So, there are only a few days left in the year and there might be one more cookie exchange or party to attend. Or you might want to make one more treat before beginning a new diet on January 1st. If so, this is the cookie to make. It’s called a Santa’s Whisker.
I first heard of these delicious cookies when I worked for a bakery in Cincinnati that made them. Since then, I created my own recipe to fit into the Primal lifestyle. It is gluten free and used a product called Swerve (a sweetener made from a unique combination of ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables). I also added a touch of orange to the traditional cherry and coconut ingredients, to elevate the cookie’s overall flavor. Finally, instead of pecans (used in traditional recipe), this time I used pumpkin seeds and pine nuts. This recipe is addictive and makes 2 dozen cookies!
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I used Swerve)
2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbs orange liqueur (I used triple sec)
1 tbs orange rind
2 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 pine nuts (or nuts of your choice, omit altogether if allergic to nuts)
3/4 cup flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
1 cup coconut (for rolling the dough)
For “Snow” Topping:
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 Tbs coconut oil
2 Tbs almond or coconut milk
In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together: the gluten free flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer, cream the butter and your sugar substitute of choice. On a lower speed, add eggs one by one until well combined. Then add the vanilla, milk, orange liqueur and orange rind. Mix in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer stand, and fold in the cherries, seeds, nuts and coconut.
Line a work surface with parchment paper. Then place some shredded coconut on the parchment.
Divide the dough into two and roll each division of the dough into a log shape 8-10″ long. Then, roll each log over the coconut until the edges are coated thoroughly. Wrap the two logs in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator, and remove the plastic wrap. Slice the dough into coin shapes and place on the cookie sheets. There should be enough for 12 cookies in each dough log.
Allow cookies to cool thoroughly, and make the snow topping. Place the milk and the coconut oil in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for one minute. Then slowly add the white chocolate chips and stir as they melt. You probably won’t use the whole bag, but will most likely need most of it to get to a consistency that will coat the cookies. Not too thick, not too thin.
Dip the cookies halfway into the melted white chocolate and place them back on the lined parchment paper until the chocolate sets up. If you are in a hurry, you can place the cookies in the refrigerator or even the freezer to quicken the hardening of the chocolate.
On December 20th, 2014, I invited a group of ladies over to our home for a holiday gathering and gluten free cookie exchange. I didn’t want to serve only cookies, but rather have a small dinner spread for my guests. Since I wanted to focus on my guests and arranging a few games during the party, I definitely did not want to worry about making/preparing the food. I spoke to some of my Northern California contacts at Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market in Roseville gladly agreed to provide the food for the event. (You can see the full spread above).
The planning was simple. All I had to do was go online (I had a budget of $150 to feed 8-10 people) and choose the items I wanted and figure out how much for the number of guests I would have. I was also able to keep the menu gluten free, which was super important to me since it was a gluten free cookie exchange and considering the theme of this website. 🙂 To view some catering options available at the Roseville, California store, you can click here. After I decided on the items I wanted to order, I wrote them down and brought in my order to the catering department. (I recommend doing this at least a week before your party if the number of guests is similar to mine—8 to 10.)
For the Ladies Gluten Free Cookie Exchange of 2014, here’s what Whole Foods Market Roseville put together for me:
Main course, a sous vide pork loin. All I had to do was unwrap it and throw in in the oven for 15-20 minutes while I was waiting for my guests to arrive.
I also ordered a tray of chicken satay. Because people love food on a stick. Fun! 😉
Because the nickname of my holiday gathering was “the wine party disguised as a cookie exchange” I ordered a fruit tray AND a cheese tray, because nothing goes with wine more than fruit and cheese! Especially cheese 🙂
The cheese platter had cheddar, provolone, smoked mozzarella, swiss, and brie cheeses (I asked that they leave off the baguette slices it typically comes with) and was garnished with fresh fruit.
