My Favorite Fall Cookies

I never travel without snacks, whether it’s a long road trip or a quick flight, and last week’s trip to Seattle was no exception. On the way home, I brought one of these in my bag, in addition to eating half a chicken in the airport from the Wolfgang Puck cafe; on the way there, I packed a bag of sliced green peppers, a bunch of carrot matchsticks and a large plastic bag filled with some of my favorite cookies.

These are those cookies, and I have to tell you they’re something special. Have you ever had those butter almond thins from Trader Joe’s? When I used to buy them, I could eat the whole box. In one sitting. Literally. These cookies are just like those. Or, speaking of food on airplanes, do you remember back in the day when flights would include nuts and a snack? There were these ginger-like cookies I always found so comforting. And these cookies are even better than that.

almond cookies on baking sheet

The recipe originates with Martha Stewart, and beyond my typical ingredient deviations—spelt flour, Sucanat, coconut oil—the primary adaptations I made relate to method: where she says to chill the dough in loaf pans (making it tall and easy to cut), I’ve tried a 9 X 13 pan (making long, skinny cookie strips), long logs (where you just slice and bake), large circles of dough (to then roll out and cut shapes from) and random scraps of dough formed into balls. The beauty is that all of these methods work.

favorite fall cookies

You can take this versatile cookie dough and do whatever you’d like with it: you’ll still wind up with the same buttery, nutty crisps I can’t get enough of.

spiced cookies

They’re good with tea or coffee. They’re good by themselves. And, for the record, not that this happened to anyone here, but if you’re ever stuck in Seattle Tacoma Airport for three hours while you wait for someone else’s flight to arrive, and you want something to mindlessly eat and eat until it’s totally and completely gone, well, they’re good for that, too.

Read More

Coconut Flour Cookies

coconut flour cookies

Turns out, the way I feel about coconut flour is pretty much the same way I feel about self-employment.

I mean, they both are kind of hard to get, in terms of effort and costs: about $6 per 16-ounce bag of coconut flour online; a variety of part-time freelancing gigs, two years of grad school and three years in a management-level desk job for the chance to work from home.

Compared with the costs, they both have a lot to offer in return: where self-employment promises to let you set your own schedule and own your life again, coconut flour is packed with protein, totally gluten-free and lightly kissed with the scent of the tropics.

Read More

it doesn’t get old

spelt walnut cookies

I think the next time someone asks me what’s so great about blogging, I’m going to say it’s pretty simple: the same things that are great about life.

By that, of course I’ll partly mean the food and partly the beauty and along with that the writing and the opportunities to experience new places and, you know, tons of other things—but mostly?

Mostly I’ll mean the people. And by that, I mean you.

Read More

what has been coming

buckwheat ginger cookies

This month of June has been continual change. From trips out of town to friends taking new jobs to continually decreasing pants sizes, it’s been one thing after another. For many of these things, I guess it’s really been more of a culmination, in which wheels that have been in motion, things have been coming, in these last few weeks finally have. It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. It’s something we’ll talk more about next week (along with a big announcement! stay tuned!).

But meanwhile, let’s talk about another kind of change, a specific one that’s been happening in my kitchen and could happen in yours: buckwheat flour.

soft buckwheat ginger cookies

Because, thing is, it’s not just June that’s been change for me; it’s 2010, which over the last six months has brought one new realization after another. What started with the removal of refined sugars and flours in a new year’s resolution led to the reading of labels and analyzing of ingredient lists, avoiding things I couldn’t pronounce or recognize in favor of more whole foods like blueberries, eggs, butter, milk, grass-fed meat. I watched Food, Inc. (thanks, Kendra!). I read The Maker’s Diet. I gave up white bread and chose sprouted grains. I started drinking kombucha (Whole Foods, are you listening? please start carrying it again!). Along the way, I also started taking cod liver oil and a probiotic.

The changes all felt pretty natural, like I was just taking care of my body in new ways, and while I have been eating very well and working out only two or three times a week, I’ve lost twelve pounds, without even meaning to. It’s crazy.

And really, the only change that ever felt difficult at all was probably the earliest one: removing white all-purpose flour and white sugar from my baking.

Read More

what does not last, what does (chocolate spelt cookies)

chocolate spelt cookies

When you really get down to it, almost everything in life is temporary. Your car, your clothes, your schedule, your location, your age, your experiences, the conversation you’ll have on the phone tonight, the meal you’ll eat for dinner, the way you’ll put your gym shoes on and take them off again. These moments keep coming, quickly, passing through our fingers like shifting sand, and then are gone, replaced by something else, something which will also end.

chocolate cookies

Mentally, I know this. I know this. So I hate when I catch myself pushing, striving, demanding whatever temporary something seems very important in its moment, sacrificing faith, hope and love for the getting and grasping of that something Right Now. I hate that. Because while of course we need temporary places to live and temporary things to eat and temporary activities to pursue—that is not all we need. That is not most what we need. That is not what should govern my Everything Else. And I need to be reminded of this.

cookies

So that’s a good thing about food, you know? Food is extremely, necessarily temporal. The meals I made when I started this blog almost two years ago? Gone. The cookies I have posted (and posted! and posted! and am posting again today!)? Gone. The panini I made Saturday, the mango smoothie I blended Monday, the giant salad I thought I’d never finish at my work desk the other day? Every bit of it all: eaten and used and, gone.

Even today’s chocolate spelt cookies, riddled with chopped dark chocolate and topped by drizzled icing: all but three of them, already gone.

Read More

for days like these (nutty chocolate coconut cookies)

nutty chocolate chip cookies

Blame it on the beautiful weather outside, the weekend I took away from the computer, the fact that a headache dominated most of Tuesday—whatever the case, this has been a week where I’ve felt a lot more like reading blogs than writing them. Do you ever get that way?

I mean, it makes sense. If blogging’s a form of communication, why shouldn’t there be days where we feel more like listening than talking, reading than writing? Like in real life, sometimes I’m most happy to let someone else tell me stories, without needing to respond, without needing to join in. Sometimes I just like to sit back and observe, without interjecting. Sometimes I’m doing enough thinking and processing in my own head, the kind that hasn’t reached any real conclusion, that I just want to keep it in there until it’s ready to make some sense.

And that’s fine.

cookie dough on sheet

Or at least, it would be fine, if it weren’t for these cookies.

Read More

to give it a shot (flourless monster cookies)

flourless cookies

I made these cookies because they don’t have flour in them, which I realize is a little like saying I made my own homemade deodorant this weekend (which, yes, I did—recipe here), in that I’ve probably lost about half of you who are now thinking, what is with this girl? why make cookies without flour in them?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

flourless monster cookies on plate

1. I hadn’t done it before. Generally speaking, if I haven’t done something before, it’s a good idea to give it a shot (cue sweet potato brownies, whole wheat pastry flour, homemade deodorant again). And it’s not just true with food of course. What would my life be like now if I’d never tried starting a blog? Or throwing a party? Or going antiquing with my mom like she likes to do? I’ll tell you how it’d be: less. Less than it is.

Also, 2. I love cookies (you know I love cookies) and so naturally, now that I’m staying away from white sugar and white flour, I wanted to make a cookie without all-purpose flour, but the version I’d tried with spelt flour had been a bust (flat as pancakes), and therefore a cookie sans flour, especially one that closely resembles my favorite, favorite cookies of all time, well, it had my attention.

Read More