September 21, 2010

The beginnings of a cookie extravaganza

As a kid, my mom and I would watch Sesame Street together while my sister and brother would be at school.  My favourite character was the big, blue, cookie-crazed Cookie Monster.  His inability to resist a plate of cookies is quite hilarious and reminds me a bit of myself.  If there are cookies near me- on a plate, or on the shelf, they call out to me. I'm not joking!  I can hear them call me over to take a bite into their sweet bodies and savour the feeling of having a mouth full of cookie goodness.  My brain tells me to resist the temptation and be strong, but my tummy takes over and that's when I believe it is my duty, as a fan of Cookie Monster, to enjoy the cookies that are around me.  It is only after the fact, that I start to feel guilty about my sweet consumption and think about how I'm going to burn off those extra calories.  As Ina Garten says, "You can be miserable before you have a cookie and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie but you can't be miserable while you are eating a cookie."

Hmm.   I know I can't give up cookies, or chocolate, or cookies that contain chocolate (yum!), so the next best thing that I can think of is to start making my own cookies. The good thing about this is that there won't be any preservatives or artificial ingredients in my cookies. They will only contain fresh, wholesome natural ingredients.  I think this another way achieving a healthier lifestyle...(yea...right...sure...who am I kidding?). 

This cookie recipe that I'm sharing with you today is a twist on my Cardamom Shorties recipe. A swap of ingredients and a change in measurements gave me these wonderful Cashew Cardamom Shorties.

Cashew Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

1 tsp cardamom powder, finely ground
1/4 cup cashew meal, freshly ground (to make cashew meal, take some raw or roasted cashews and grind them up in a food processor. Stop grinding when the cashews are finely ground- just before you make cashew butter)
1 2/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup of brown cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together the flour, cashew meal, espresso powder and cardamom powder.

In large bowl using rubber spatula, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until well blended. Pour into flour mixture and stir until combined.  Using your hands, create small balls out of the cookie dough, about the size of a small meatball and then press down gently so a round cookie forms into a coin shape.

Bake until the edges of the cookie are lightly golden. Cool completely on the cookie sheets.

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