Category: Cookie

Breakfast Buckwheat Florentines

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“Done is better than perfect.”

I can’t tell you how many times I repeat this to myself on a daily basis, as a sort of mantra to soothe and convince the perfectionist inside me to just follow through. To just put it out there.

I almost pushed “publish” on this blog post yesterday afternoon, but something was holding me back. Two things, in fact. First, the photos weren’t what I wanted them to be: they were on the boring side without a lot of colour, and not really inspiring. Second, the recipe itself just wasn’t there. I was trying to make a vegan yogurt coating with coconut butter and although it was tasty, the texture was all wrong: chunky and gritty. Was it good enough? Probably. Would anyone have noticed what I saw as shortcomings? Probably not. But could I deal with it? Apparently, no.

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As I was putting the finishing touches on the post, it hit me like a bolt of lightening: I needed to use cashew butter to achieve the silky consistency I was after. Noooo! It was the solution I had been calling in, but to arrive at the witching hour just seemed cruel. How could I start all over at this point? Was I crazy to even try, considering I didn’t know for sure that it would work out? With only minutes to make a decision, I hopped on my bike and cycled to the health food store. Again. Cursing myself, my brain, my ridiculous inability to know when to let go, and my insistence that what I put out in the world is my absolute best, really started to annoy me.

I bought all the ingredients for the third time, raced home, and got to work. The cookies were the best they’d ever been. Perfect, in fact. But was it worth it?

For anyone out there nodding their heads in recognition that they too, have these borderline masochistic tendencies to achieve an arbitrary portrait of perfection, may I ask what it is that drives us to create and then hold it all back if it’s not exactly what we imagined in our heads? Because nothing is perfect! When do we draw the line and just push “publish”? Is done really better than perfect? Because done for me it seems like settling for mediocrity a lot of the time. Even if it’s just a friggin’ cookie.

I’m not looking for answers here, just venting I suppose. But if you want to share your similar struggles, feel free in the comments. It’s not often I open up or vent in this space, so maybe we can all throw a perfectionist party, and make sure to have these very perfect cookies on the table.

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Speaking of! Florentines are traditionally almond-centric biscuits, sometimes with the addition of dried fruit like cherries and orange zest, with a rich chocolate coating on the bottom. Because I really love dessert for breakfast, I was motivated to make a morning-appropriate version that wouldn’t make me feel like a glutton. I chose to add some buckwheat to the mix since I love to start my day with whole grains, and swapped out the chocolate for a vanilla-cashew butter coating that I basically want to pour over my entire life. Like I mentioned, my original thought was to go with something yogurt-like, but once I made this saucy concoction, there was no need to pretend it was something else. Pure, divine, silky-smooth pleasure glaze! Ahem.

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I love these cookies because they are so simple to make with just a few ingredients, and incredibly fast. On my third testing, they were done – mixed, baked and glazed – in 20 minutes. If you’re in a rush to get your treat fix, leave the cashew coating out of the equation, and you’ll still have a gorgeously tasty and satisfying little snack.

As far as additions and flavours go, these wicked little morsels are kind of a blank slate. I made a couple batches with orange zest and one without. Personally, I really loved the citrusy warmth that the orange lends, and its nod to morning fodder, but you can also omit it for a more neutral taste. Instead, spice them up with cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest, rose, lavender, coconut etc. I think adding cacao nibs would also be really delicious, as would dried blueberries, dried figs, or apricots. Whatever you choose to do, get ready to be very excited to get up in the morning. Couple these cookies with a turmeric latte, a piece of fruit and you’ll be good to go. Until 4 o’clock when you want another one.

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Once I started editing the new photos for this post, I realized that the last batch of Florentines weren’t as golden, or as flat as the previous batches. I decided to let that one go. And I’m very proud of that.

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Hey Copenhagen! Just a reminder about my first two cookbook events in CPH this Spring. The first will be an intimate talk and demonstration at SLOW Copenhagen, and the second will be a magical, celebratory dinner in collaboration with the local, organic grocer and kitchen, Kost. Click on the images for more info and tickets! Can’t wait to see you there. 

