Black Walnut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black walnuts have a bold, unique flavor—to me, it’s slightly sweet, and a cross between anise, chamomile, and maple.They’ve a slightly acquired taste, which stands out in the cookie, so if you’re able to, you might want to sample some of the black walnuts first. If your tastebuds aren’t too adventurous, opt for Persian Walnuts instead. Both can be purchased at Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  These cookies are adapted from my Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies from my second book The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies.

gluten-free vegan black walnut butter chocolate chip cookies

Black Walnut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the Black Walnut Butter:
5 ounces (141 grams) black walnuts
1 tablespoon (15mL) walnut oil
Pinch fine sea salt

For the cookies:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150mL) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (60mL) quinoa flour
1/4 cup (60mL) tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) xanthan gum.
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) fine sea salt
3/4 cup (180mL) agave nectar
1 batch Black Walnut Butter
1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the Black Walnut Butter, put all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container periodically. This can be done in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the cookies, put the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Put the agave nectar, Black Walnut Butter, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Using the stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture. Beat to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per cookie. Leave about 3-inches of space between each portion.

Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, until edges start to brown. They will seem underbaked, but will firm as they cool.

Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Pineapple, Pecan, and Coconut Crisp

This raw recipe features nuts and dates as the primary components, added to fresh pineapple, and a quick no-bake process that makes dessert easily doable on hot summer days.

pineapple crisp full

Pineapple, Pecan, and Coconut Crisp

For the filling:
1 large ripe pineapple, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (125 g) tender honey dates, soaked 15 minutes in warm water (reserve 3 tablespoons soaking water)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

For the topping:
3 cups pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup (185 g) chopped dates

Toss half the pineapple with the lemon juice and set aside. Put the other half of pineapple, dates, cinnamon, ground flaxseeds and reserved soaking water in a food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into a bowl and give the food processor a quick rinse and wipe.

Put the pecans, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is in small pieces. Add raisins and dates and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and starts to stick together. Don’t over process.

To assemble the crisp, press a few small scoops of the crumble into the bottom of an 8-inch  square glass baking dish. Spread the pineapple evenly on top of it. Sprinkle with remaining crumble topping. Serve cold or at room temperature. Covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator, it will keep for three to four days.

pineapple crisp served

Asparagus and (Almond) Cheese Tart with Cornmeal Pastry

This works best with thin asparagus, otherwise you might want to roast them a bit, first. Plan ahead here — the almond cheese requires preparation a day in advance.

tart2

Asparagus and (Almond) Cheese Tart with Cornmeal Pastry

For the Almond Cheese:
1 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill, plus more to taste
1 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

For the Crust:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil, slightly softened, but not liquid
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
About 1/4 cup ice water

For the Topping:
About 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed

To make the almond “cheese”, place the almonds in a glass bowl. Cover with enough water by about 3 inches. Soak overnight, at least 12 hours

The next day, rinse the almonds well with cold water. Use your fingers to squeeze off the almond skins. Rinse again and soak for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Sample, and add more dill, salt and lemon to taste.

After soaking, rinse the almonds well. Drain well. Place the almonds, garlic, oil, dill, lemon juice, salt and syrup in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, to let flavours meld together.

To make the crust, place the flour, cornmeal and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Pulse until there are pea-sized pieces of coconut oil among the flour. Turn the food processor on and add the water, a little at a time, just enough to make a cohesive dough. Gather the dough together, pat into a disc-shape, and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to roll it. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle on a piece of parchment paper, about 8 inches by 10 inches. Use your fingers to crimp the edges into a crust. Transfer to a baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Spread the crust with the “cheese”. Top with the asparagus. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until browned. Serve at room temperature.