Snickerdoodles & Chocolate Chip Cookies

This year our holiday baking is a little different than our past years. Mostly because I’ve been gluten & dairy-free for much of the year so I thought I’d be limited in the “sugary things” category of stuff I’d be able to make and enjoy with fam & friends. Not so, you guys, not so. I’ve done a lot of research and decided to try a chocolate chip cookie recipe a few months ago that I found via Pinterest. Not a “Pinterest fail,” it was such a great success that I haven’t yet tried another recipe! Then this month I found a recipe for snickerdoodle cookies and it went pretty much the same.

We’ve made these (so, so very many of these) for our peoples, and they all unanimously agree on the deliciousness (especially the chocolate chip guys). Here are my versions of these recipes, with tips on how to enjoy them best! 

Note: These are both gluten & dairy-free, but do contain coconut oil, and nut flours (almond & coconut), and egg. The cookie unicorn would be to find a recipe without the nuts, I know. I’ll keep looking. ;) 

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Snickerdoodles (see photo above - they’re on the left!)

I found this recipe from the Tone It Up girls, and they have a few others that I haven’t tried yet. I’ve been too distracted by this one. Check the tips after the recipe for texture notes!

Equipment:

  • 2 mixing bowls (this isn’t a huge recipe, so I used a medium and a small)
  • hand or countertop mixer
  • cookie scoop (handy but not necessary - it helps you get to the eating part much faster!)
*This recipe makes about 20-25 regular-sized cookies*

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar (7 if you like them slightly sweeter with crispier edges, I accidentally discovered)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I use what I have, which is light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 2 cups almond flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (more doesn’t hurt!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Mix coconut sugar (6-7 tbsp), brown sugar (1/3 c), and coconut oil (1/4 c) in one bowl.
  3. Stir in vanilla (1/2 tsp) and egg whites (1/4 c).
  4. In a second bowl, combine almond flour (2 c), baking powder (1/2 tsp), cinnamon (1/4 tsp), and salt (1/8 tsp).
  5. A little at a time, add flour mixture to sugar mixture until well-combined.
  6. Shape dough into balls (I use a cookie scoop that’s about 1 tbsp size) and place on a cookie sheet coated with coconut oil. Flatten just a smidge with fingers or the back of a spoon (a quick spray of coconut oil on the spoon helps).
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges look done.

Tips: I love these so much because of the options for chewy or crispy cookies! It’s hard to find cookies without gluten or dairy that are a good texture. I’ve had my share of mealy/pasty/icky-textured cookies, no thank you very much. These will be chewy when they first come out, then crisp up as they begin to cool. When stored though, they go back to chewy. My favorite thing is to pop a few leftovers in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and let them cool a bit. Then they’re perfectly crisp on the edges and chewy inside! Oh, and they have never lasted more than three days but were still tasty after that long when stored covered. 

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above: the first bite, before and after

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You guys, we’ve had everyone rave about these. They are some of the best cookies I’ve had ever, gluten-free or not! They are not originally my creation, but I’m sharing my version of a recipe that I’m so glad I found on Texanerin’s blog. Check out her original for more ingredient options, and see below for my opinion of the best combination. :)

Do note - this recipe requires refrigerating the dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight. I usually make the dough the night before I want to bake the cookies, then grab the bowl from the fridge whenever I’m ready to bake. I hear the dough (and final cookie) freezes well, but haven’t yet tried doing so myself!

Equipment:

