Recipe: Cherry Ripe Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Look!  It’s a slightly different (but still dead easy) biscuit recipe!  This time, it’s vegan!

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I love the idea of two ingredient cookies, where you get a sweetened nut butter and some flour – or chocolate tahini and rice flour and make a biscuit and then bake it.  But let’s face it, sometimes two ingredients isn’t enough.   I found myself eyeing off one of those chocolate and coconut butter spreads in the supermarket and thinking, you know, add a glacé cherry and you’re kind of half way to a cherry ripe here.  And then I thought, yeah, but you need a bit more coconut.

And… that was it, really.  So here you have them – cherry ripe cookies that are vegan and gluten-free.  They are a little chewy and only just barely sweet – most of the sweetness comes from the cherries – but they are nicely chocolatey and coconutty.  (There is a definite air of chocolate crackle to these, too.  That whole coconut and chocolate thing will do that.)

Ooh, and I just realised how you could make vegan gluten-free LAMINGTON cookies, by replacing the cherry with jam!  The possibilities are endless…

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Your shopping list

150g chocolate coconut spread (I used Pure Harvest Coco2Almond spread, which purports to be a health food, but don’t worry, there’s nothing healthy about these cookies)
100g almond meal
50 g shredded coconut
12-16 glacé cherries

Now what will you do with it?

Preheat oven to 165°C.   Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Combine the chocolate spread, almond meal and coconut in a bowl until you get a sticky, stiff dough.  You might need more chocolate spread or more almond meal, depending on how wet your spread is.  Essentially, you are aiming for a consistency that can be rolled into balls.

Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and then make a cherry-sized indentation.  Mine needed a bit of pressing to go together, so I then held them in the palm of one cupped hand to keep them together while I used the thumb of my other hand to make a hollow for the cherry.

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Put the cherry into the hollow you have made for it, and bring a bit of the dough up around the edges of it so that it looks like a frog’s eyeball or something.  (At least, that’s how it looked to me.)

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Bake for around 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned underneath and hold together.  They will still be soft, and you might need to mould the edges up around the cherries again while they are soft.  They will harden on the tray after a few minutes.

Eat!

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Variations

This cookie is gluten-free and vegan, but does contain a lot of nuts.  You could probably swap out the almond meal for plain flour or rice flour, but you would get a harder, less chewy biscuit, I think.  The cherries make it non-fructose friendly.  The biscuit itself is actually not very sweet, aside from the cherries, but I couldn’t tell you how much sugar per serving they would have.  I do know that when I had one of them and some ordinary, proper shortbread at a party, the shortbread was startlingly sweet by comparison.

In terms of varuiations, any chocolatey nut butter would work, of course, and you could make a sweet, non-chocolatey version of this with one of the many sweetened nut butters out there – I’ve seen ones with honey or maple syrup and cinnamon, for example.  Or you could make your own sweetened nut butter with whatever ingredients appeal and go from there…

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