Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Blondies

I love a good cookie, or brownie for that matter, but sometimes I’m too lazy to lay the cookies out one by one on a sheet pan (I know! I can’t believe I said that out loud!) and I don’t always want a brownie.  I love chocolate, but sometimes you want something a little different!  Enter these cuties!  They are a one-pan delight with all sorts of flavour and depth and take you less time than it takes to empty the dishwasher to refill it and hand wash the large stuff that’s in the sink….I’ve tested it! ;-P

You can make these using sunbutter (to go to school safely) and peanut butter if you don’t have an allergy like in this house, or try a hazelnut butter or cashew or Brazilnut?  There are some delicious nut butters available out there (or easily made from scratch at home!) so go wild here if you want!

prep

10 minutes

Bake time

20-25 minutes

makes

16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 C all-purpose, unbleached flour (or GF alternative)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 C unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 C almond butter 
  • 1/2 C coconut palm sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 C dark semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Stir in vanilla, eggs and almond butter until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry mixture to wet ingredients 1/3 at a time, stirring until completely combined after each addition.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  7. Spread evenly in a 9X9 baking pan lined with parchment paper (see notes) or use a Multipurpose steamer for silicone non-stick goodness!
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges turn lightly brown. 
  9. Allow 10 minutes to cool before trying to cut. Remove from pan or steamer for cutting.

Notes

If using parchment paper, use long pieces that will overlap each other in the pan, but overhang the sides to allow easy lifting when the blondies are done.

Milk chocolate chips are ok here too, we just like the dark ones.

Crunchy or smooth almond butter both work well, choose what texture you prefer!

The batter will be thick, almost like an oily dough, so be sure to work it around the pan for even baking using a spatula.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip NutButter Cookies

Who doesn’t love a good cookie?  Chewy? Check! Chocolatey? Check! Nuttbuttery?  Check!!  

All the things you could want in one cookie!  I have been known to make these using sunbutter (to go to school safely) and almond butter (we have a peanut allergy in this house!) but if you are a die-hard PB fan I won’t stop you from using it here!  Why not try a hazelnut butter or cashew or Brazilnut?  There are some delicious nut butters available out there (or easily made from scratch at home!) so go wild here if you want!

prep

10 minutes

Bake time

12-15 minutes

makes

24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C softened butter or coconut oil
  • 3/4 C coconut palm sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 nut butter of choice
  • 1 C all-purpose flour or GF alternative
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 2C dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Stir in vanilla, egg and nutbutter until smooth
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Fold in rolled oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Drop by teaspoonful onto a lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown. 

Notes

If using sunbutter (sun flower seed butter) please note that there is often a reaction between the sun butter and other ingredients when baking that will result in the centre of the cookies being a lovely green colour!  This is totally normal (and kinda cool if you’re baking with kids!) so don’t panic!

You can use milk chocolate chips if you prefer those.  We just like the dark ones best here!

These make great neighbour gifts when they shovel your driveway or keep your kids entertained! 😉 

All Butter Scottish Shortbread

These cookies are a staple in our house! When we were still living in Scotland before Mr Fab Food’s papers came through for him to live in Canada, one of our favourite biscuits was a house brand from Tesco (a grocery store chain found all over the UK) – Tesco’s Finest Chocolate Chip shortbread.  We can’t get them here in Canada, they’re hard to ship and have arrive intact and we don’t get over there/have family come here more than once every few years.  So, creating our own version was a must!  It’s taken me years to perfect them to be “the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” according to one friend and “what I imagine Heaven tastes like” according to another.  And this year, so good that folks were placing orders for delivery and pick-up so they could have them at their own home for the holidays!

