Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

It’s been a while since my body told me, definitively, that I need to slow down and take a breath. I finally reached that point last Wednesday.

In the midst of a comically stressful week, my body succumbed to one of the worst colds I’ve ever had. It felt as though I had been hit by the sickness bus. My head hurt, my back hurt, my body ached, my nose itched, and my sneezes were so intense that I saw my dog’s entire body jump with each expulsion, as though levitating from the energy coming from my mouth.

Every moment I spent vertically made me feel worse. My body forced me to slow down, sleep a ton, and finally watch Frozen. Totally worth all the hype, by the way.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

When I felt well enough to move like a normal human, I decided to bake cookies for myself. Most of my baked goods are made with others in mind. I always know I’ll enjoy them as well, but my main thought when baking will be, “My family will love these,” or “I can bring these to work/my friend’s house” etc. This time I made cookies just for me, specifically to my tastes and food preferences. Sure, I’ve shared with friends and family when they’ve been around, but this particular batch of cookies has made its home in my little glass cake stand on my kitchen counter, and is primarily being consumed by yours truly. These cookies make me happy.

It was a small step in self nurture, which is something I’ve kind of been lacking lately. I have no qualms about making myself feel better with food. It is what it is, and it’s pretty tasty.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

These cookies are made without refined flour or sugar, but they’re also made with a hefty amount of brown butter and dark chocolate. Since I’m a bit of a whole foods advocate, but also a brown butter and chocolate advocate, all of these ingredients seemed appropriate.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

I used spelt flour, because I love its subtle nutty flavor, but you can definitely swap whole wheat pastry flour, or unbleached all purpose (if you’re not concerned with the “whole grain” thing). Almond meal adds moistness and a light almond flavor to the dough, while old-fashioned oats bring a bit of texture. If you don’t have sucanat (dried sugar cane) on hand, I suspect you could swap it with brown sugar, since the flavor is very similar.

These cookies are thick, chewy, and stay soft for days. I like heating them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before devouring, because melted chocolate chips make life better.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

Take care of yourself. Make some cookies.
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Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan)

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

So. I made myself a vegan birthday cake. If you knew me in real life you’d realize how funny this is. If you knew me in real life you’d know that birthdays are a BIG DEAL in my family, and they are usually wrapped up by diving head first into a bucket (literally a bucket) filled with oreos, chocolate pudding, and cool whip. Dang girl, is it good.

I plan on eating both cakes today. It’s my birthday, so I get to cake myself as much as I want to! Birthdays are the BEST, aren’t they?

As I’ve mentioned before, I love vegan baking. Regular baking with dairy and eggs is a challenge in itself, so once you take away those magic ingredients it’s kind of like a sick, addicting torture to try to get it right. Read into that what you will.

Spiced Chai Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

Baking layer cakes puts me in a strange zone of concentration where time zooms past and daylight fades far too quickly. There’s so much detail and planning involved, and so much riding on what happens when you flip that cake pan upside down and hope everything baked evenly and no cake bits got stuck in the process. It’s exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s an unpredictable, sugar-filled drug, and it’s definitely my drug of choice (unless we’re counting wine, because wine wins everything).

Speaking of sugar-filled drugsā€¦can you ever frost a cake and not run your finger through it for a taste? I apparently can’t.

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

This birthday cake, which we’ll refer to as Birthday Cake #1, is fluffy, sweet, and spiced like my favorite wake up/warm up drink: Chai Tea. I drink 2 very (VERY) strong cups of chai tea every morning. Without my tea I’m lost, crabby, and fairly non-functional. It ain’t pretty.

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

I like to drink my chai tea out of the mug I brought back from studying abroad in Greece. It has a couple chips in the rim. That’s how you know its loved.

I also like to drink my chai tea in cake form, it turns out.

Spiced Chai Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

On top of the chai-spiced cake goes a thick, creamy [butter-free] buttercream with that wonderfully decadent and sweet hint of vanilla bean. I’ve only recently discovered how much I love baking with real vanilla bean, so it needed to make an appearance in my [1st] birthday cake.

