Paleo Fruit and Nut Cookies

Paleo Fruit and Nut Cookies   makes 24

No gluten, grain, dairy, soy; with options for cane sugar.

Nice chewy, chunky texture with a mild caramel flavour. This is a variation on a recipe from the excellent Gourmande in the Kitchen website

Purists can do sweeping dismissals of baking, for example, with an absolute about all carbs are bad. Meanwhile mainstream authorities often proclaim that all sugars are equal. Remember the lessons of history. Nutrition like other spheres has philosophical fashions: something is declared evil, while something else is touted as a superhero. You might recall the now questionable and common-sense-defying advice that eggs are bad and margarine is good!

Any one food or meal is made of much more than a single part. Home baking like this is high in fibre and protein. Along with its heart-protective monounsaturated fats these 3 components help to regulate blood sugar and thus mind, mood, vitality and weight. Nuts and dried fruit are good sources of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and other critical minerals. They and dark chocolate have flavonoids and myriad other health-enhancing antioxidants.

These cookies are high in fat and kilojoules though, so enjoy just one at a time with herb tea or dandelion coffee. Sit and savour the good things and a life in balance.

½ cup almond butter*
½ cup cashew butter*
½ cup coconut sugar*
1 large free range egg
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract*
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate* (or use vegan chocolate to avoid cane sugar)
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a medium bowl combine the almond butter, cashew butter, coconut sugar, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, baking soda and salt until smooth.

Stir in the nuts, raisins, coconut and chocolate. Shape about 2 tablespoon amounts roughly into a ball. Place in 6 x 4 rows on the paper. Use a fork and flatten each ball lightly in the middle.

Bake at 180°C for 10 – 12 minutes just until the edges are slightly set. The centre will be soft – don’t overbake. Place tray on a wire rack and cool completely before removing. Place in an airtight container for storage.

Shopping and Preparation Tips*

  • Chocolate: that is dairy/gluten-free is available in supermarkets, but does contain cane sugar (eg Whittaker’s Dark Ghana). Also at supermarkets is vegan and cane sugar-free, artificial sweetener- and additive-free chocolate (eg Panna, Wellington, Zimt) usually sweetened with coconut sugar.
  • Coconut sugar: looks and tastes like brown sugar; mild caramel taste. Buy from most supermarkets. Made from the syrup of coconut palms. Low 35 GI; good source of alkaline minerals, iron, zinc, some B vitamins.
  • Nut butter: peanut butter is well known, but also in supermarkets are almond butter and cashew butter. Ceres’ brand is organic and has no sugar, artificial additives or highly processed fats. Also available are hazelnut, macadamia, sunflower, brazil and walnut butters – some are stiff (eg walnut) and some are runny (eg macadamia).
  • Vanilla and other Extracts: use top quality vanilla without artificial additives; it and other real flavours such as almond are often termed extract (as opposed to faux essence, often labelled ‘vanillin’). Good brands available locally and overseas are: Heilala Vanilla and Equagold. These are in most supermarkets and health stores.

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