It is that time of the year. Still thinking about simple, home-made gifts? Here is an idea for you. What about delicious cookies that smell like holidays? Those loaded with healthy ingredients, but NOT with calories. Yes. They do exist...
This recipe for almond cookies was inspired by biscotti and Springerle cookies. When I first tried Springerle cookies, I fell in love with the anise seeds that flavor them. Their fruity aroma instantly transports me to festive holidays! We tend to rely heavily on vanilla for baking. But it can get boring sometimes. Anise seeds would give your baked goods rather a unique assertive character thanks to their rich aromatic profile.
What makes these almond cookies a healthy snack? Almonds are loaded with anti-oxidants such as vitamin E and lower LDL cholesterol, which would protect your cells from oxidative damages, extending your youth. Oats and poppy seeds are fiber-rich, which would keep your blood sugar levels in a safe zone and feed your beneficial gut bacteria.
Scientists are just beginning to understand the importance of keeping "good" residents in the gut. We can reap numerous health benefits by making "good" gut bacteria happy and prosper. Luckily, we are in the driver seat. Simply enrich your diets with fiber and polyphenols that are abundant in colorful seeds, fruits, and vegetables while avoiding simple sugars that feed "bad" gut bacteria as much as possible. I talked more about this topic here while introducing a recipe for pumpkin porridge.
Here is some science behind this recipe:
1. Being gluten-free, oats make these cookies fluffier than those entirely made of all-purpose flour. The higher the gluten content is, the more rubbery your cookies will turn out.
2. Oil provides these cookies a softer texture, compared to butter.
3. Raisins add enough moisture and fruity sweetness to these cookies without overpowering the overall cookie flavor landscape. They are the star ingredients that help us cut down on the amount of oil and sugar in this recipe.
4. Poppy seeds team up well with sesame seeds to create a wonderful nutty flavor.
Shall we make some holiday cookies? Let's begin.
Ingredients for 40 cookies
1 cup almond flour 1 cup pastry or all-purpose flour 1 cup oats 1.5 tsp anise seeds 1.5 tsp poppy seeds 1.5 tsp sesame seeds 1 tsp cinnamon 1.5 tsp baking powder 2 Tbsp vegetable oil for a snack (4 Tbsp for dessert) 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup sugar for a snack (1/2 cup for dessert) 1/4 cup raisins 2 eggs
You can easily make oat flour by processing oats in a food processor. Transfer the oat flour to a mixing bowl. Add all the other dry ingredients but salt to the mixing bowl. Now you can add oil, salt, sugar, raisins, and eggs to a food processor and beat them together. In the mixing bowl, mix the wet and dry ingredients and shape a log of cookie dough with hands. Because this dough is somewhat sticky, I like to handle it on a silicon mat, as shown below.
Divide the cookie dough into two logs, using a bench scraper, as shown above. At this point, you can freeze them for later use.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. It is time to cut out cookies that are half-inch thick, using a bench scraper and transfer them to a cookie sheet. If you place a silicone mat on top of a cookie sheet as shown below, it will make your life easier since cookies won't stick to the mat.
Bake these cookies for 10 minutes, flip and bake them for another 8 minutes, or until these cookies become golden brown. When you start to smell cookies, it is time to take them out of the oven.
These almond cookies are addictive. Share them with your friends, family, and neighbors before they are all gone! You may find other healthy snack recipes equally intriguing (pumpkin porridge, granola, oatmeal chocolate cookies).