The 2nd birthday cake, the [VERY] non-vegan birthday cake, is the filling to these cupcakes. I’ll take one of each. Please and thank you.
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Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Cutout Cookies

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

I really didn’t set out to post 3 cookie recipes in a row. I wish I could say this was all part of my well-organized December Christmas blog plan, but the truth is that I just really really really like cookies, and my blog plan is determined by my tummy.

I’ve mentioned before that my family’s Christmas diet is about 90% cookies, and the other 10% is filled with various types of white bread. I guess the meat eaters also have some sort of poultry or pig, but really it’s all about the sugar and white carbs.

…so obviously I had to kind of screw that up.

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast
Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

Although our cookie spread will include the usual white-sugar, white flour, and butter-laden treats, some of our sugar cookie cutouts will be hiding healthy secrets. These guys are made with 100% whole wheat flour, no butter, and no refined sugars, yet are still soft, sweet, and cute as can be.

Especially if you use a Minnesota-shaped cookie cutter. Obviously.

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

The folks at Ziggy Marley Organics were nice enough to gift me with a lovely array of products to play with, so I replaced the butter in these cookies with coconut oil. The resulting cookies don’t taste like coconut (my crazy coconut-hating sister didn’t even notice the coconut flavor), but the smooth and rich texture of the coconut oil results in a cookie that’s light in texture, yet full of moisture and healthy fats.

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

Whole wheat pastry flour lends a nutty flavor, which I highlighted with a little cinnamon. Sucanat’s flavor is similar to brown sugar, but I find it’s a little sweeter, so I balanced it with a bit more salt than I’d usually use in a cookie recipe.

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Cutout Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

I actually baked these earlier today, so this marks the FASTEST I’ve ever put up a blog post. My mom, sister, and sister-in-law came over to throw around flour, butter, and powdered sugar this afternoon. Our annual Christmas baking day is one of my favorite days of the year, because it’s just the start of the family time (and cookie time) that the holidays bring. I won’t be posting again this week, so here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful and delicious holiday!
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Almond Butter Oatmeal and Cherry Cookies {Vegan, Refined-Sugar Free}

Almond Butter Oatmeal Spelt Cookies from Veggie and the Beast

Oh 3pm, you’re so predictable. All other hours of my workday at least provide some variety to my thought processes, but not you, 3pm. You’re all about the antsy, boredom, will-this-day-ever-end cravings. No matter how much I stuff myself with a hearty and nutritious lunch, you’re going to make me twiddle my fingers until I find something delicious for them to grasp, aren’t you?

The form of these cravings changes day-to-day. I used to want chips, and then I went through a phase where I would just spoon peanut butter out of the jar (note: dangerous), but lately I’ve been all about sweets. Specifically, I want a baked good. At 3pm. Every damn day. Sure, a decadent midday baked good is fine every-so-often, but everyday? Get your head out of the sugary, cotton candy clouds, Katie.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Spelt Cookies from Veggie and the Beast

I do, however, heartily believe in the power of an afternoon pick-me-up. Sometimes you just neeeed that boost to get through the final couple hours of the workday. Which brings me to these cookies. I made them on Monday night when I realized I shouldn’t deny myself the baked goodness, but perhaps I could make a healthier option than what’s in the cupboards at work (i.e. Famous Amos).

These have everything I love in a cookie: thick, chewy, and full of texture, plus they’re packed with maple syrup and almond butter, which are two of my favorite things. I’ve been eating them around 3pm at work this week and they definitely help me appease the late-afternoon ants in my pants.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Spelt Cookies from Veggie and the Beast

I only recently began baking with spelt flour, and I think I’m in love. It’s a whole grain flour, but it’s high in protein, easy to digest, and packed with nutrients. The flavor is nutty and similar to whole wheat, but I find it slightly more mild, which can make a big difference in the taste of your baked goods.

To boost the benefits beyond spelt, I used a small amount of coconut oil for the fat, then added applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup for extra moisture and flavor. The oats add fiber and texture, while the dried cherries bring some tartness to the mix.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Spelt Cookies from Veggie and the Beast

These cookies are vegan, but if you’d rather use a regular egg than a chia/flax egg I’m sure that would be fine. The other ingredients can also be tweaked to your liking; swap out the almond butter for peanut butter (or any other nut butter), replace the cherries with other dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips (which I MUST try next). Obviously, if you try any different combinations, let me know!
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