One of the challenges of writing a cookbook is that, for the duration of the project, most of one’s cooking energies are channeled into the book — to develop the recipes initially, and then to re-test them as often as needed to refine them.
This means that, for months and months, one’s kitchen activities are largely governed by a spreadsheet — glamorous, no? — and any tempting recipe that may be found online, in books, or in magazines, must be bookmarked or clipped and set aside for a future day, when one is no longer so engrossed in the bookwriting process.
It is a small sacrifice to make, to be sure, and seeing the collection of original recipes grow makes up for it tenfold, but still: I have reached the point where I am just about done with the recipe testing, and it feels lovely to dip my toes into spontaneous waters again.
I couldn’t stop thinking about these crisp little numbers until I finally allowed myself to bake a batch last week.
I read about today’s crisp little numbers, rich with seeds and nut butters, on Clea’s blog a month ago, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them until I finally allowed myself to bake a batch last week, for no other reason than my needing a break one afternoon and baking cookies seeming the perfect way to make it count.
I altered the recipe slightly: I had run out of eggs so I used ground and soaked flax seeds instead (a classic vegan trick); I doubled the amount of seeds; I added salt; I used part wheat flour and part buckwheat flour; and I forgot to add the olive oil, but found I didn’t miss it, though it would likely help the cookies keep longer if you chose to use it (Clea adds 2 tablespoons).
I’ve found these to be just the thing to scratch the itch for a small treat, with or without a square of bittersweet chocolate, while I read and re-read and edit and tighten up my manuscript, and they are definitely joining these walnut and date cookies in my budding repertoire of easy yet delicious vegan cookies. What are some of your favorites in that category?
- 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds, freshly ground (substitute 6 tablespoons pre-ground flax seeds, making sure they're not rancid)
- 4 tablespoons mixed seeds of your choice (I used sesame and poppy seeds, but would have added sunflower seeds if I had some, and hemp seeds if I'd remembered I did)
- 75 grams (2.6 oz) buckwheat flour, about 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (substitute any other kind of interesting flour, or just use all wheat flour)
- 150 grams (5.3 oz) all-purpose flour, about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (I use an organic T65 flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 120 grams unrefined blond cane sugar
- 40 grams (2 tablespoons) all-natural peanut butter (without oil, sugar, or salt added)
- 40 grams (2 tablespoons) all-natural almond butter
- Put the ground flax seeds in a small bowl, cover with 80 ml (1/3 cup) water, and set aside until gelled up and set.
- In a medium bowl, combine the seeds, flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat together the gelled up flax seeds, sugar, and nut butters until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture, adding a little water as needed for the dough to come together. It should be sticky, but without excess.
- Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and roll it up into a log, about 4 cm (1 1/2") in diameter. Place the log in the freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until firm enough to slice neatly.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cut the log of dough into slices, about 1 cm (1/3") in thickness, and place them on the prepared sheet, giving them a little space to expand.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Although their texture is best the day they're made, the cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.