Sweet Sundays: Amy Green ~ Cooking with alternative ingredients can be expensive and challenging, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have many retail options. The extra expense and energy I put into my diet is well worth the health benefits. Still, I like to find creative solutions to share with people who need to find ways to eat well without breaking the bank.
These cookies have been quite popular on my blog, not only because they’re free of all the major allergens but they’re just sweet enough to get your sweet tooth under control and won’t cause any guilt. Best of all, they’re made with ingredients you can find at any grocery store. Though I make them gluten-free, some of the people that read my blog have shared their successful wheat variations which makes this healthy-enough-to-be-a-snack cookie recipe versatile enough for anyone to use.
Here are a couple of adaptations:
- Use whole wheat flour instead of the basic flour blend and eliminate the xanthan gum. Substitute flax seeds for the sesame seeds.
- Increase the raisins to one cup, use toasted, sliced almonds instead of the sesame seeds, and substitute 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup for 1/4 cup of the frozen apple juice concentrate.
This recipe is one you can easily add your favorite dried fruit, nuts, or favorite dairy-free chocolate chip. Have fun with it, knowing that these cookies not only taste good but are healthier too.
Vegan Health Bar Cookies
adapted from Fruit-Sweet and Sugar-Free by Chef Janice Feuer
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1-1/4 cup Amy’s Basic Flour Blend (see formula below)
- 1-1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Cover the raisins with the water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and set aside to soak for at least 10 minutes. Drain the raisins and reserve the soaking water. Chop the raisins coarsely.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast by stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until they begin to turn golden brown and are fragrant, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk together the flour blend, oats, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and toasted sesame seeds. Put the thawed apple juice concentrate in a 2-cup wet measure. Add the reserved raisin water and 2 tablespoons oil. If necessary, add water to equal a total of 1 1/8 cups liquid. Add the raisins to the dry ingredients and then stir in the wet ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 20 – 30 minutes.
Use a spring-release ice cream scoop (yes, a big one) to evenly portion the batter onto the cookie sheet. Use moist fingertips to flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, then individually wrap and freeze the leftovers.
Amy’s Basic Flour Blend (Sorghum-Garfava Blend)
This blend isn’t beany at all once it’s baked. It’s become a favorite of mine because it works as a one to one substitution in nearly everything I’ve tried it in. I keep a big container mixed up and store it in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup garbanzo fava bean flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
Mix well; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
makes 8 big cookies
Article, recipe, and photos by Amy Green, M.Ed., author of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, a blog about eating well, eliminating refined sugars and wheat, and maintaining a healthy weight. Over the years she’s learned that eating healthier doesn’t equal deprivation. Look for Amy’s first cookbook, "Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 120 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less," which will be released in February 2011.