Posted by Andrea Nakayama
This month’s featured ingredient: gratitude
Wow, has it been a busy month! It’s been filled with celebrations, including my son’s 9th birthday, cookies for the school, and the chill and bustle of the season. I’ve also spent much time thinking and dreaming about the next steps for Replenish PDX, and how to deliver more healthy information and opportunities to all of you.
My son and I traveled south this past weekend to spend Christmas with family and a bit of sunshine. Last night over dinner I thought about how to transform my recent kitchen explorations of gingerbread cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free) into a fun Christmas Eve or New Year’s week project…GINGERBREAD HOUSES!
But really, do with this recipe what you will. People. Animals. Stars. Snowflakes. Shapes for houses. The dough should work well for all and can be eaten by most. And the key ingredient gives it the most welcoming flavor.
- 2/3 cup of softened coconut oil
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 Tbspn vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chia gel (see instructions below)
- 2 cups dark teff flour
- 1-1/3 cup arrowroot (more for dusting dough if sticky)
- 1 tspn baking soda
- 1/2 tspn sea salt
- 1-1/2 Tbspn cinnamon
- 1 Tbspn ground ginger
- 1/4 tspn ground cloves
- 2 tspn finely minced fresh ginger (optional for extra flavor and zing)
- one large dose of gratitude!
Chia seed gel
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1-1/2 cup room temperature water
Soak chia seeds in water. Stir and let sit for at least 1/2 hour. Store in tightly sealed jar in fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl mix the coconut oil, applesauce, molasses, coconut sugar, vanilla and chia gel until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix again. Mix for about 60 seconds or until the dough thickens. Work hands into dough if it needs further combining. This is a good time to add your gratitude.
Divide the dough into two balls and place in the fridge for up to an hour to harden.
Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper, until about 1/4 to 1/3″ thick. If the dough is still sticky, use some more arrowroot to dust the top and bottom of the dough prior to rolling. Remove top layer of wax paper and cut the rolled dough into desired shapes. Place onto cookie sheet.
Bake 8 -12 minutes, depending on the size of the cut-out. These get a bit dry from the teff flour, so check-in on the early side. (House shapes may take longer.)
Let cool before removing from pan to cooling rack.
Options: You can use raisins or cranberries to decorate, before baking. Or some coconut cashew cream that can be made ahead and refrigerated until hardened to spread atop already baked cookies or fed into a piping bag to decorate after the cookies have baked and cooled.
This month I am moved less to talk about some of the odd ingredients in this recipe, like teff flour, coconut sugar, or chia seeds*–which have all become friends of mine in the kitchen. I won’t wax on about the benefits of ginger and its ability to soothe a sore throat, a burn on the skin, or a queasy stomach. The ingredient that most shapes this year for me is gratitude.
It’s been a tremendous year for me. Watching my son grow and learn, immerse himself in books and games of chess; discovering new levels of health, balance, friendship, and love in my life; and having the great opportunity to help some of you on your own paths to wellness through my counseling, classes, and recipes. I thank you all for the willingness to try many cookies with many odd ingredients, but mostly for the blessings of your presence in my life.
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