Monday, April 14, 2014

Macaroons? Cookie Dough Bites? (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Macaroons? Cookie dough bites? (Project 365: 103/365)

Have you ever gotten halfway through a recipe you found somewhere, and realized there was no way that it was going to work as written? With cooking, it's definitely easier to recover from and make tweaks, but when it's a baked good... well, all bets are off.

This happened to me about a month ago. I had come across a recipe for cashew flour chocolate chip cookies, and even though I had some warning bells going off in my head as I read the recipe, the positive comments convinced me to give it a shot.

Mix together dry ingredients - okay. Add butter - hrmm, no indication of the temperature or state of the butter given. Guess I'll soften it, that's pretty typical for cookies, right? Okay, now I have lumpy flour. Maybe when I add the liquid... liquid... there's no more liquid in this recipe. I guess the butter was supposed to be melted. Uh oh. Now what do I do???

Well, I'm not one to give up, especially when I've psyched myself up for chocolate chip cookies. I added some liquid, more flour, sugar (the original recipe also had no sweetener)... just guessing at amounts, until I had something that resembled a cookie dough. Whew! Let's get these guys onto a cookie sheet and bake 'em up.

7 minutes in - gee, these look awfully puffy and they're not spreading. I think I'll squish 'em down with a spoon and give them another few minutes.

12 minutes - well, these look like they're about as done as they're going to be. Yikes.

Failcookies (Project 365: 59/365)

Hey, even though they look like they fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down... they tasted good! I fed them to my husband, who thought they had a similar texture to macaroons. Macaroons. I can get behind that.

The next time I made them, I decided to use coconut oil instead of softened Earth Balance to enhance the macaroon-iness of them. Coconut flavor without the chewy coconut bits, for those who don't care for that texture. I also rolled the dough into balls for baking and did NOT flatten them with a spoon this time.

Hooray! They looked more like macaroons this time. But - to further confuse matters, my husband said that he felt like he was eating cookie dough, but in a good way. Cookie dough bites? I can also get behind that.

This is my long-winded way of saying, this is a gluten-free, vegan treat that is having a slight identity crisis. Make the dough balls a little bigger (1.5" diameter) if you want to call them macaroons. Make 'em a little smaller (1" diameter or even a little smaller) if you want to call them cookie dough bites. Don't like coconut? Use softened butter or margarine instead of coconut oil. Mix in whatever other chocolate or nuts or dried fruit you want.

Just don't flatten them with a spoon.

Macaroons? Cookie dough bites?

Macaroons or Cookie Dough Bites
Makes approximately 20 2" macaroons, more if you make them smaller

  • 1 cup gluten-free AP flour OR regular AP flour
  • 1 cup nut meal (I used cashew meal - almond meal should also work!)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature OR 2/3 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk OR dairy milk
  • 1 cup mix-ins (I used 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, nut meal, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer until combined. Add coconut oil or butter and beat on medium speed until the dry ingredients look like they have small lumps evenly distributed throughout. 

Mix vanilla and milk together. While running the mixer on a low speed, slowly pour milk mixture into the bowl - the dough should come together. Add mix-ins and mix until just combined.

Roll dough into balls (1" balls for 2-bite treats, 1.5" balls for 3-bite treats) and place a couple of inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes for smaller treats, or 10-11 minutes for larger treats. If they don't feel tacky to the touch on top and they're slightly firm, they're done - they won't brown much. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.

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