Protein-Packed, Allergy-Friendly, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut-free)

It’s been a cold week.  I know I mentioned the cold in my last post, but when you don’t have a car, the cold is always on your mind.  I’ve been living in Canada my whole life, but that won’t stop me from complaining about the cold.  My stats tell me that I have readers of this blog from warm places like Brazil and Jamaica (hi and welcome to all of you! :)).  But just so you people in warm countries know what I’m dealing with, according to the Weather Network, it will be a high of -17 C on Tuesday…

Yup.

I’m not gonna lie — cold weather and bar study make me want to be a hermit and eat cookies.  I’ll admit — sometimes I give in to those latent tendencies and I bake up a storm (lol.  I’m just noticing that I wrote “bake” and did not write “study.”  Quite telling.  Anyways…) .  That said, I want to make sure that whatever I put into my body is nutritious.  I had a hankering for some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the other day, and so I came up with this.

This is recipe is inspired by the cookie recipes of Melangery, Namely Marly and Oh She Glows.

Why these cookies are awesome sauce:

  • They are nut-free, refined sugar-free, egg free, dairy-free and gluten-free
  • They are soft and chewy and packed with protein. In fact, the hemp seeds serve as a plant-based source of complete protein
  • They are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, fiber and other vital nutrients
  • They make the perfect after workout snack or accompaniment to a healthy breakfast
  • In terms of cookies, these are, by far, one of most nutritious I’ve ever seen (*humble brag*)

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½ cup sunflower seed butter (you can substitute another nut butter, like almond or hazelnut, but then it wouldn’t be nut free)

½ cup melted coconut oil

½ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

½ cup Sucanat or brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tbsp flaxmeal

3 Tbsp water

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (OR 1 cup brown rice flour + ½ cup buckwheat flour OR 1 ½ cups oat flour to make it gluten-free)

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 Tbsp chia seeds

3 Tbsp hemp seeds

2 Tbsp flaxmeal

1 cup chocolate chips, dairy-free (I used Camino’s 70% dark chocolate chips. Enjoy Life brand also has dairy-free chocolate chips)

There are two ways to make these cookies (or any cookie in general):  the lazy way (which is what I did and is my preferred method), and the proper cookie making way.

The Lazy Way

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat (silicone baking liners).
  2. Combine the 1 tbsp of flaxmeal with the 3 tbsp of water and let sit for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the batter. The mucilaginous, gelatinous properties of flaxmeal will turn this mixture into our “flax egg.” Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the other ingredients (except the chocolate chips and flax egg). With a hand mixer (or a wooden spoon and a strong arm), mix all of the ingredients.  Add the flax egg and mix some more until the batter is consistent.  If the batter is dry, feel free to add a splash of non-dairy milk or water until you have a firm, cookie like batter (not dry and crumbly; it should hold together).  Add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  4. Using an ice scream scoop or your bare hands, scoop 2 tbsp worth of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and press them down into little rounds. The cookie should be no more than 1 cm thick.  If you are a stickler for aesthetics, you can round and smooth the cracked edges with wet or moistened finger tips.
  5. Put the cookies into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine for 11 minutes).
  6. Once baked, transfer carefully (because they are fragile and may crack!!) to a cooling rack.
  7. These cookies can be safely frozen once baked. I believe the batter can also be frozen to bake later as well.

The Proper Way

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat (silicone baking liners).
  2. Combine the 1 tbsp of flaxmeal with the 3 tbsp of water and let sit for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the batter. The mucilaginous, gelatinous properties of flaxmeal will turn this mixture into our “flax egg.” Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the weet ingredients (except the flax egg). In other words, mix the sunflower seed butter, the melted coconut oil, the sugar and the vanilla together.
  4. In a large bowl, combine all of the other dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Stir to combine.  Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  With a hand mixer (or a wooden spoon and a strong arm), mix all of the ingredients (including flax egg) together until the batter is consistent.  If the batter is dry, feel free to add a splash of non-dairy milk or water until you have a firm, cookie like batter (not dry and crumbly; it should hold together).  Add the chocolate chips and mix again until well incorporated.
  5. Using an ice scream scoop or your bare hands, scoop 2 tbsp worth of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and press them down into little rounds. The cookie should be no more than 1 cm thick.  If you are a stickler for aesthetics, you can round and smooth the cracked edges with wet or moistened finger tips.
  6. Put the cookies into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine for 11 minutes).
  7. Once baked, transfer carefully (because they are fragile and may crack!!) to a cooling rack.
  8. These cookies can be safely frozen once baked. I believe the batter can also be frozen to bake later as well.

Note: You can go all out with the seeds in this recipe and add more.  I sure did. 🙂

Note: If you used the sunflower seed butter, once you bite into the cooled cookies, you may notice that they are green inside.  This freaked me out, so I did some research.  Apparently, it’s normal and nothing to worry about; your cookies are still edible.  For more info on why this happens, see here, here and here.

