Grain-Free Hazelnut-Pecan Delights

First things first. I have some amazing news. I received my official notification in the mail that I passed my Professional Engineering exam!!!!  A grueling exam that I studied for nearly half a year for last year. It consumed me, but was worth it.  I now am a certified P.E., which has been a huge goal of mine. CHECK that off my bucket list.

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But now that I have checked that huuuuuge goal off of my list, I find myself at a bit of a loss. Where do I focus my energy next?  I’m a goal-oriented person and it only seems proper to set new goals. But aside from the small goals of “read more books” or “travel more”, I just can’t seem to figure out where to point my laser beams. So, if you have any ideas, I’m game.

At this point, I’m trying to tackle small things that include: (1) Organizing my “office” (junk room), or (2) Thinking about hanging pictures that have never been hung, or (3) Properly learning to do laundry because reading the labels seems more like reading hieroglyphics and I end up just throwing everything in at once and washing on cold. Evidently when clothes say gentle…they mean it. Booh.

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I also have been perfecting cookies….my butt thanks me and my skinny jeans do not. These Hazelnut-Pecan Delights are THE perfect cookie. They are just sweet enough, with a hint of salty, and are chewy and are….well….redonculous. Yes…redonculous, people.

They taste like my favorite Girl Scout cookie….oh that beloved Caramel Delight…and yes…they are soooo delightful.  The bonus with MY cookies is that they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. Plus they have hazelnuts and pecans, giving them added protein.

These are perfect to bring to your New Years Eve party, or football Bowl Game watch party, or for your last-hoorah-before-you-go-on-you-2013-fit-back-in-your-jeans party.

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Grain-Free Hazelnut-Pecan Delights

Makes 2 dozen tiny, bite-sized cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or other raw nut such as almonds, walnuts)
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. In a the bowl of your food processor, add nuts and process for 2 minutes, until finely ground.  Add ground ginger, salt, and baking soda and process until well mixed. Add coconut oil, honey, and molasses and process until a thick cookie dough ball forms. Add chocolate chips and shredded coconut to the food process or and pulse for 15 to 30 seconds to finely chop the chocolate, distributing throughout the cookie batter.
  3. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, making it easier to scoop and form cookies.
  4. I like these cookies tiny and barely bite-sized.  Scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. Then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape.  Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Use a wet fork to flatten each dough ball into your desired cookie thickness.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm around the edges (ovens vary so watch them), but still soft in the center. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Grain-Free Chewy Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m so excited. Christmas is getting closer. We went and picked out our tree a week ago. Even though it feels like Christmas in California (temps are in the 70s!!!), we still decorated the tree, drank bourbon-spiked egg nog, and watched Home Alone.

We pulled out all of our old and favorite childhood ornaments, placing them strategically on each limb.   We have many ornaments that have special meaning, but some are just funny.

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For instance, we have a ceramic ornament that came from some craft show ages ago that has Santa’s face painted on what appears to be tree bark but instead looks like Santa is floating on poop. We lovingly refer to this ornament as “Terd Santa”. Terd Santa has a high priority placement on the tree. He is usually placed near the 1980 Avon classic Bear Bell (a mama bear whose legs are the swinging bell) and the Headless Paper-mache Angel.

Now that it looks like Christmas has vomited throughout my house, leaving poinsettia and pine cones everywhere….it was time to make it SMELL like it too! I cooked up a batch of ginger chocolate chip cookies to make the house smell of gingerbread and spice.  These are inspired by this amazing cookie that I made last year, which unfortunately contains gluten from the wheat flour. In order to make those cookies grain free, I used almond flour as the base.  If you don’t have almond flour on hand, I have also made these cookies using almond butter, making them slightly more dense and chewy but still scrumptious.

Ginger Chocolate Chip

Even if you are not gluten-free, I seriously recommend this grain free cookies for the following reasons:

(1) The nuts give them protein…GOOD.

(2) They ooze of chocolate…DOUBLE GOOD.

(3) The ginger gives a nice spicy kick in your mouth….YES.

(4) And they are a COOKIE! Hellooooo. Nuff said, peeps.

I made these cookies bite-sized and rolled each one in turbinado sugar. The crunch of the sugar in contrast to the gooey, chewy, chocolatey cookie is divine.  WARNING – these suckers are so easy to pop in your mouth like popcorn. They can be quite addictive.

SO HIDE THEM IF YOU WANT TO EAT ANY!!!!  Because as soon as you tell anyone else that you made them, they will disappear and you may not get any…booooh. At least that is what happens in my house!!!

Ginger Chocolate Chip

Grain-Free Chewy Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo Friendly)

Makes 2 dozen tiny, bite-sized cookies

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups almond flour*
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tablespoons unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or bar, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar or coconut palm sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Place the large-grain turbinado sugar or coconut palm sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, ginger, salt, and baking soda. Mix until a thick batter is formed. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes which will make it easier to scoop and form cookies.
  3. I like these cookies tiny and barely bite-sized.  Scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. Then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the large-grained sugar that was set aside earlier and roll each ball between your palms to coat the outside of each dough ball.  Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Use a wet fork to flatten each dough ball into your desired cookie thickness. 
  4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until firm around the edges, but still soft in the center. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
  5. Hide a few for your secret stash!

*NOTE – I use Honeyville almond flour. I have also made these cookies using 1 cup of almond butter instead of the 1.5 cups of almond flour. The cookies tasted great but were a little more dense.  I personally liked them both! So feel free to sub out for almond butter if you do not have access to almond flour.