I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I know I sure did. Christmas Eve in particular. It seems to be the tradition with many families to open the gifts and visit the family on Christmas day, but not for my family. Christmas Eve has always been the day to celebrate with the family. Christmas day was reserved for hanging out with friends and showing off the new toys.
Back to Christmas Eve… Church, followed by a meal prepared by mom. She will make each person whatever meal he or she requests. Crazy lady will make 5 different meals! This year she outdid herself by preparing a few extra vegan dishes for me and the boyfriend.
What’s my job you may ask? Well, mom takes care of the entrees and most sides but I make the desserts and a few sides of my own. I like to add my own twist to the cranberry sauce like blueberries and cabernet or cinnamon and grand marnier and I definitely don’t skimp on desserts. Among the many desserts I put together, there were peppermint crème cakes, peppermint snowballs, and some of grandma and omi’s classic cookies with my own healthy twist. All of my treats were vegan, gluten free and low in sugar – which is good because I can’t stop eating them! My grandma’s and my omi’s cookies presented the biggest challenge. How do you begin to create a healthy cookie when the first ingredients are 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar? Challenge accepted! Here’s just one delicious recipe (more to come)…
Walnut “Butter” Balls
Vegan, Gluten free
1c coconut oil, softened
- 1/4c coconut flour
- 3T powdered sugar + more for dusting (I poured turbinado sugar in a food processor to get the powdered consistency)
- 1/2t salt
- 1t vanilla extract
- 2c gluten free flour of choice (I used Red Mill Biscuit Mix)
- 1-2c finely ground walnuts (1 generous cup worked for me)
Preheat oven to 350F . When oil is soft (not liquid), mix with sugar and coconut flour until creamy. Add salt, vanilla, flour and mix well.
If you use butter, I would suggest chilling the dough in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, however, I used coconut oil and coconut solidifies so that was a no-go for me. Instead, I chilled it for about 5 minutes and added additional flour as needed to make the dough easier to work with.
Shape small amounts of dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. These cookie balls will not rise so spacing is not a big concern. Bake until light brown or about 12-15minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before dusting them with additional powdered sugar.
Because I used coconut oil and live in a warm climate, I find it best to store these in the fridge to be devoured whenever I’d like.
Thank goodness for coconut oil! If you are not a fan of coconut, than you’re in luck! Coconut oil does not actually taste like coconut at all. These cookies are not exactly what grandma made (but pretty close!). And just because they’re not identical does not mean they are not delightful. The walnuts and coconut oil give it all the buttery richness these cookies need. These cookies probably have the most sugar I’ve used in any recipe but still a minimal amount. So enjoy a slightly sweet, buttery, rich and healthful cookie this holiday season.