It's Christmas all around and Christmas cookies are certainly on the mind. Yet, if you are like me, which I may just be a tad health-crazed, but I would like to try and make a cookie that doesn't give me a sugar buzz or makes me feel guilty and sick. So to the the drawing board (or kitchen lab) I go. Exactly where I love to be! I was inspired by Whole Life Nutrition and Karina at GF Goddess, but didn't want nuts or dairy in my cookies, so I made my base out of buckwheat instead. Which is in my opinion, my favorite!
Also to help my process, I recently received a very generous and amazing sample of stevia products from the company Nu Naturals. I have tried their product before, but have not tried their stevia liquids. I am super impressed with their product. Great flavor and no weird extras. Straight from the stevia plant and lots of great research and recipes to back up their product. So, I have only used a few of the samples so far, and would like to try a lot more "sugar-free" baking with their stevia this month. Looking forward to trying and sharing more (also, Nu Naturals would like to share the love with some of my readers, so there will be a giveaway announcement soon...soooo, maybe an early Christmas present for yourself!)
I am super excited about making cookies and baked goods with less (or no) sweetener. I already bake mostly with maple, agave, honey or sucanant. But to use stevia with it's natural sweetness and add it with a touch of maple or coconut sugar to add flavor it really is a perfect combination. Plus, there is no sugar hangover and no sugar overload headaches. I don't think I am alone in saying that sugar makes you sick. Not only is sugar proven to reduce (or destroy!) your immunities, but also seems to cause so many other ailments when it becomes an addiction in our lives. Yes, every now and then it is hard to escape it's pull, but for the sake of a healthier happier life I say "NO" to the conventional sugar and look for better, healthier alternatives. Once you make that change, and you see the difference, it's hard to go back...
Stevia Sweetened Sugar Cookie Recipe (vegan)
1 1/3 cup of fresh buckwheat flour (I grind my own fresh flour from groats in my magic bullet)
2/3 cup of tapioca flour
2/3 cup of organic millet flour
1 TB of chia seed meal
1 TB of flax seed meal
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar or sucanat
1/2 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of baking soda
1/4 ts. of sea salt
8 TB of room-temperature organic coconut oil (I used Nutiva)
6 TB of unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade)
1 ts. of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/4 cup of pure water
40-45 drops of Pure NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid
The dough is a perfect pliable dough, so if you do not want to make cookie shapes with cutters you could roll dough balls or mold some shapes. The dough also sticks together better than any other GF cut out cookie I had made before, so I was pretty excited about that. I am going to experiment more with this flour and wet base for this cookies to see what else I can come up with. Also, perfect for a teething baby or toddler to hold onto and chew on and still the buckwheat cookie will melt with moisture in your mouth.
Place all your cookie cut-outs on a parchment papered cookie sheet ( or non-stick pan would work too) and you do not need to set too far apart because they do not expand too much. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes depending on your oven and how golden you want them. I left mine in for 18 minutes in my oven because I wanted them to be a bit more crispy than chewy, but they also were still chewy too, so really my kind of perfect sugar cookie.
Let cool for 10 minutes before moving from cookie sheet and can let the cookies remain to cool on a cooling rack or paper. These cookies are a great "sugar-cookie" substitute for the gluten-free vegan friend- and can be topped with your favorite cookie frosting, or even a cookie glaze. I am experimenting with these cookies with a coconut raspberry frosting. I used stevia again to sweeten the frosting, and the red raspberries were used to flavor and color, because I did not have any natural dyes to color some frosting. I loved the taste of the frosting, but not sure if it is perfect for a cookie frosting just yet. I will post the recipe (below), and will continue to experiment.
These cookies may be considered a bit bland without some traditional "sugar" cookie frosting. So use your favorite recipe for this cookie, or get creative with topping with a maple glaze, dried fruit or coconut. I tried making a raspberry coconut cream icing and it turned out pretty good, still I am not sure if it is exactly what I wanted for this cookie, so I may try it on another cookie or even cupcakes, but I will post it if you are curious or may want to try some kind of version of this recipe yourself. I am still doing some experimenting of my own...more to come :)
Raspberry Coconut Creme Icing Recipe
1/4 cup of coconut cream from a full-fat coconut milk can
1/4 cup of defrosted frozen raspberries ( with juices)
7-8 TB of tapioca flour
30-35 drops of liquid Pure Vanilla Stevia (Nu Naturals)
In a small bowl, whisk the coconut cream, raspberries and stevia, then add one TB of flour at a time to thicken the icing to your liking... Whisk in each Tb so that there is no clumps and it mixes well. Then when it is thick to your liking, pour the icing into a ziplock bag and put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Then when you are ready to frost the cookies, cut the corner of the bag of frosting. Just a bitty cut and then you can control the amount of frosting and decorate what you like. I know there is some natural food-coloring out there that I plan to try soon.
Well friends, let the cookie-baking fun begin! I hope you are having a great time getting ready for the Christmas holiday. Tis the season and it is always so warming and fun to bake cookies, sit by the fire, and play some Christmas music. I hope your heart and home are warmed this season as you anticipate the coming Jesus in your life with all His gifts of love and blessing.
Much love to you as always!