Vegan cookies, gluten-free cookies, wheat-free cookies … healthy cookie recipes are easy to make if you are willing to experiment with a few alternative quality ingredients. Agave nectar is the perfect sweetener for such baked treats. Not only because of its superiority to refined sugars, but also for its moisture-retaining qualities.
Let's start with a solid base of ground nuts. We can use whatever fits best our personal preferences and budget. Pecans tend to be a bit more expensive than almonds and hazelnuts (filberts), walnuts are often on sale or available at a less expensive regular price. Always buy bulk, and halves and pieces are just fine. No need to get whole nuts since we ground them up anyway.
A good cookie recipe should include some fat. As we want to keep this healthy, nutritious, and acceptable for vegans, let's forget about the butter and choose instead almond, cashew, or peanut butter, or a combination thereof. If you don't like the flavor or price of nut butters, substitute with organic canola oil.
Great, but what about the flour if we want to make gluten-free cookies? The answer is: organic brown rice flour! Works like a charm and is much healthier than white flour.
Next up: which sweetener? As stated above, agave nectar is a great sweetener for baked goods. Similar to honey, it helps retain the moisture in cookies and cakes. It also blends quickly and easily with all other ingredients for a well-mixed batter.
To add flavor to this basic healthy cookie mix, use some vanilla or almond extract, ground cinnamon, crushed anise seeds, and a pinch of salt, of course.
And to add even more nutritional value, consider lightly toasted rolled oats, raisins, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. My goodness … what to do with all that energy?
Why This Is An Easy Healthy Cookie Recipe For Vegan Cookies And Gluten-Free Cookies
We don't really need a recipe for these incredible power morsels of nutrition. It all depends on what we have on hand, or what we like to eat, or what we want to buy. Here is a simple recipe template utilizing the ingredients discussed above:
- 4 cups ground nuts
- 1 cup nut butter or 1/2 cup organic canola oil
- 1 cup organic brown rice flour
- 3/4 cups agave nectar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon crushed anise seeds, cardamom, or other spices
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1/2 cup each raisins or toasted oats or seeds
The individual ingredient quantities don't really matter that much. The template is just a general guide line. Our goal is to mix a batter that holds its shape when divided into cookie-size balls. We might have to add a little water if the mix is too dry and crumbly. Or, we might have to add more brown rice flour to a wet and sloppy batter.
This is the best part: As we are not using raw eggs, we can taste our cookie batter before we bake it off! Add more agave nectar if you like it sweeter, more spices or seeds, until you are happy!
Important points for the baking process!
- Place 2-inch balls on a parchment-lined cookie pan and flatten lightly with a fork (similar to making peanut butter cookies, dip the fork in cold water before pressing it on the cookie portions)
- Use a fairly low oven temperature: 8-10 minutes at 300-325 degrees; agave nectar browns a little faster than sugar, so keep an eye on your cookies and don't let them get too dark on the bottom!
- Remember, there are no raw eggs in our batter; we won't have to bake it completely through. A lightly "under-baked" interior is wonderful!
So, be adventurous and experiment with a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, spices, and whatever you love in your gourmet vegan cookie. As long as you don't burn them black, they will always be good eating. And because they are so healthy and nutritious, they'll be good for you, too!