The basic recipe is from one of my most treasured cookbooks – Maw Broon’s Cookbook – from my Scottish besties the year I lived there and met Mr Fab Food.  Over the years I have played with the recipe to get the most perfect texture and sweetness so that the cookies melt in your mouth, aren’t too sweet and are definitely “moreish” as the Scottish would say.  The ingredients couldn’t be any simpler, but my notes in the bottom give a few tips to make them the most requested cookie at your house too!

prep

15 minutes

Bake time

35 minutes

makes

40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 500g unsalted butter, room temperature, divided 
  • 175 g caster sugar (see notes on this one)
  • 600g unbleached organic AP flour, sieved (see notes on this)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Place 375g of the softened butter in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Melt the remaining 125g and pour over top.
  3. Whip butter using stand mixer, a hand mixer or by hand (this is where having the mixer can come in handy!)
  4. Add the sugar and continue to whip until smooth and creamy.
  5. Mix in flour until the dough is soft and slightly shiny (so you know the flour is completely incorporated in the dough)
  6. Remove from mixer.  At this stage you can add other ingredients for texture and flavour – some faves here are dark chocolate chips, white chocolate & cranberry or toffee bits & chopped nuts.
  7. Fold in any desired add-ins without over stirring.
  8. Scoop dough into 2tsp balls.  Roll into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet.  Press down slightly with fingers or the back of a spoon to flatten.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven for 32-38 minutes depending on your oven.  When cookies are slightly browned at the edges they are done.
  10. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. These cookies freeze well and make great gifts!

Notes

  1. Depending on where you live in the world, caster sugar has a number of names – powdered sugar (not to be confused with icing sugar which is completely different!), quick dissolving sugar or fruit sugar.  And, the reality is, if you’re trying to cut out refined sugar you don’t need any of them!  You can use organic cane sugar or coconut palm sugar in this recipe (I haven’t used caster sugar in 2+ years!!) by blasting your preferred sugar in a coffee grinder until it reaches the soft, powdery consistency you need for these cookies!  The sugar itself isn’t as important as the TEXTURE!  The quick-dissolve is what insures it combines well with the butter and will give you the buttery, flaky cookies you want, rather than the grainier texture you’d get from using granulated sugar.
  2. Melting 125g of the butter has been a game changer for the final texture of these cookies!  “Secret” recipes handed down suggest that hand-kneading the dough is what is key!  The warmth of your hands will help texturize the dough.  That’s fine when you’re baking for friends and family, but when I am giving these away to teachers and neighbours or selling them, we don’t always want to be handling the dough too much!
  3. The final key for soft, buttery, flaky dough is the part in the instructions that says to sieve the flour!  Even AP flour that has likely been sifted before bagging will settle depending on where and how you store it.  That extra step of sieving your flour will break up any lumps or compaction and give it the fluffiest texture!  

Homemade Marshmallows

As the days get colder, the girls request hot chocolate when we get home from school often, especially when the snow comes!  I’ve perfected a dark and delicious “haute” chocolate mix and was on a mission to find decent marshmallows to add to the mix as part of a Kids in the Kitchen workshop we ran with the library last winter.  There are a few available on the market with nicer ingredients but when it came right down to it, the reality was that in order to guarantee my marshmallows didn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup, canola oil or refined white sugar, I was going to have to make my own!  So, here you have it….fluffy, sweet, soft and delicious marshmallows using grass-fed gelatin, raw local honey and pure vanilla!  They melt delightfully into hot cocoa, can be used in other desserts (a crispy treat square perhaps!) or are super fun to eat just as they are!!

prep

20 minutes

set time

4-10 hours

makes

25-40 depending on shape and size

Ingredients

  • 1C filtered water, room temperature, divided in half
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed gelatin (I use Greatlakes Gelatin but use any one you trust!)
  • 1 C raw honey (try and buy local if you can – support your local ecosystem and local beekeepers!)
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/8tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
  • coconut oil (for oiling pan)

