Creating A Healthier Flourless Cookie
There’s nothing like a serious cookie craving to spur on the creation of a new cookie, which is exactly how these Cardamom Pepper Cookies came to be.
I wanted a cookie that was so delicious it felt like a treat, but also semi-healthy with no butter, flour or refined sugar. I’ve created cookie recipes in the past with similar intentions, such as these Ginger Coconut Cookies and these Christmas Spice Cookies, but I wanted to take these cookies one step further by forgoing refined flour completely and replacing it with ground almonds.
Almonds are a great source of vitamins A & E, phosphorus, potassium, essential fatty acids and fibre, and most importantly in this case, plant protein and fibre.
When you’re eating something with sugar in it such as a cookie, it’s best to combine it with some form of protein and/or fibre. Protein and fibre slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream which in turn helps prevent any unwanted blood sugar spikes.
The Secret To Using Ground Almonds In Cookies
When I first made these cookies I didn’t quite have enough ground almonds for my recipe, but I did have whole almonds. So I decided to make up the difference by grinding my whole almonds into almond meal.
I was surprised to discover when I made the same recipe again using solely store bought ground almonds, and then solely almonds I ground myself, I couldn’t reproduce the same delicious cookie.
After some thought I realised this was because store bought ground almonds are ground much finer than what I could achieve in my food processor at home, and as such are more similar to a traditional flour. By combining the finely ground store bought almonds with my slightly chunkier home-ground almonds the cookie came out with a much better texture.
So to ensure you get the BEST results for these Cardamom Pepper Cookies, be sure to follow the recipe and use a combination of store bought ground almonds and almonds you blend yourself.
The Best Unrefined Sweetener For Cookies
When choosing a sweetener for these cookies (and baking in general), I look to unrefined sugars such as coconut sugar, coconut nectar, rice syrup or pure maple syrup, as these have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar.
Another benefit of unrefined sugars is they haven’t gone through an intensive refining process so they retain a lot more of their minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined white sugar which is simply empty calories.
An even better choice of sweetener (if you’re able to incorporate it into what you’re making), is a whole food sweetener such as dates or fruit. Whole food sweeteners are ingredients in their original “whole” form and therefore contain all their inherent nutrients as well as dietary fibre, which is fantastic for slowing down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
Of course it’s worth remembering, unrefined sugars and whole food sweeteners are still forms of sugar and as such theu should still be used and eaten in moderation.
For these Cardamom Pepper Cookies, in order to create a good texture the best choice of sweetener was coconut sugar because of its dry, granular form.
How To Spice Up Your Cookies
At the last minute I decided to keep things interesting by adding in couple of spices. These turned out to be cardamom and black pepper and I wasn’t too sure if this combination was going to work, but the result was surprisingly delicious!
Rest assured the pepper flavour is very mild in these cookies, so if you’re unsure I encourage you to give it a try. But if pepper in a cookie sounds absolutely terrible to you, then by all means leave it out. Likewise with the cardamon, as these cookies are just as delicious with a simple teaspoon of vanilla powder.
Like most Swoon Food recipes these Cardamom Pepper Cookies can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, the recipe makes 20 large, chewy or crunchy cookies (depending on how long you cook them for), and they will 100% satisfy even the strongest cookie craving!
Cardamom Pepper Cookies
Makes: 20 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 15-20 minutes
100g almonds whole
100g ground almonds (store bought)
100g coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
80g coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan bake and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or baking paper.
To melt the coconut oil place it in a bowl set over a pan of steaming water. It doesn’t matter too much about keeping the temperature of the coconut oil low for this recipe as you’ll be baking the cookies in a hot oven.
Grind the whole almonds by placing them in a food processor and blend until they resemble bread crumbs, a few coarser bits are fine. If you don’t have a food processor then you can just buy all your almonds ready ground, however, the results might be slighly different to the cookies pictured (as discussed in the blog post above).
Combine the two quantities of ground almonds, coconut sugar, cardamom, salt, pepper and baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the melted coconut oil followed by the egg.
Roll spoonfuls of cookie mixture into rough balls and place on the prepared baking trays about 10cm apart to allow for spreading. Press the balls down and form into a round cookie shape. You should get about 20 cookies.
Place the cookies into the centre of the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The cookies are ready when they have risen and formed a soft crust, and turned a slightly darker golden brown. They will be slightly soft to touch when you first take them out but should harden up as they cool, although will still remain chewy. If you prefer a softer cookie simply take them out a little early and they will stay soft & chewy.
These cardamom pepper cookies will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.