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Double Chocolate Chunk Sunbutter Cookies

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Dear friends! I’m on tour! And what a total blast and a half it’s been so far – my mind is blown by the outpouring of enthusiasm and pure LOVE here in New York City. Thanks to all of you for coming out to the events with your biggest smiles and warmest hearts. Taking my book on the road sure is a change of pace from my quiet, private, and relatively introverted life in Copenhagen. But, seeing as I like humans so much, I welcome the explosive energy, side-splitting laughter, and long hugs that this tour has brought so far. I feel like you, dear readers, are the most beautiful sort there are, and I am so lucky to have friends wherever I go. Thank you. Cannot wait to see what the next few weeks hold! Just a reminder that I am heading to Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fran and LA – check out my Events page for updated info!

In case, you haven’t heard, this latest cookbook of mine, Naturally Nourished, is all about how to take grocery store staples and turn them into powerfully delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family. The recipes are on the simpler side than my first cookbook, and use only familiar ingredients. It was really fun to create this work, since you know how much I dig on the weird stuff: chaga, mucuna pruriens, schisandra berry, ho shu wu, pearl (yup, pearl). But let’s get real, how many of you are going to go out and find ground up pearl to put in your morning elixir? Right. So, this book was a response to the way “health food” can be sometimes: inaccessible, alienating, and even elitist. I don’t like to see the system moving in that direction because I believe that health is everyone’s right, and since we all have access to the good stuff at the local supermarket, let’s not lose sight of the powerful foods that are right under our noses. Dark leafy greens, brassicas, root veggies, squash, stone fruit, citrus, herbs, garlic, ginger – you get where I’m going with this. Naturally Nourished is a celebration of simple, honest, real food, and it will show you how to prepare it in a way that is easy, and crazy-tasty too.

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So these cookies. I am pretty over the moon for them. And they are definitely the most decadent recipe in the cookbook – loaded with serious chunks of dark chocolate, a moist, cake-y crumb and unparalleled richness. The sunflower seed crust around the outside adds fabulous texture and tooth, and the perfect crunchy contrast to the creamy chocolate.

I know that the vegans out there may be a little disappointed with this recipe, but please know how darn hard I tried to make them just as good without the eggs! This cookbook was a challenge to see if I could use only very basic grocery store ingredients for every single recipe in the cookbook, so I couldn’t cheat and employ a fancy vegan egg-replacer here, but I am pretty sure it would work. The eggs are important in the recipe not only to bind the ingredients together, but to dry out the dough in the oven, and create the fluffy consistency. Therefore, do not try this with a flax or chia “egg” – sad, sad results will ensue. Trust.

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Just a note for when you do make these: the cookie dough is very wet. You’ll be raising an eyebrow for sure, wondering if you’ve done everything correctly, but stay the course and drop those cookie dough balls into the sunflower seeds – they not only act as a tasty, crunchy coating, they also help you with handling, and prevent the cookies from turning into total puddles in the oven.

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If you’re pressed for time, skip making your own sunflower seed butter and just use store-bought. To ensure the cookies turn out just the way they are supposed to, use an unsalted, unflavoured sunbutter or another type of seed or nut butter altogether! I’ve tried them with almond butter and they were bangin’. You can also coat the cookies in another seed or chopped up nuts. Hazelnuts would be delightful. Or cacao nibs!

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I am beyond thrilled to be on tour with this second book. To be meeting so many of you who have been following my kitchen adventures for years and years, is beyond amazing. I feel like I’ve said it a thousand times, but I really mean it: your generosity of spirit and support with all that I put out in the world truly humbles me. I feel so lucky to do what I do, and you are the ones that make it possible.

With joy and deep gratitude,
Sarah B.

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The Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bar

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Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

Being a recipe developer means grocery shopping almost every day. On my way out the door I always ask my husband if he would like anything from the store, and more often than not he says: “a treat, please”. Now, he doesn’t mean a lovely bag of blood oranges or a pint of juicy strawberries – he means a chocolate bar. Not a healthy chocolate bar. A low-vibe, sugar-laden, not-real-food chocolate bar. But I do not judge him. I just buy the thing and pick my battles (toilet cleaning and garbage disposal rank higher on my list).

