Once upon a time in Shani’s world of cookies there were only two classifications. Moderately wholesome (rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit or honey tended to be defining features) or thoroughly unhealthy. The ‘healthy’ end of the spectrum didn’t exist. In that world a cookie couldn’t be healthy. It was impossible. Indulgent just didn’t equate with nutritious. What a narrow world it was. Then one day it wasn’t anymore. Turns out it is in fact possible for a cookie to be good for you. Relatively speaking. We can’t be comparing cookies with watermelon – it just wouldn’t be fair for either party.
These days my repertoire of ‘guilt free’ cookies (and as always portion control determines the extent of that definition) is ever expanding. These Seeded Spelt Balls are my all-in, went-a-little-bit-crazy-with-the-ingredients cookies. Indecisiveness resulted in a slew of nutritious mix-ins. Pepitas? A no-brainer. Sesame seeds? Hmmm they do pair so very nicely with pepitas. Almonds? Got lots of those on hand, better chuck some in. Chia seeds? It would be silly not to include a super-food. Toasted coconut? Mmmm yes, yes, yes. Quinoa? Well if we’re toasting coconut we might as well toss a bit in. You get the drift.
Despite the lengthy list of goodies, it’s only a four-step process – five if you include eating the remnants of dough stuck on the bowl (kind of a necessity) – between you and sixteen (fifteen if you get over-excited with your dough-sampling) golf-balls of goodness. Half an hour tops. Don’t believe me? Let’s break-down the process.
1.) Toast your quinoa, sesame seeds and coconut for two to three minutes. Extra nuttiness? Yes please.
2.) Mix all your dry ingredients together. Nick an almond or two to keep you going. It’s tough business making cookies.
3.) Whisk your vanilla essence, apple puree (yup, they’ve even got fruit in them) and maple syrup together. Slop into the dry ingredients and stir like mad until everything is just moistened and slightly sticky. How’s that timer going? Still under fifteen minutes? You bet.
4.) Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and place on a greased and lined tray. Slide into the oven (the trays, not you, silly) for ten minutes. Meanwhile lick the bowl – guilt free. Pull out your now golden brown and crispy-topped cookies. Set the tray on a wire rack, allowing the cookies to cool and ‘set’ for a minute or two.
Break one in half and marvel at the smattering of seeds inside. Crisp shell, chewy centre, nutty and subtly sweet with goodies galore. Welcome to the world of indulgent and healthy cookies.
Seeded Spelt Balls
Makes approximately 16.
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp quinoa
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup almonds, finely chopped
¾ cup spelt flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp flaxseeds (linseeds)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
¼ cup apple puree
3 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease and line one large baking tray with baking paper.
Set a small frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once warm, add the sesame seeds, quinoa and shredded coconut. Cook, stirring regularly, for approximately 2-3 minutes or until they release a nutty aroma and begin to turn golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add to the bowl the chopped almonds, spelt flour, rolled oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon, salt and dark chocolate chips. Stir well.
In a separate small bowl whisk together the apple puree, maple syrup and vanilla essence. Pour over the dry mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir until everything is well combined. Be sure to uncover any ‘dry pockets’. The resulting dough should be moist and ever so slightly sticky. Add a touch more maple syrup if it appears too dry.
Take tablespoonfuls of the mixture and use the palm of your hands to gently roll into balls. Place on the baking tray, leaving 2cm between each ball (they will not grow).
Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown on top and just firm to touch. Set the baking tray on a wire rack and leave to cool for 2 minutes. Then remove the cookies from the baking tray and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.
Will keep for approximately 4 days in an airtight container, though will lose crisp topping after a day. Also freeze well.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.