20 Comments

  1. Love you review! Finding balance between food and well-being is important and I think you so wonderfully describe this! (btw, these cookies are pretty boss! A family favourite here for sure!)

  2. Wow that’s so kind of Jessica! I really respect you for what you are doing – making things healthy, but with the right flavour. That’s something a lot of shops should copy. Good taste and healthy should go hand in hand. I’m sure a lot of people don’t realise that gluten-free comes from our distant past and it’s refined and altered (cross bred) grain that has led to human intolerance.
    I got very excited last week by the Thai baby eggplants that I saw on Cooking in Sens – I’m not sure why, but I did go straight out to look for them and they were delicious!
    I hope you have a great week 🙂

    • Thanks so much, MD. It’s actually so nice to hear that from you because you know how I really will eat anything, but once I made the food as medicine connection I needed to at least acknowledge. Very good point about the wheat and gluten intolerance. I actually didn’t know that and thought GF was just a fad, but when I started researching I realized why so many people had a sensitivity to it and I thought it might be a good idea to incorporate other grains instead of defaulting to all purpose white flour. Cooking in Sens is a good cook! She has a tutorial on how to bone a chicken on her site that I studied after meeting my downstairs mystery neighbor who moved out. She turned out to be a cook and served pizzas and stuffed boned chicken that night and it’s all I wanted to do. I never would have predicted that I’d be an advocate for eating more plants. It’s been a modicum of control for me too. After losing our friend last year I felt so out of control, like cancer or heart disease, stroke could just happen at any moment and by doing a little research I realized that food is highly related to the prevention and reversal of so many of my biggest fears. That I really didn’t know. I hope you have a great week too, MD. Always love hearing from you!

        • Phew! That could read completely in the opposite way.
          BTW that Comment Reply Notification email plugin that you have installed just came back to life and is sending out emails when you reply. How weird that it worked once (when you installed it) and then went dormant for many months.

          • Ugh. I didn’t know. Thanks. If only I could be a web designer. I’d know what I’m doing. Thanks for letting me know. It didn’t matter too much to me because wordpress started notifying people again when they got responses, but for people not on wordpress I thought it was important. Thx, MD. I appreciate your support always.

  3. as it were, i have all these ingredients in my pantry (except, switch out rice flour for the brown rice flour) and i’m in need of a treat to bring to a crabfeast this weekend, the hostess is gf.

    our diet has evolved in recent years, we don’t say no to gluten but there is definitely a uptick in our alternative eating, annoying for some, but mostly adventurous for us.

    PS. i’m glad your photoshoot went well! 🙂

    • Ha! Thanks, Lan! The sun came out right after I was finished. I actually love the tag line on your emails. That quote about food being the best thing you can do or the worst. I didn’t have brown rice flour the first time i made these, but I actually found out you can just put brown rice in a high powered blender and grind it down. I can’t get mine to be super fine, but I can tolerate a little grittiness. The ratio is as follows: 1 cup rice yields 1 cup rice flour. These would be a great treat. I want to go to a crabfeast!! I don’t recommend substitutes on these cookies because I tried a couple that weren’t hugely successful. These though…silky smooth and sooo perfect. Have a great week! Enjoy that crabfeast!

  4. How nice of Jessica to have sent you her book! These cookies look really good and simple enough to make without requiring a special occasion. I like the idea of having cookies on hand and just grabbing one when I feel like it. Unfortunately, Mr. Boyfriend will just eat the entire batch if given a chance, so we don’t have them too often.
    I used to carry lots of gluten free flours in my pantry, but was never happy with the results of my baking, and the packets just lay at the back of the cupboard unused. I now keep regular wheat flours (local, stone-ground, organic) and occasionally use buckwheat or chestnut flours for their unique flavors, but that’s about it.
    I must admit that I have mixed feelings about the gluten free wave. The problem isn’t gluten, it’s the way grains are selected and treated these days; first by farmers (or industries), then by millers (stone-ground will yield better results nutritionwise than factory-ground grains), then by bakers (the water, the use of sourdough, yeasts, the time it takes for bread to ferment, etc. all make a difference), and finally by consumers (how do we chew also makes a difference in how we digest). It has also been shown that people who thought they were intolerant to gluten could nevertheless eat sourdough bread made with wheat flours. So it isn’t gluten that is the problem, it is the way people treat wheat, and food in general. And then there is the tiny percentage of people who are truly allergic, but that’s a different matter.
    I believe in diversity on a daily basis. I like to think that our diets balance themselves out over time, not necessarily on a daily basis; every single meal doesn’t have to be perfect for us to be in good health, but then we all have different ways of feeling good and satisfied about our choices. All of that being said, I understand why you have made these choices, and I know how much better you and A. have been feeling since making them, and that’s what matters! xo

    • Darya, I completely agree! I love that you use local stone-ground wheat and I think that would do just fine for us. Alex used to actually be a celiac, but he outgrew it, the only lasting allergy being potatoes and sensitivity, as you figured out, the nightshade family. I love sourdough bread and we still eat wheat products. The problem isn’t gluten, you’re right, it’s the way wheat has become processed. I don’t think I’d ever describe myself as GF or V, in that I haven’t really cut out anything. I’ve just introduced more. The baking challenge is really my stubborn desire to want to learn how to be adept with all flours and to get the benefits of nutrient dense grains. I’m jealous of your local wheat supply. You came over right when we were freshly stunned and this book is a nice way to acknowledge change. I have a lot of other good plant-based resources, that aren’t V or GF per se like 101 cookbooks or Plenty and so many more popular ones, but what makes this book unique is that it’s kind of a guide for people who just didn’t get it, like me. It’s nice to be educated and make choices rather than being blind, as I was, to why people were GF or plant based etc. It’s been so nice having you along for the journey and bouncing off my ideas to you and hearing the voice of reason when I started to get extreme. Thanks for being such a good friend 🙂

