Friday, June 28, 2013

Almond Milk and Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

Like many other foods and drinks, homemade almond milk is tastier than the commercially-made kind.  Making your own lets you avoid preservatives and is pretty satisfying in the self-sufficiency realm too.  Add a smidgen of sugar or honey helps to sweeten it if you don't like it plain.  Almond milk has a thinner consistency than cow's milk, but does not involve cows so I consider that a plus and well worth a purposeful shift.

I enjoy almond milk in my morning coffee or it makes great chai tea.  

What do you do with the leftover ground almonds?  Make cookies!   These are also great with coffee.  Thanks to my awesome cousin Natalie for the cookie idea.  The lack of flour in this quick and easy cookie recipe is on purpose - these are gluten-free!  These are a lot like macaroons with almonds instead of coconut.  I think the chocolate is an important part of the recipe and brings a special pizazz to the cookies, it really bumps up the texture contrast.  Besides, if cookies are too healthy what's the point?

Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

Homemade Almond Milk
Makes 2 to 3 cups of almond milk

Cheesecloth - the kind for making cheese, not the kind for making crafts

2 cups raw almonds
Sugar, to taste

1) Soak almonds in about 4 cups of water overnight, either on the counter or in the fridge.  This is to get the almonds soft enough to blend and release their flavors. 
2) Drain the water.  Water plants with it.  This contains the bitterness from the almond skin.
3) Put the soaked almonds in a blender with 2 to 3 cups of fresh water and blend until the almonds are in very small bits.
4) Arrange several layers of cheesecloth over a container; a tallish one with a wide mouth is best.  Slowly pour the blender contents into the cheesecloth and let the almond milk drain out, ten minutes or so.  Bring the cheesecloth edges up so the almond mush is in a ball and squeeze out the last of the milk.  Save the almond mush for making cookies!  The milk will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.  Add sugar to taste as desired (optional)

Almond Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

2 cups almond mush (from making almond milk, recipe above)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp sugar or Stevia to taste (I use sugar)
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp Almond extract
3-4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1. Mix all ingredients together except chocolate.
2. Press spoonfuls of mix tightly into shape on a teaspoon, then carefully slide off onto a cookie sheet to keep in shape.
3. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 325 or until desired crispiness. They turn golden around the bottom edges and make the kitchen smell like toasted almonds.  
4. Melt chocolate by putting in a microwavable bowl and microwaving 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between until it's completely smooth.  Dip the cookies in chocolate, then set on parchment paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. 

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