Friday, November 13, 2009

Peach Pepita Paleo Cookies

If you are a regular at The Baker's Bench, you'll know that this recipe is a little different from my usual fare. I can explain. I have a couple of friends who are very disciplined and health-minded and who subscribe to a "paleo" diet, which apparently consists mainly of meat and vegetables. They eat few or no processed foods ~ and that includes flour (even healthy, whole grain flour! ~ crazy, right? But I digress).

Because they insist on depriving themselves of butter-and-sugar deliciousness most days of the week but still enjoy oven love, I came up with this recipe. If you voluntarily choose to go through life without benefit of pizza or ice cream ~ something I'm quite positive I'm not genetically equipped to do ~ it's my feeling that you should at least be able to enjoy a cookie now and then.

So I carefully looked up all the ingredients and cross-checked them against various lists of accepted paleo foods. Honey is a little controversial, but I used raw honey, and since there are cave paintings that depict early man gathering honey from hives built into cliffs, I say that's good enough.

What do these cookies taste like? Pretty good, actually. On the level of a granola bar in terms of sweetness. The texture reminds me of a soft Florentine (the lack of sugar ~ white or brown ~ prevents this cookie from getting crispy). Overall, I consider these a good "weekday" cookie. Not indulgent, not swoon-worthy, but a nice virtuous snacking cookie. My kids liked them, and they're low in sugar, have no added fat, and have a good bit of protein and vitamins from the nuts, seeds, and peaches. Not bad for a cookie.

Peach Pepita Paleo Cookies
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 T pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup chopped dried peaches
  • Ground cinnamon and ginger to taste
  • Pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Spoon out by scant tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 10 to 11 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let sit on pan 2 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:
  • You can purchase dried peaches but I like to dry my own in the dehydrator my wonderful husband bought for my birthday. I find dark, unsulfured peaches or apricots unappetizing, but I strongly dislike the idea of using sulfur to preserve the color. So, to prevent them from turning dark as they dry, I dip the peach slices in cold water to which a little bit of lemon juice, grated ginger, and honey has been added. They stay a beautiful vibrant color long after drying.
  • If you don't like peaches or want some variety, try raisins, chopped prunes, or chopped dried apricots instead. Craisins and other dried cranberries are almost always sweetened and would therefore not be considered paleo-friendly, so bear that in mind if it's a concern for you.
  • You can make these with ground walnuts or ground pecans instead of almonds. Grind them in your food processor; just be careful not to overgrind or you'll end up with nut butter.
  • You can add dried unsweetened coconut and banana chips for a nice variation. Just be sure to use unsweetened if you're on observing a paleo or similar diet.


Anonymous said...

How nice of you to come up with this recipe so that your friends can enjoy cookies! Even those of us not on the paleo-diet can appreciate a healthier cookie.

The Duo Dishes said...

Wow, definitely nice of you. And very different!

Sophie said...

This healthier cookie looks the best!! I so love making healthier cookies!

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