  5. I know what you mean about learning to make recipes with ingredients you have not been used to using. Lots of trial and error. In the end it is all about making what you want, taste good – so experimenting is necessary. These cookies look delicious and I bet taste delicious, no matter what the ingredients.
    FYI Bon Appetit magazine featured an article on the cookbook and author you wrote about:
    http://www.bonappetit.com/story/lena-dunham-diet?mbid=nl_002_02212017_Daily&CNDID=7499756&spMailingID=14281289&spUserID=MTM3ODMwNzQ4NjUzS0&spJobID=923557301&spReportId=OTIzNTU3MzAxS0

    • Oh wow! Thank you, Jovina! Very cool. I think it’s good to have someone out there who learned how to embrace change for health. Her food is good. These cookies are amazing. So are “regular” cookies. It’s just nice to be an educated eater. And sometimes thinking about the amount of flour and special ingredients I’ve thrown out do to flops makes me want to cry. But it’s been an education. I’m so glad you get this. I know you’ve had a few gluten free friends over that you’ve cooked for and even if it’s not your thing, it’s just great to be able to accommodate everyone at the table. Thanks for the article! Reading now. She’s such a kind person. She wrote me a beautiful email back telling me how moving my email was to her. So great to hear from you. Be well! xo

  6. Debra Horowitz

    Hi Amanda,

    The cookies look scrumptious! Would substituting the coconut oil with another type of oil (such as canola) change the flavor profile? It’s such a healthy cookie but coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and it is not considered a good oil to use in a heart healthy diet. It actually raises LDL cholesterol. I remember my grandmother made her cookies with Crisco, which made the cookies taste wonderful, but the reason was that it had saturated fat.

    • You raise a really good point. Cookies with crisco, nice. And kasha varnishkas with schmaltz. I’ve been on the fence about coconut oil because there’s so much debate about whether it definitely raises LDL or not and if LDL is the only factor in determining heart health aside from particle size. As you know, heart health is the main reason I started this whole journey. I think all oils should be used in moderation. My philosophy is mostly plant based, whole foods diet with no added refined sugars and sparing use of added oils. In this cookbook actually, she doesn’t use much oil at all for the mains and sides. To saute she uses a little bit of vegetable broth instead of oils, leaving just the coconut oil for some of the baked goods. Just because these cookies are a “healthier option” doesn’t mean they’re not cookies. I also am on the fence about coconut milk and err toward the “light” version when cooking with it. This recipe should work with olive oil too or canola. I prefer using olive oil and have always used it in baking cookies and cakes as opposed to butter and I like the taste of it. But yes, I try to use oils sparingly. I also wonder if the apple sauce instead of oil trick might work here as well (at least subbing for part of the oil). I suspect it might. I think someone with heart disease should definitely be wary of all fats, including plant fats, but without heart disease, oils and plant fats in moderation are fine and even have a lot of benefits (almonds, avocados, etc). I can’t tell you how much reading I’ve done on this and it’s hard to know. I just read a book by Dr. Michael Gregor called “How Not to Die”. It was really enlightening and I highly recommend it. But in short answer to your question, olive oil should work, which is slightly better for you than canola oil (supposedly) or the oil/ applesauce combo.

  7. Yum! Those cookies sound really good! I love using almond meal because it has such a nice flavor. That cookbook sounds really beautiful and inspirational. I am going to look for it. I like the idea of making at least one meal a day plant-based. That seems manageable to me at this point in my life, and then to be open to going in that direction, and if it’s just one meal a day, that’s ok too. I like the nonjudgmental approach you have, and also that your food journey seems to bring you joy and new discoveries. It is so much fun to try new things, and your enthusiasm is contagious (in a good way!). xoxo

    • Thanks, Jenny. Almond meal does have a really great flavor. It’s a little on the pricey side, but if you hunt you can find it at good prices. So worth it. You already have Brazier’s cookbook so you’re already on your way. I think anyone open to trying to understand the connection between food and health is going to be able to embrace at least one part plant. I’m glad people sense the enthusiasm because I really am enjoying this process even if it’s frustrating at times because I’m learning. It’s the same as learning a new shot in tennis or learning a new tense in a language. I’ve been there before and I hope to keep being there again. xo

  8. Hi Amanda! This new book seems to be a total gem and I’m adding it to my list to order for my store. I get frequent requests for vegetarian or plant based cookbooks. Now about these cookies…so enticing and I can’t wait to bake a batch. Hopefully tonight! We have a local farm that grows heirloom grains and I’ve found that I can tolerate small amounts of their einka flour, so I make a long fermented sourdough bread. Fascinating to learn about ancient diets and how it has all evolved. Cheers to cookies and change! xx

    • Hi Hanna! I’m excited about this book because it’s almost deceptively simple. But everything I’ve made from it is a hit. I’m also looking forward to the My New Roots cookbook and the one out by Laura from The First Mess. I’m looking for variety and flavors derived from all different cultures. I’ve also started just trying to go back to books like Jerusalem or Heidi Swanson’s stuff. I’m sort of looking for inspiration everywhere from a new point of view. That long-fermented sourdough sounds incredible. It is interesting to learn about new grains and through that you learn culture and history. So great to hear from you as always and grateful for your loving support. Cheers to you! xo

Leave a Reply