Almond White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

September 27, 2011

Two stacks of Almond White Chocolate Chunck Cookies on a wire cooling rack over a white paper towel

Last week my sweet tooth called my name, begging me to indulge it with something … anything! It was 10pm. Yeah, I know, bad eating habits die hard, but I’m working on it. Sugar is my biggest weakness.

I took a look at what I already had in the kitchen to figure out what kind of tasty treat I could come up with. I considered making chocolate chip cookies or brownies; however, all of the recipes I consulted called for brown sugar, of which, I had none. I didn’t have molasses either, which can be used to make a brown sugar substitute.

Image 1: Baked Almond White Chocolate Chunk cookies on a wire cooling rack over white paper towels; Image 2: Silpat-lined cookie sheet with six drops of cookie dough spaced out over the sheet

Stuck on the idea of cookies, I continued to skim various cookie recipes while trying to decide what to bake. Heidi Swanson’s Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from her Super Natural Cooking served as good inspiration. The recipe didn’t call for brown sugar, and it got me thinking about other flours I could use aside from all-purpose white flour. Heidi explores using non-traditional flours regularly.

I’ve had a package of almond flour sitting in my refrigerator for months, which I bought with the intention of trying Daisy Martinez’s recipe for almond cake. I’ve yet to make the cake, so the almond flour, a fluffy powder of ground almonds, was available and I wondered how it would work in cookies. The recipe below is what I came up with, and they turned out very well. The cookies are thin and crispy, and slightly chewy in the center when you take them out of the oven. Enjoy!

Almond White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes about 2 – 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s mesquite chocolate chip cookies.

1-1/4 c Whole wheat pastry flour
1 c Almond flour
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbs Unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 c Sugar (I prefer evaporated cane juice)
Ground flax seed egg substitute (2 tbs Ground flax seed meal +
6 tbs water) or 2 large eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Almond extract
1/2 cup Sliced almonds
1 cup White chocolate chunks ( or chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If using the ground flax egg substitute, put flax seed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in flax mixture or two eggs and the vanilla and almond extracts.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir the flour (a little bit at a time in three increments) into the wet mixture until just combined. Stir in the almonds and white chocolate until just evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie (2 inches apart for pretty, round cookies) on a parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheet (you’ll likely only get 6 cookies on a sheet).  Bake for about 12 minutes. Cookies are done when lightly brown. Take the sheet out of the oven and let the cookies sit for a few minutes before moving them with a spatula to a cooking rack.

Rinse the cookie sheet under cold water and dry each time between baking batches. Bake the rest of the cookies as described.

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First Day of Fall … Soup’s on!
Chicken Vegetable Soup

September 21, 2011

White bowl of chicken vegetable soup (w/ carrots, string beans, peas, potatoes)

Today is the first official day of fall, so that means the time for soups, stews and hearty foods is upon us. This recipe for a cozy chicken vegetable soup is perfect for getting the soup-eating season started. It calls for store-bought rotisserie chicken and low-sodium chicken broth, which provide time saving short-cuts, while the use of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices still give the soup great homemade flavor.

Image 1: Two white bowls ful of chicken and vegetable soup with two silver spoons on a wooden table; Image 2: Silver spoon full of soup - carrost, chicken, peas

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Chicken Scallopini in Spiced Cream Sauce over Spinach

May 12, 2011

Chicken Scallopine in a saffron, mustard seed and cumin cream sauce over a bed of fresh baby spinach all on a white plate

Cream sauce – it’s something I limit in my diet to “on occasion” status. Well, this past weekend was an occasion to purchase the heavy cream. Not for any special reason, but simply because the recipe I saw Giada De Laurentiis make on the Cooking channel looked really delicious.

Image 1: White wine, mustard seeds, 1/2 pint carton of heavy crem; Image 2: Two sauteed chicken cutlets in a stainless still pan

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Zucchini Bread

May 1, 2011

Loaf of zucchini bread with one cut slice laying on a white paper towel.

I’m back. If you’re a regular reader of, you’ve probably noticed that I took a break from blogging since January. Like many of us, I’ve had a lot going on during the first quarter of 2011 – from working my day job in marketing communications to sharing my passion for health and wellness by teaching weekly dance and yoga classes.

Given all the activities I’ve had on my plate, I’ve definitely struggled with the modern challenge to wellness – cooking fresh, homemade meals daily. I can’t say that I’ve mastered how to get a wholesome and tasty, yet quick meal on the table without much effort after a long day, but I plan to keep working on it. If you have any tips, please let me know!

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Cajun Chicken Skewers

January 25, 2011

Grilled cajun chicken skewers with slices of turkey sausages and red and green bell peppers on wooden skewers in an alumninum pan.

Several months ago, I helped plan a baby shower for one of my close friends and came up with these Cajun chicken skewers for the menu. I thought they would be a good accompaniment to the crawfish pie one of our other friends from Louisiana was bringing to the shower.

Once again, my Staub grill pan came in handy. I love this caste-iron treasure because of its extra high ridges that deliver lovely grill marks. Yes, taste and nourishment are most important with food, but appearances play an almost equally important role. As the culinary saying goes, you eat with your eyes first.

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