Gluten-Free Vanilla + Cinnamon Walnut Cookies


gluten-free vanilla + cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on a holiday baking spree. In my attempt to a.) spread holiday cheer by sending baked goods to friends afar and b.) recipe test along the way, I’ve made so many batches of cookies and granola that the pantry is now very well stocked. I think I’ve given a new meaning to the term “cookie monster.” My amused boyfriend looked on while I baked, chuckling, “She’s an unstoppable machine! Look at her go!!!!” Yes, I was an unstoppable machine, a new kind of cookie monster.

Of the many cookies I made, my favourites were these walnut cookies. These cookies are warmly spiced with vanilla and cinnamon, and have a crumbly yet buttery texture similar to that of shortbread. They remind me of these Danish butter cookies that I ate as a child—you know, the ones that came out of a blue tin? Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

gluten-free vanilla + cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens

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Go Nuts For Walnuts: Omega-3s And Other Nutritional Benefits
Something I frequently hear and see are people who avoid nuts because of their high calorie, high fat profile. As I mentioned on Instagram on Sunday, eating high fat foods like nuts and avocados isn’t unhealthy. In fact, avoiding these foods means you miss out on all the amazing nutritional benefits of these healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals. These foods don’t make you “fat”- bad eating habits and processed foods make you “fat” and lead you down a road of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. (Fat is in quotations because fat is often misinterpreted as the best measurement of health, but it actually isn’t. A number on the scale says nothing about your cardiovascular health. The word “fat” is also used pretty offensively in popular culture (to fat shame), and I want no part in that. I like to think in terms of overall health, not by the number on the scale! This, however, is for another post another time.)

The walnut, for one, is an incredible powerhouse of a nut. Walnuts contain the highest level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), more commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial for cardiovascular health, and in 2009, a study conducted found that those who consumed walnuts saw a drop in overall cholesterol. These omega-3s also make walnuts an excellent source of nourishment for the brain, as they help enhance and support cognitive function. According to a recent study conducted by Tufts University, walnuts have an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect on the brain, which expresses itself in improved brain signaling and brain cell growth. Walnuts have also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer. The best part: if you look at a cracked walnut closely, you’ll see its uncanny resemblance to the human brain! As if we needed any more convincing, right?

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gluten-free vanilla + cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens

These cookies aren’t overly spiced, but you can use less cinnamon and even skip it altogether if you’re not a fan of the spice. I made them gluten-free with combination of walnut flour and brown rice flour, but feel free to sub all purpose flour for brown rice flour if you want. The walnuts, however, are key to the recipe- so I highly encourage you to keep them in there! I did try making these with coconut oil, but the result was a bit of a mess, and probably requires a revisit for further testing.

I love having one of these cookies with a cup of coffee, or dipped in a glass of almond milk. They’re very easy to make, and the second to best part about the entire cookie making process (the best being the eating part) is the sweet smell of vanilla and cinnamon that fills your home.

Gluten-free Vanilla + Cinnamon Walnut Cookies
Yields 18 cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup ground walnuts/walnut flour
    • To make walnut flour, simply grind 1 – 1 1/2 cups of walnuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides to make sure you’re not turning it into nut butter.
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut sugar and butter together in a bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract.
  2. Add the walnuts, cinnamon, brown rice flour, and sea salt. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Cover a flat surface with saran wrap, and gather the dough in your hands. Using the wrap, gather the dough and roll it out into the shape of a log. If you are unsure how to do this, this is a pretty good tutorial from The Pioneer Woman.
  4. Refrigerate the dough, and allow it to chill until firm. I chilled my dough overnight, but I’m sure a couple hours in the fridge will do the trick.
  5. Once the dough is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Unwrap the cookie dough from the cling wrap, and slice up the log.
  7. Place the cookies on the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes. They should be golden brown and a little darker (although not burnt!) at the edges.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool.

Enjoy : )

I’d love to know: what’s your favourite holiday cookie? What have you been baking in your kitchen?

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

more cookie recipes:
coconut chocolate thumbprints by healthy nibbles and bits
cranberry chocolate chip cookies by the pretty bee
healthy holiday gingerbread cookies by my new roots

Spelt + Rye Pumpkin Ale Bread


spelt and rye pumpkin ale bread // gratitude and greens

With Christmas happening in just 10 days, I know pumpkin season has come and gone. But maybe you have a pumpkin or squash waiting to be used, or extra cans of pumpkin sitting in your pantry. A few years ago, I posted a recipe for pumpkin bread, only to be told by a reader—quite recently, actually—that I had forgotten to include the amount of sugar in the recipe. Oops! Going back to the original post, I decided that the recipe needed some sprucing up. I am quite exhausted with the prospect of all things pumpkin, but if I don’t share this recipe now, I will probably have to wait until next fall to share it. I’d rather not test my patience, and sharing it now will also give readers a chance to make this before all the pumpkin ale from the season runs out.

This pumpkin bread is made with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, which is one of my favourite beers. It’s a seasonal beer from the Saint Louis Brewery that is brewed with pumpkin and warming spices I especially love during this time of the year: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If you’ve never had pumpkin ale, I highly recommend that you try it. It almost tastes as if someone put pumpkin pie in a beer bottle, so if you’re a fan of pumpkin pie… drink up!

spelt and rye pumpkin ale bread // gratitude and greens

For this recipe, I took inspiration and adapted the pumpkin beer bread recipes from The Brewer and the Baker and Gimme Some Oven. I used wholegrain spelt and rye flour, which make a heartier, sturdier loaf. The whole grains also provide fibre, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to lower your risk of certain chronic diseases. This bread is quite savoury, but you can add more sugar to make it sweeter. I prefer it less sweet, and like to slather a toasted slice with crunchy almond butter or some nice salted butter.

Spelt + Rye Pumpkin Bread
Yields 1 9×5 inch loaf.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 12oz Schlafly pumpkin ale
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1-4 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pumpkin seeds and oats, to garnish

spelt and rye pumpkin ale bread // gratitude and greens

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
  3. While the butter is melting, stir together the flours, coconut sugar, baking powder, and spices in a mixing bowl.
  4. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat.
  5. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the melted butter, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin ale.
  6. Slowly sift the dry mixture into the wet mixture, making sure to incorporate all the ingredients. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of almond milk to thin it out.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Top with oats and pumpkin seeds, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
  8. Once done, the loaf should be golden brown, and an inserted toothpick or knife should come out clean.

Serve warm. Enjoy : )

I’d love to know: what’s your favourite kind of bread to make? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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$500 Holiday Cash Giveaway!



FRIENDS! I know I just shared a giveaway on the blog last week, but I’m sharing another one with you today. I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers to provide you with a $500 cash giveaway this holiday season.

To enter you can use the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open world wide from 12-5 12PM EST until 12/20 at 11:59 PM EST, and you can read the terms and conditions in the widget below. Please enter what is asked for verification, as the entries will be verified. If we find that you didn’t complete, or send in verification your entries will be disqualified and a new winner will be drawn.

$500 holiday cash giveaway // gratitude and greens
a Rafflecopter giveaway

So tell me: what would you spend $500 on?

Happy Holidays!
With love,
Gen.

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