As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays (and it still is!).
It’s not just the dressing up in costumes. It was the idea of going house-to-house, asking for candy, and actually being able to eat it!
My childhood home was completely devoid of sugar—and I mean completely.
Did you know there are two grams of sugar per serving of Rice Krispies? Only Cheerios were allowed because, you know, only one gram of sugar per serving, so it was only half as bad for you.
I grew up putting taco sauce on hot dogs because ketchup has sugar in it. Yes, ketchup was banned but hot dogs were okay.
I think we all have places in our lives where our decision-making is a bit contradictory on a case-by-case basis. I have a close friend who is very diligent about consuming organic food and yet drinks Diet Coke all day long.
I have a rule in my home that all desserts need to be homemade. The idea being that you must really want that cupcake if you’re going to take the trouble to bake it and ice it and this also results in less consumption of sweets.
Until recently I subscribed to the idea that if you are going to indulge, you ought to do it right. Eat the butter. Eat the eggs. Eat the gluten. Eat the white sugar. Just don’t indulge so often. Lately, that doesn’t seem to be working for me. Now, when I indulge in a “real” cookie or cupcake, I pay for it with what feels like a hangover. My body has become so finely-tuned towards simple preparations of plant-based foods that even the occasional rich dessert cannot be tolerated without consequence.
So I am officially on the vegan-gluten-free-honey-sweetened-dessert bandwagon these days.
Back to candy eating at Halloween. As a kid, gathering all that forbidden treasure was a major high. My parents would let my siblings and I indulge in the candy for a day, maybe two, and then we turned the contraband over to them (I later learned they stashed anything chocolate in the freezer). I tell this to friends and they assume I have awful memories of that holiday. But I remember it as a non-issue. Two days of gorging on sweets was plenty. Of course, I made sure I consumed as many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers as I could before my two-day limit was reached.
I also remember stuffing both a mini-Mounds Bar and a mini-Almond Joy into my mouth at once because I loved the combination of dark chocolate and almonds together. Now I am positively giddy about this cookie that combines dark chocolate and almonds…and it’s gluten-free. And it’s vegan. And it’s not overly sweet. Another added bonus is that it’s more simple to prepare than “real” cookies.
Start with the simple base batter using a food processor fitted with the dough blade (can also be accomplished with a wooden spoon and some muscle).
2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 TBSP vanilla
Other ingredients: finely shredded, unsweetened coconut and block of high quality dark chocolate
Directions: Combine dry ingredients (mix and blend well) then add wet ingredients (mix and blend well). The mixture is sticky and the almond flour a bit gritty but never fear—they will be delicious. Coarsely chop the chocolate bar and mix into batter. Using a teaspoon, scoop the batter, roll into balls, and then into coconut.
Recently, I found these sugar/spice grinders at Whole Foods and I decided to roll the batter balls in a cocoa/red pepper/sugar mixture before rolling in coconut. Amazing—with just enough of a kick to still be a crowd-pleaser!
Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cookies will stay somewhat gooey so judge done-ness by bottom browning. After about 3-4 minutes use the back of a large spoon to gently flatten them (they won’t flatten on their own) and then finish baking.
Just because these are vegan and gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s open season for consumption. Cookies should still be considered a treat so take it easy, people.
Author: Tahirih Linz
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own