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They may not be pretty, but they are yummy!  Enjoy these cookies with a tall glass of homemade almond milk and you’re all set!


Kick Off Your Christmas Cooking with Some Reggae and Black Cake (vegan and gluten-free)

Hello lovelies!! Today was a super long (but fun!!) day of baking Christmas cookies with a friend from law school and chatting for hours with another good friend.  This time of the year always reminds of how much has God has blessed me through the love of others close to me and through the gift of His Son.

That said, alas, Christmas is upon us, and, like every year, I end up scrambling to cook something.

I’m letting my sorrel soak so I can make the drink tomorrow and you may want to do the same if you haven’t already.  In the meanwhile, I’ll re-post an oldie but a goodie — my vegan Christmas black “rum” cake.  It can easy be made gluten-free by substituting the flour with an equal amount of gluten free flour (Bob’s Red Mill baking blend or Angelique flour are my go-to favs).  Making black cake is a Jamaican Christmas tradition.  I’m soaking my fruits right now so I can make this later on today.

If only I had some “vegan” oxtail…

I’ll be back soon to post my “Ras Mas” Sorrel Recipe so stay tooned.

My earliest memories of Christmas in my household involve my father playing, from cassette or LP (remember those?), reggae covers of Christmas carols like “We Wish You an Irie Christmas” (Jacob Miller) or “Santa Clause, Do You Ever Come to the Ghetto?” (Carlene Davis).  When “Flash my Dreads” (Barrington Levy) came on, my sister and I would shake our heads from side to side, kind of like what Bob Marley used to do when he performed, with our braids swinging and splayed about.

While you wait for the sorrel to steep, I encourage you to play some reggae Christmas carols.  Trust me – they really set the atmosphere and get you into the Jamaican Christmas spirit vibes.

That said, I’ve decided to share my “Christmas reggae” YouTube playlist with all of you. There’s even some Toni Braxton on this, as well as the legendary John Holt and Yellowman. I LOVE the reggae cover of “Last Christmas.” Beres Hammond does what he does best and finishes the mix off with some smooth Christmas “chunes” (translation: tunes). This playlist is gold. Enjoy. 🙂

What are your Christmas traditions?  What do you eat around this time of the year?  Let me know in the comments!


Vegan Jamaican Black “Rum” Cake

All Jamaicans will tell you that Christmas means sorrel and black cake. 🙂

As one of my many exam procrastination projects, I made a Jamaican black “rum” cake with royal icing — all vegan. I then brought it to Tracy’s house for her first annual Christmas baking competition. I’m now suffering from a mild diabetic coma.

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Typical black cake uses rum/port wine to soak the fruits and glaze/soak the cake once baked.  This recipe uses no alcohol or rum since I don’t drink alcohol.  It also means that this cake cannot be kept out for very long.  I did, however, use “rum flavour” which I found at a West Indian store in Montreal.  Also, black cake is supposed to be black.  Feel free to add a little more browning if needed, but not too much, since browning is quite salty and bitter.  Here’s the recipe:

Jamaican Black Cake

1 kg of mixed glazed fruits (rutabaga, orange peel, lemon peel, cherries, glucose-fructose, citric acid, corn syrup)

1 bottle of sparkling grape juice (I didn’t have grape juice, so I used apple and pomegranate)

1 bottle of rum flavour

1/2 cup currants

1 cup raisins

4 cups flour

7 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer with 10 tbsp of water

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

salt (optional — omit if using Earth Balance)

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan spread

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 shredded coconut

1 tsp browning

Soak the mixed glazed fruits, currants and raisins in half of the sparkling apple juice and rum flavour overnight.

Blend the fruit mixture in your blender or food processor until almost smooth (this depends on preference.  If you want a chunkier cake in which you can taste pieces of the peels, don’t blend until smooth).

In a small bowl, prepare your egg replacement and mix with a hand mixer.

In a medium bowl, cream the sugar and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Add all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices) to a large bowl and mix well.

Mix in blended fruit mixture with dry ingredients.

Add wet ingredients (egg replacement, vanilla extract, almond extract, browning, creamed sugar) and mix well with a hand mixer.  The batter should be thick but pour-able.

Grease and line two round pans with wax paper, and fill the pans with the batters (3/4 full).

Put the pans in the centre of the oven.  Put a pan of water on the bottom rack in the oven, under the cakes.  This “steams” the cakes so that they come out moist.

Bake for 1 hour until cake tests done.

Once cooled, remove cake from pans and pour the rest of the sparkling apple juice over the cakes to enhance moisture.

Royal Icing (taken from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook):

1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp Ener-G replacer

2 tbsp water

1/4 tsp almond extract.

Mix the Ener-G replacer with the water, then add the almond extract and the sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Spread the icing on the cake but do so quickly — once the icing dries, it will start to crack and will be hard to work with.

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