Our Summer Solstice 2014 was marked by
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a potluck picnic at the park, with a pretty cool group of healthy foodies.
There’s always the what-to-bring dilemma, with none of my go-tos begging the mood or the occasion. If you’re a follower of The Veggies or know me personally, cookies are a mainstay
It seemed like a good time to turn my attention to the dog-eared pages of two cookbooks that have been permanently opened on my desk the past couple of months: Nourishing Traditions and The World’s Healthiest Foods
Nourishing Traditions – A book that’s both a bible of useful recipes, as well as an argument for a considered a holistic relationship to food and diet.
The 50-page introduction alone provides a wealth of information on vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbs, beverages, sugar, milk, allergies, and additives. It’s deeply empowering. I don’t think anyone could read the words and not want to re-evaluate their relationship with what they put in their mouth
As I paged through the enormous selection of whole food recipes, I found myself distracted by the quizzes called “Know Your Ingredients .. Name that product” (I got a few of them without looking!) As well as the sidebars discussing populations from around the world, who’ve stayed close to their traditional ways of eating, and the enormous benefits they’ve reaped. Compared to populations that have adopted a “Western diet,” the contrast is breathtaking.
Also worth noting is a section discussing the health values of fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Information around the pure evilness of sugar, and the importance of saturated fats in a healthy diet (no trans-fats) are emphasized as well.
I have to admit; it was hard to pick just one recipe to try. There were so many that looked good, but in the end, I’m glad this one made the cut. It pushed me out of my comfort zone
Bulgur was a grain I knew of, but I hadn’t used very often in cooking, much less baking. Essentially it’s whole wheat berries that have been steamed, cooked, dried, and cracked. It’s available in fine, medium, and coarse grains.
Bulgur flour? Not as easy as I thought and definitely not an off-the-shelf product. Turns out it can be made at home if you have a grain grinder. Alternatively, I used Bob’s Red Mill Light Bulgur which wasn’t as fine as flour and gave them a nutty, chewy texture.
For a lesson on all things Sweet Potato, I turned to The World’s Healthiest Foods. Even if you’d consider yourself an expert, I bet you’ll find yourself saying, “Huh, I didn’t know that!” For example, my go-to method has always been roasting in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper, although they recommend steaming (from a nutritional standpoint).
I steamed, it was just fine.
The dough was easy to make in the food processor and was a bit wetter than a standard cookie dough. I tucked it away in the fridge for 72 hours (a standard for me, I always let cookie dough sit 72 hours after reading this article in the NYTimes) Although the recipe says they can easily be baked right away.
All in all
They were wonderful. Soft and chewy, with the spices lending a great depth of flavor. Definitely not in super sweet category, though between the sweet potato, vanilla, and maple syrup they taste just sweet enough.
The texture is distinct. Almost (?) the consistency of a muffin, as opposed to a more traditional cookie. Not a negative by any means. The bulgur giving them an interesting mouth-feel, which I was glad for.
Just the way a cookie should be!
ps: If you have experience or tips about these sprouted grain flours, or grinding flour at home if you would be willing to leave a comment or two, I’d be interested
pps: The secret to a really good cookie? Let the dough rest 72 hours before baking your cookies
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~ Adapted from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions Cookbook
Sweet Potato, Raisin, and Pecan Cookies
- 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes (or about 2 medium)
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups fine bulgur (bulgur flour)
- ½ cup raisins, divided
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- Steam the Sweet Potatoes
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into ½" slices
- Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2" of water. When the steam has built up, add the sweet potato slices and steam for 5-7 minutes
- Transfer to a bowl, let cool, and mash.
- Toast the Pecans
- In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, melt 1 tsp coconut oil
- Add the pecans and cook 2-3 minutes until they are lightly toasted, stirring frequently to make sure they don't burn
- Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely
- For the Cookies
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor (reserving ¼ cup of the raisins and toasted pecans) Process until well blended.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl and fold in the remaining raisins and toasted pecans.
- For best results, chill at least overnight in the refrigerator (72 hours is best) although they can easily be made right-away
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- On baking day, form the dough into walnut-sized balls and bake for 5 minutes. Lightly press the cookies down with the back of a fork.
- Bake another 15 minutes, or until their edges have set
- Let cool on the baking sheet 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.