An all natural treat

Almond Cookies

Last week, I dusted off the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book and to my surprise, made the best rye bread I have had.  Such success got me curious for more.  I went back to my library and found my copy of The New Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook (which was new in 1976, reprinted in 1986).  As I perused the book, I began to remember why I snubbed this book to begin with.  In laurel’s kitchen, food revolves around whole wheat flour, vegetables and cottage cheese.  This book is very crunchy indeed.  I was looking at the small dessert section and noticed the peanut butter cookie recipe.  There was a variation that uses almond butter…very intriguing.   As my eyes scanned the recipe and my brain trotted behind slowly, I came to realize there is no butter or margarine in this recipe.  It only utilizes the fat in the nut butter.  Fascinating!  As I keep reading it dawns on me, there is no refined sugar in the cookies, just honey.  Can you really make a cookie with no saturated fats and no crystallized sugars??  Interesting…

I have been itching to try these for days and finally got into the kitchen to play.  I had just enough almond butter.  Surprisingly, I had almond extract, old but still useable.   My only problem occurred because Mimi staying home all the time equates to Mimi cooking a lot and I was short on honey.  What would happen if I supplemented the honey with pure maple syrup?  I crossed my fingers and decided to find out.  I felt like I wanted something more in these so I decided to add dried fruit, I wanted dried blueberries or dried cherries but don’t have them.  My Boyfriend wanted dried apricots.  Apricots it is!

I have a really hard time making cookies the right size so a recipe that should make between three and four dozen small cookies yielded 23 larger cookies after I adjusted the baking time.  But I bet you don’t mind a bigger cookie do you?  I sure don’t!

So the question is still on the table, can you make a cookie with no butter or refined sugars?  The answer is a resounding yes!  These cookies had a shatteringly crisp crust and a light as air middle.  They were sweet with a creamy mouth feel.  I used chunky almond butter so between the almond chunks and the diced dried fruit, there were crunchy and chewy bits in every bite.  Delicious!!!!!

The trio who wrote the Laurel’s kitchen books should be commended.  They figured out how to cook with natural foods without relying on lots of dairy or refined ingredients for flavor; a very clever and masterful way to cook indeed.

Apricot Almond Butter Cookies

Adapted from The New Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook

1 cup crunchy almond butter

1/3 cup honey

2/3 cup grade B Maple Syrup

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ tsp almond extract

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup diced dried apricots

Blanched or slivered almonds for decorating

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, F.

In a large bowl, beat together almond butter, honey and maple syrup.  Beat in the egg and almond extract. 

In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and diced dried apricots.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well incorporated.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop the cookie dough by generous rounded tablespoons.  The cookies should be walnut sized.  You should get about 23 cookies.  Decorate with 2 – 3 slivered almonds or 1 blanched almond.

Bake the cookies for 15 – 16 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on the pan.  They will be very soft at first.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.