I am surrounded by suitcases, scattered clothes, and the sense that I am forgetting something vital. It can only be one thing, of course: the hell that is packing. I hate it with a passion veering on angina. Seriously. Summer clothes that I have had for years suddenly become invisible; dainty peep-toes and sandals vanish; nothing I have seems to go with anything.
‘Bag lady goes on holiday’ is the look I usually sport.
We are off to beautiful Split tomorrow, but what I didn’t want to forget was to write and schedule for posting this quick, incredibly easy recipe. The approval ratings from Instagram ‘likers’, and from select friends and colleagues who sampled a batch, have made me prioritise this above a last-minute St Tropez spray tan (£15 special offer!) and the need to acquire an instant capsule wardrobe. The things I do for you.
This is a naturally grain-free, vegan winner of a recipe. Lower sugar, too. No special ingredients, no funny binders, no tricksy method: just blend, press onto a tray and bake. And wait a wee bit for them to cool and crisp. That last bit is the hardest. At least for us.
The recipe makes a baker’s dozen (13) so nick one extra for yourself. I won’t tell. Oh, I should at this point mention, as with many vegan, grain-free sweet treats, these are not ‘diet food’. So, if you are minding the calories or kilojoules, remember to exercise portion control. Says the lady who ate 5.
Now, where did I lose my razor…
Cashew and Coffee Cookies (grain-free & vegan)
Make these with any mild nut or seed butter that you like (walnuts and pumpkin seeds are a bit overwhelming on their own, I think), or in combination. If you wish to use whole nuts like I did, the instructions are at the bottom of the recipe. Otherwise, use a jar of good quality nut butter. Suggestions for fancying them up are included too.
250g (1 cup) cashew butter or other nut or seed butter (here’s my adaptable recipe for sunflower seed butter)
3 tbsp best maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 tsp coffee extract (more to taste)
Pinch of salt
Chocolate-covered coffee beans, freshly ground ‘chunky bits’ of coffee, or a mix of espresso powder and cocoa powder – to top if you wish
1. Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)/180C/350F. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
3. Roll the dough into 12-13 balls and press onto the lined tray with a fork. They may split a bit on the edges so push them back together a little with the flat of your hand. Press a coffee bean into each cookie – or sprinkle with ground coffee. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then leave to cool on a counter-top. The cookies won’t brown, but when you leave them to cool they crisp up like shortbread. Also, they don’t take much rough handling so ease them off the tray with care.
4. If you haven’t topped with coffee beans or ground coffee, sprinkle over some espresso powder and cocoa. These keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. In theory.
Making with whole nuts or seeds – use 1 1/2 cups of nuts or seeds, lightly toasted in the oven for 6 minutes.
Variations – fold in a handful of mini chocolate chips; top with halved nuts or some seeds; ditch the coffee flavour and stick with vanilla (increase by 1/2 tsp) or add in some cinnamon or cardamom (both!).
Equipment – I used my Froothie Optimum 9400 ‘super blender’ but you can use any high-powered blender or heavy-duty food processor. This is more vital if using whole nuts or seeds, but is also highly recommended with heavy – potentially motor-challenging – ingredients like nut butter. Both my blender and my Froothie Optimum 600 juicer get used daily – sometimes more. I shall be posting more recipes using these “powerful beasts” very soon, but do know that these and previous blender recipes can be used in other high-powered blenders/juicers, and I will give adaptations for those without such equipment.