Recently, standing near the cash register and cruising the candy bars like a very reluctant weirdo, I actually experienced a pang for one myself. That rich and total over-the-top decadence is not something I am often drawn to, but for whatever reason the Snickers and the Twix bar spoke to me like long lost friends. And that was the exact moment I decided that I was going to makeover my two favourites with the best whole food ingredients I could find, that would deliver both total satisfaction and nutrients. A healthy chocolate bar to end all healthy chocolate bars. Could such a dream be realized? Oh yes, the universe loves us and wants us to be happy.

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

The Colossal Healthy Candy Bar is three tasty parts. First, the bottom biscuit layer inspired by Twix, is a mildly sweet, vegan and grain-free cookie made with coconut flour. It is crisp when it comes out of the oven, but goes pretty cake-y once it is combined with the other ingredients. Delicious nonetheless, and a pretty important counter-point to all the richness of the other layers.

Second, the caramel-and-nut layer inspired by Snickers, but with a twist: instead of just using dates in the caramel, I balanced out the sweetness by adding a healthy dose of hazelnut butter. Wowzers. This was a very delicious decision. The caramel became far more complex, rich-tasting, and it is essential to note that this would make a fantastic spread or topping all on its own. If you do not have hazelnut butter, I recommend almond or cashew in its place (click here for instructions on how to make your own nut butter). Instead of using peanuts, I used roasted hazelnuts to sink into the top of the caramel for awesome texture and crunch – almonds could also be used here.

Lastly, each bar is enrobed in luscious, raw, dark chocolate. I usually use coconut oil in my raw chocolate recipes, but after reading the (incredible!) new cookbook Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman I was convinced that using solely raw cacao butter was the way to go. It delivers a crisper finish and creamier texture. If you want to make things simpler and faster, feel free to use a ready-made bar of chocolate in this recipe instead of making your own. Raw chocolate is of course the healthier choice, but if you’re pressed for time or ingredients, this is a good shortcut to take.

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Coconut Flour Power!
With so many diets and lifestyles focusing on gluten-free and grain-free eating, coconut flour is wonderful option for many people. Made entirely from dried coconut flesh that is pulverized into a soft, fine powder, coconut flour is a nutrient-dense alternative that is increasingly available at health food stores and even supermarkets. Score!

There are several benefits of coconut flour, my favourite being that it is remarkably high in protein and fiber. Translation: super filling and satisfying! It is low in sugar and digestible carbohydrates, and scores low on the glycemic index, so it a perfect choice for paleo eaters and diabetics. It’s also nut-free and non-allergenic.

The flavour of coconut flour is slightly coconut-y, but not overwhelmingly so. I like it in things like these chocolate bars where there are many other strong tastes going on that overshadow the taste of the flour. If you want to compliment and enhance the flavour of the flour, use coconut milk as the liquid portion of a baked good. Seriously yummy.

What’s the catch I can hear you asking. Well, there are a few downsides to using coconut flour, mainly due to its density, dryness, and lack of elasticity. It’s certainly not a flour to experiment with if you’re looking to replace wheat flour for instance, as the two behave completely differently (that goes for using coconut flour in place of almost any other flour, whether grain, seed, or nut-based). Coconut flour is also crazy-absorbent and needs quite a large proportion of liquid to solid to avoid crumbly results (I’ve read the comments below and it seems like a lot of you are struggling with this factor!) Most recipes I’ve found online remedy this by using a lot of eggs, but I used applesauce and flax seeds instead with good results. Once you get the correct ratio down it’s pretty easy to work with, but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to use tried and true recipes with this finicky ingredient!

Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

Back to the candy bars. Which are insane. These truly colossal creations have everything you could ever want: tasty cookie, ooey gooey chewy caramel, crunchy roasted nuts, divinely rich chocolate, and tiny salt kisses. I am so darn proud of this recipe, and I can’t believe that such a decadent thing can exist without making me feel lousy after eating it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I feel colossally healthy after eating one. Or two. Stop looking at me like that.


Colossal Healthy Chocolate Bars

I hope you guys find as much satisfaction in this recipe as I have. It’s pretty rad to have a stockpile of candy bars in your freezer for when the urge strikes, and to keep you out of the chocolate aisle on your next trip to the store! For the record, if you see me there, I’m buying treats for my husband…since I’m really bad at sharing.

Show me your candy bars on Instagram: #MNRchocolatebars