If you see me today you will notice that I am unusually pale, my eyes a bit squinting and cautious. For that matter my voice is a little on the crackly side. I sound like an old tape recording and look like a ghost. Not a good look.
But before you think, “ah, poor sick Kellie,” I feel the need to confess. You see, I haven’t been struck down by a mystery illness. Not unless that illness is addiction to Netflix. Yup, I have been sat on my backside all weekend bingeing on the second series of House of Cards. I tried to eek it out, to savour the flavour of each deliciously outrageous episode. But I failed. I couldn’t have been more glued to the sofa if I’d been made of toffee.
Mr A has long given up on the show. Not because he doesn’t like it but because he couldn’t keep up the pace. I am a night waker/very early riser, and instead of rolling over and counting sheep (or alphabetising French boys names, or things you find in space – a good option for the insomniac) I have been sneaking episodes of House of Cards and guzzling them whole.
And now I am bereft. No longer will I have to grasp my open mouth to keep from shouting “No!!” (or perhaps something stronger), nor sit motionless on the sofa with a slumbering cat for company. It got so bad that I was bingeing during the day at weekends too. Hence the paleness. But alas, I have/we have to wait another year for more nail-gnawing action (well, talking) from Frank and co. Sigh. But at least I have found my muscles still work! I am such a bad example….
Luckily I didn’t have any of these cookies around. These are binge-worthy. I could definitely have mindlessly ploughed my way through a plate of these. That isn’t a recommendation though 🙂
I made these thinking of my Dad and his love for molasses cookies. He has a sweet tooth that he valiantly ignores for the most part, but I wanted to come up with a healthier version of this, his favourite cookie. He deserves a treat – and so do you, I’m sure.
With flavour, texture and health in mind I rummaged around and pulled out some chestnut flour – a fab sub for wheat flour in cookies, pancakes and bars – and a jar of raw sugar (coconut palm this time but it could have been sucanat). And that just left the fat.
Until recently I didn’t realise that such crinkle cookies are nearly always made with vegetable shortening. And I wasn’t having that health-offender in my cookie recipe. Yes, I know there are non-hydrogenated solid fats on the market, but I still can’t bring myself to trust them. In the same vein, even the ‘healthier’ raw sugars are still sugar and should ideally be eaten and enjoyed in moderation. PSA over with…
Anyway, as luck would have it, I have recently received a package from Maille. You know, the French mustard company. They make a lot more than mustard though, and as a UK food blogger I was recently invited to come up with a recipe or two with one of their ingredients for a contest. I love walnut oil so, from the huge list of mustards, oils and vinegars, that is what I choose. I have made a savoury dish (posting soon) but I thought that Maille walnut oil would be perfect here in this spice-rich, hearty cookie. How much nicer than solid vegetable fat! But use one of the other suggested fats if you can’t get this delicious, nutty oil. I have almost used up my bottle making salad dressing (although it is still too cold for much in the way of salads, sadly) but I’m glad I had enough for this baking recipe. I know this won’t be a winning recipe – far too simple and perhaps the chestnut flour is a step too far – but I will say that the walnut oil is delicious in these cookies.
As I have been sitting quite enough these days – and this robust study says why sitting is deadly – I shall move about a bit and go get some fresh air. And then I am going to do a fast. A Netflix fast. Wish me luck!
What’s your favourite cookie from childhood? Have you given it a makeover, or do you enjoy it as is? Are you hooked on any TV shows – critically-acclaimed or not? Can anyone recommend a good bronzing powder??
Soft and Chewy Molasses Crinkle Cookies (grain-free)
These soft and chewy molasses cookies are not only refined-sugar free but also grain-free too! If you can’t get hold of the chestnut flour you may use baker’s spelt flour for a similar result. And, of course, most of you won’t be able to get the sorghum molasses but dark treacle is just fine. However sorghum is best if you have it.
One other note, do chill the dough. Otherwise the cookies will run all over the tray, and although they will taste fine the texture may not be. Just an hour will do. It is worth the small wait, I promise!
120g (1 cup) chestnut flour OR baker’s blend spelt flour (a 50:50 blend of refined and wholegrain spelt flours)
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom (or crush the seeds of 2 green pods)
¼ tsp ground cloves
50g (1/4 cup) coconut sugar OR sucanat OR muscovado sugar
4 tbsp walnut oil, light olive oil, rapeseed oil OR coconut oil (I used 2 tbsp walnut oil and 2 tbsp organic rapeseed oil)
1 large egg white or medium egg
4 tbsp sorghum molasses OR dark treacle OR date syrup
Optional: extra sugar for either rolling the dough in, or sprinkling after baking.
1. Dry-whisk or sift the first six dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl. I use a big balloon whisk.
2. In a separate bowl or large jug, use an electric whisk/beaters to blend the sugar, oil(s), egg and molasses until lighter in colour and thickened. This should take about three minutes of whisking on ‘high.’ Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until you have a sticky dough.Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator at least one hour, or even overnight if you like. This makes the dough easier to roll into balls but also helps with the actual integrity of the cookie.
3. When you want to bake either use a cookie scoop (I have seen these things but don’t have one) or use an oil-sprayed tablespoon and oil-sprayed hands to make walnut-sized balls of dough. They will be quite sticky but workable. If you wish, roll the balls into some sugar. Place each ball onto a baking parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking tray – about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. You will need two trays, or one that you cool down between batches.
4. Bake in an 180C/350F oven for between eight and nine minutes for a soft, chewy cookie. If you want them firmer – they do firm upon cooling though – take it up to 10, but no more. The cookies are ready when they have firmer edges and softer, crinkling middles.
5. Remove from the oven and keep them on the tray for a few minutes to firm up, then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack for further cooling.
Note: you can keep the covered, uncooked dough in the refrigerator for up to four days before baking, and frozen wrapped dough (roll into a rough cylinder and mark 12 even notches on it) for 3 months. For the frozen dough defrost until you are able to cut off pieces and roll.
Last year: Linguine with Spring Herbs, Chilli and Crab
Two years ago: Forager’s Fritters
Three years ago: Tuna and Creme Fraiche Pizza
Miss R’s track of the week: Heart and Soul by Scottish band Twin Atlantic