The last item on the spread was this impressive antipasto platter featuring nitrate/nitrite-free prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, marinated olives, marinated artichokes, roasted red pepper, marinated mushrooms and roasted tomatoes.
Scribner Bend Vineyards and Domaine Chandon kicked in some super food friendly wine. Scribner Bend sent me a bottle of their 2011 Cabernet Franc and a bottle of their 2010 Black Hat Tempranillo. The Black Hat Tempranillo has been a long time favorite of mine, and it was also a big hit at the party. The Cabernet Franc also didn’t last very long. A guest of mine brought an amazing dairy free lamb moussaka that serendipitously paired up with the Cabernet Franc. Thanks so much, Scribner Bend and thank you Wendy for the moussaka. 🙂
You can find Whole Foods Roseville on Facebook here and follow Whole Foods Market Northern California on twitter here. Thanks again to them for their sponsorship of the 2014 Gluten Free Cookie Exchange.
If you would like to sponsor the 2015 Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange, you can contact me here. I am looking for wine sponsors, gluten free cookie ingredients, catered items for guests, and goodie bag items for attendees.
I have a problem. It’s this recipe I invented for cookie dough. It’s addictive and I have had it, ahem… for breakfast the past
two three days. But only a little bit at a time, with fruit. I swear. Can’t. Stop. Eating it.
You don’t bake it. You just eat it. You know, like you would straight out of
the tube an institutional-sized tub. Sigh. Yes, because it’s way easier to stick your face in a vat of dough than it is to actually have to measure ingredients and use any muscle at all to stir it around in a bowl. I know you are stronger than me and none of you have ever purchased this product or eaten it only by candlelight the light from the fridge on your face at midnight. 😉
Anyway, to avoid the sugar, wheat and all the unnatural ingredients that cookie dough normally contains, I came up with this recipe over the weekend (as I was making a recipe from OMG it’s Paleo? called 5 Ingredient Avocado Pudding.) I made the pudding with the idea that Andy and I would use it as a dip for bananas and apples. The recipe called for chocolate chips, and it made me think of chocolate chip cookie dough and a possible recipe for that… we could dip the fruit in that, too! Oh joy!
The secret in the cookie dough is Mehjool dates. They’re probably one of my biggest indulgences (60 calories apiece!). Not only do they give the dough sweetness, they also provide a molasses/caramel flavor. And, for diehard Paleos, I have made it two ways. Some people don’t believe in using butter at all, some people don’t eat any legumes at all. I myself, enjoy organic garbanzo beans once in a while. So, review the recipes below and tailor them to your own needs. 🙂 Each one serves 2-4 people. Enjoy.
PS: You’ll need a food processor for this one. Puréeing dates is tough on the forearms. 😉
Recipe One: Paleo Version
5-6 pitted dates (chopped)
3/4 cup toasted almonds
1 Tbs coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs honey
1/3 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (this brand is great!)
Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they are a fine meal consistency, then add the coconut oil. Process until the mixture turns into almond butter, then add the chopped dates, honey, the vanilla and the salt. Then remove the mixture and transfer into a small bowl. Add the coconut flour and some coconut milk until the dough is the consistency you like. Then stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat. OK, I’m ready. What about you? 🙂
Recipe Two: Primal Version
5-6 pitted dates (chopped)
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup organic garbanzo beans
2 Tbs greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
2 packets stevia
1 Tbs grass fed butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they are a fine meal consistency, then add the butter. Process until the mixture turns into almond butter, then add the garbanzo beans, the greek yogurt, the stevia, the vanilla and the salt. Then remove the mixture and transfer into a small bowl. Add the coconut flour and some coconut milk until the dough is the consistency you like. Then stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat! As I stated earlier, I love to use the dough as a dip for apples, but you can form into little pieces and use as a topping for Greek yogurt or as a treat on ice cream. There are also plenty of recipes out there in the paleosphere for “paleo” ice cream using coconut milk. Here’s one from PaleoOMG 🙂