesium, potassium (lots!), zinc and iron. It also has 16 amino acids!

I hope that was at least a little bit informative :)
-L

thelittleloaf19/03/2012 - 10:07 am

These look incredibly beautiful, and so full of goodness! Love the idea of sandwiching them round ice cream too :-)

I’m so glad I found your blog! These cookies look amazing!! Great recipe, love all those healthy ingredients. Pinning! :)

Jacqui19/03/2012 - 3:14 pm

My kinda cookie! I really want to find some coconut sugar now too!

Erin19/03/2012 - 3:37 pm

I really love these (like rreeeaallllyyy.) They sound amazing!

sarah19/03/2012 - 4:04 pm

Yum. These are the perfect size! And I *love* that first picture.

Anna @ the shady pine20/03/2012 - 6:57 am

I love all the gorgeous ingredients you’ve used in these. This is one cookie I would never feel bad eating!

Caitlin20/03/2012 - 3:57 pm

i love your add-ins! it reminds me of a granola-ispired cookie, which sounds delicious! the ice cream in the middle makes them an ice cream sandwich filled with fiber! love it.

art and lemons22/03/2012 - 10:11 am

Lots of sun, backyard picnics, and warm days here too. We dug out the garden beds already and are anxious to plant. These little sandwich numbers will be good to get us through these bursts of summer heat.

[…] loved this recipe Laura posted on her (always-lovely) blog, The First Mess. This gluten-free, coconut-sugar-sweetened […]

Sara02/04/2012 - 7:15 pm

I am new to your blog and I am in love, beautiful photos and great recipes. I have never used xanthan gum, or been given the opportunity. Is there a reason in this recipe (gives it flavor, helps the cookies keep longer, etc)? Or maybe you can give me a suggestion to opting out on this additive….

Thank you,
-Sara

Laura03/04/2012 - 8:47 am

Hi Sara,
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the xanthan gum addition, so I’ll lay it out here. Its primary function in my kitchen is to improve the texture and viscosity of gluten free baked goods. In super tiny amounts, it lends a stickiness that holds batters together throughout the baking process. I tend to not gravitate towards really gross additives/non food substances so I’ll explain what it is as well.

The name sounds suspect, scientific, evil etc., but xanthan gum is derived from a naturally occurring substance. It comes from a microorganism called xantomonas campestris, a natural carbohydrate that affects crops like corn. When making it into a gum/producing it in its purified form, manufacturers ferment it for four days. It is then extracted, dried and ground into a powder.

In sum, it’s not my first choice, but I’m okay with using it in small amounts to hold cookies together periodically. I think you could get away with omitting it entirely, but the cookie may be a tad drier/more crumbly. Hope that helps :)
-L

sabrina12/04/2012 - 12:52 pm

These look great!! Quick question on the flax/egg. If I wanted to use eggs, how many would I need to use in this receipe? And where do I find coconut sugar? I have used Agave for years, so if similiar and a 1:1 ration to real sure, it would be easier for baking.

Laura12/04/2012 - 1:21 pm

Hi Sabrina! I would use two eggs to sub in for the flax/water mixture. Coconut sugar can be found at most health food stores or if you live near a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, they would definitely have it. If you are using agave, I would still go with the 1/4 cup measure, but add a couple tablespoons more of the almond or GF flour blend to the dry ingredients to make up for the extra liquid. Hope that helps!
-L

[…] you should most definetly go there now. I´m having a spring fling with all of Lauras recipes! Like these ice cream cookies or this green goddess pizza. A true gem in the world of healthy and super inspiring […]

29+ Pumpkin Seed Recipes17/10/2012 - 4:23 pm

[…] Everything Cookies […]

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