Facebook has some very strange ideas about what I like. For a while there, it decided that I was a lesbian and wanted to have IVF babies with my girlfriend, and I got So. Many. Ads. for this. Then it decided that I was obsessed with bras. Unfortunately, I had to feed this obsession for a while (mostly because they were making unscientific claims and implicating scientists I knew in this, and so I had to keep checking if they were still doing that so that I could report them), and it turns out that Facebook thinks that people who watch bra ads are straight, Christian, and super conservative. So that was interesting. Then I told Facebook no more bra ads, and for two days all was blissful… until I started getting ads for breast reconstruction surgery. This was appalling enough to be reported in its own right, which I did, at which point Facebook started suggesting that perhaps I needed marriage counselling…
In brief, all those people who worry about how Facebook knows everything about you? Yeah, I don’t think so. (Though I think there *is* cause for concern if Facebook is randomly flagging people as queer, or as disabled, or as being of particular political persuasions, especially if one lives in a country where this might be a problem.)
Anyway. Facebook finally decided to stop making judgments about my sexuality, politics, cancer status and personal life, and started showing me embossed rolling pins. Lots and lots of embossed rolling pins. Now, that’s some advertising I can get behind. I diligently clicked on every single one until my Facebook feed was All Rolling Pins, All The Time, and all other ads were a thing of the past.
Of course, this did lead to me buying four embossed rolling pins. Because how could I resist this shop? I mean, frankly, I think I showed considerable restraint in just buying four of their pins. (They make them to order, incidentally, and they are really very beautiful – I thoroughly recommend them)
The thing with embossed rolling pins is that you need a recipe which won’t spread out when you bake it. I used a few recipes from their site, some of which work better than others, and then moved on to altering them for my own purposes and tastes. This vegan cookie with almond butter has what I would describe as a very brown taste from the maple syrup and the almonds – a bit too toasted-almond for me, I’ll be honest, but my sister-in-law, for whom I made the recipe, loved them to bits and gleefully took most of the batch home with her. It’s not too sweet, and has a hint of ginger and of orange to it.
And it is one of the easier recipes to use with this rolling pin.
And it is *very* pretty.
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100 g almond butter
120 g maple syrup
120 g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried orange powder (or the zest of an orange would probably be even nicer)
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
Mix everything together in a bowl until you have a soft, sticky dough.
Roll out between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm, and refrigerate for half an hour.
Dust the dough and the rolling pin with flour, and roll the embossed rolling pin firmly over the dough – you want to get nice, deep impressions, but you don’t want it to stick (I found that it doesn’t stick straight from the fridge, but it does on re-rolling – but if you gently un-stick it as you go, it still works OK. Or you can refrigerate it again!).
Cut out shapes, then re-roll, first with a plain rolling pin between baking paper, and then with the embossed pin again. Continue rolling and cutting until you’ve used up all the dough.
Put your cookies onto baking trays lined with baking paper, and refrigerate for 15 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 200°C (I did all of this in relays).
Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until firm and a little brown around the edges.
These biscuits are vegan, but obviously contain nuts and gluten. I’d be wary of trying these with gluten-free flour mix, to be honest, because it’s a bit tricky to roll them out as it is, and a more fragile dough would be even harder to manage. I’ll put up a recipe for gluten-free (but not vegan) embossed cookies soon.
You can change the nut butter as you choose, and replace the maple syrup with agave for a lighter flavour. You can omit the spices, or add more, or replace some of the flour with cocoa (this would be fantastic if you used a hazelnut butter – nutella cookies!).
You could probably glaze these, too, making a very runny (honey or maple syrup consistency) mixture of icing sugar and lemon juice and brushing it over the cookies when cold.