Instructions

  1. Place gelatin and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a stand mixer to soften.
  2. While gelatin is softening, add honey, salt, vanilla and remaining 1/2 C of water to an 8 Cup multipurpose pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. While liquid is heating, line a 1/4 sheet pan with silicone liner.  Generously oil the liner with coconut oil and then sprinkle with arrowroot flour.  If you don’t have 1/4 sheet pan and liner, use an 8X8 pan lined with parchment paper (stack the paper in both directions and allow to overhang the edges of the pan for easy lift out later).
  4. When liquid begins to boil, continue boiling until it reaches soft-ball stage (235-245F).  This will take approximately 8-9 minutes of rolling boil.  Watch closely and use a candy thermometer if you have one.
  5. When it reaches soft-ball temperature, remove immediately from heat.
  6. Start stand mixer on low and gently drizzle hot liquid into the gelatin.
  7. When completely combined, increase speed to high and whip until light marshmallow fluff begins.  This can take 6-10 minutes.  Watch it closely.
  8. When it gets light and fluffy, remove from mixer and spread quickly into your prepared pan.  It starts to set FAST!
  9. Smooth surface with an oiled spatula or you can oil your hands or cover with arrowroot flour so you don’t stick.
  10. Set in a cool dry place for 4-10 hours to completely set.  Remove from pan and cut into shape and size you prefer!

Notes

A stand mixer is not necessary for this but I find it easier because of the heat and length of time to reach the fluffy stage.  Drizzling the hot liquid into the bowl with one hand while holding a hand mixer over the hot bowl can be tricky/uncomfortable!  But it is doable.  The Multipurpose pot is also very helpful here because it has a pour spout and handle making the drizzling much easier.

Be sure to have oiled/lined pans ready to go before you start!  Once you reach the soft fluffy marshmallow stage and remove from the mixer, you want to be able to transfer the fluff to the pans quickly as it will start to set very FAST!  Complete setting takes hours, but you won’t be able to spread or flatten into your pan after about 60 – 90 seconds!

When cutting into desired shape, oil or cover knife/kitchen scissors with tapioca starch.  They will stick to the marshmallows if you don’t!  I find scissors to be a bit easier to work with or a pizza cutter.  You may have to play around to find what works best in your kitchen.

Gluten-free Ginger Cookies

These tasty cookies are a modification of one of my favourite recipe assignments during the Culinary Nutrition Expert program!  The modifications came when I was asked to create GF, DF cookies as a birthday party goody bag for one of my sweetest little Kids in the Kitchen pals ever!  Sometimes GF flours are harder to work with when making cookies.  Up until taking the CNE program I had never attempted GF cookies because they were that intimidating!  You want them to be crispy outside, chewy inside and sometimes that is hard when using GF flours!  This recipe has a tonne of flavour and is really easy!  

prep

15 minutes

Bake time

7-10 minutes

makes

24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 3/4 C buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 C coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Gingerbread spice
  • 1/4tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 C coconut oil
  • 2/3 C coconut sugar
  • 1/4 C raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • extra coconut sugar for rolling on dough

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with silicone baking mat or unbleached parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, gingerbread spice and sea salt. Set aside.

3. Gently heat the coconut oil in a saucepan until liquid. Remove from heat and whisk in coconut sugar, honey and fresh ginger. Allow to cool until you can touch it.

4. Once cool, whisk in egg and apple cider vinegar. If you add egg too soon it will begin to cook.

5. Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

6. Scoop dough into 1 Tbsp measures. Roll into balls and roll in extra coconut sugar for nice sparkly texture on finished cookies.

7. Place a few cm apart on baking sheet. Press with cookie stamp, flatten with spoon or leave as balls.

8. Bake 7-10 minutes until fragrant and puffed slightly.

Notes

The fresh grated ginger and extra coconut sugar for rolling are what take this recipe over the top!  If you don’t LOVE fresh ginger, use less but don’t give up on it entirely!  It’s a tuber that grows in the ground – this is one worth sourcing locally and organic!!! 

Coconut flour is great in cookies because it gives a little bit of extra sweet and helps with the chewy texture. However, it absorbs A LOT of moisture so don’t use more than the 1/4 C suggested or your cookies will be dry and fall apart.  You could also use almond flour, but then they aren’t nut free and I wouldn’t be able to send them to school with the girls!