  • 2 mixing bowls - one large, one medium
  • hand mixer
  • cookie scoop 
  • parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I use Earth Balance since I’m dairy-free. I’ve tried coconut oil but prefer the taste with EB)
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter (no oil or sugar added - check those ingredients or you’ll have super greasy cookies)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (or more) chocolate chips (I highly recommend Enjoy Life’s semi-sweet mega chunks. They take these cookies to the next level as they’re huge, super tasty, and they’re allergy-friendly.)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix almond flour (1 c), coconut flour (1/4 c), baking soda (1 tsp) and salt (1/4 tsp)
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter (6 tbsp) and sugar (3/4 c) until well-combined. (Really, really well-combined!)
  3. Beat in almond butter (6 tbsp) and vanilla (1 1/2 tsp) on medium until well-combined. Beat in egg (1) on low.
  4. Stir in flour mixture (I beat this too, because Riley is usually helping and he likes to use the hand mixer - I just don’t let him over-mix.)
  5. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour (overnight is best).
  6. Heat oven to 350°
  7. Spoon dough into 1-2 inch balls and place on parchment paper. (Again I recommend a cookie scoop, though with the mega chunks getting caught in there I’ve bent mine this busy baking season. Still worth it for the ease of scooping and making same-sized cookies, especially since my handy hubby bends it back into place for me.)
  8. If you can’t see chocolate chunks sticking out of the tops, place some more in there. Go on and porcupine that thing with some chocolate. If someone complains about you putting too many chocolate chips in your cookies, well that’s grounds for unfriending right there, friends.
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges look firm and the tops don’t look as wet. As with most cookies, I love taking these out when they’re still slightly gooey in the middle and let them cook on the tray for a bit outside of the oven. 
Heating tip: Just like with the snickerdoodles, I re-heat these in the toaster oven. I’m a picky re-heater, so even if I had no toaster oven I’d turn on the entire oven just to heat a few leftover cookies. It makes them that much better. In fact the above photo with the melty chocolate is a leftover cookie that was re-heated for about a minute. Just barely toasty on the edges and oh-so-gooey inside. Do it. It’s worth the extra work to get a perfect texture, if you care about such things. Priorities, man. As little as I get to eat cookies these days, good texture is a high priority of mine.

2016-12-23_0002.jpgAn optional final step for either of these recipes is handing over the beaters or cookie scoop to be licked clean. Yes I’m aware there is egg - I know. I’m not going to tell anyone else to, but we do it at our house. Life is short y’all. Lick the beaters. And have some happy holidays with some tasty cookies.

Hugs,

~m.

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Three Years of Light

On our back porch in the morning, there’s this magical light that streams through the trees on a sunny day. It highlights everything out there in a way that makes me feel like I’m watching a highlight reel of my life from the future. It brings me so close to happy crying and actually warms my heart and leaves an ache in my chest that’s probably just me choking back tears and light sobs that are trying to escape, and I want to say that it’s literally heart-warming but I’ve given Jordan shit for saying literally so often that our kid is saying it now too. So I won’t say that. But, it definitely is figuratively heart-warming. So much so that I can’t even get my camera to capture it like I see it in real life. Cue Jim & Pam’s mental picture-taking from their wedding day, if you’re a fan of the Office. But it makes me feel like this:

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Wherever you are in life, I hope something gives you this feeling. Whatever troubles you’re feeling, whatever struggles you have, I truly hope there’s something that gives you that light-but-heavy choked-up feeling of happiness. Even if it’s just for a few seconds of your day. Find that light. It’s there somewhere, I promise. And if it isn’t showing itself right now, please know that it will come.

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So much has changed in our lives since Riley was born three years ago. I sometimes feel like I could be a blogger, but in truth I can’t organize all of the thoughts I have here adequately, so I’m sure I’ll just keep posting these random updates and talking about how I want to dive into them further one day. Just for today though, here are a few recent photos of our newly-turned three-year-old. I hope they bring you at least a flicker of the light that I felt while taking them.

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We’ve spent so much time this summer in and around the water. Our house in Wilmington is almost finished, about a year after building started. Perfection takes time, y’all. Just look at this perfect smiling child that took me almost as many months to grow.

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Tickling and chasing and hiding - these are the things that bring out the biggest giggles from this kid. Cheers to many more movies in the new house with Little Bunny. This movie-watching night was pretty memorable even without a comfy sofa to cuddle on.

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We started a countdown to his birthday on the first of August this year, and let him cut off a link every day until his birthday on the 12th. He took this job very seriously, obviously.

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We found a new friend in the Target clearance section this summer. He’s a velociraptor, and Riley decided his name is Vivey and he only eats plants. We nicknamed him Veggie Rap. Oh, and these two built a cardboard house in the driveway. It required power tools, of course. It took less time to build than our beach house, so I think Riley might be teaching our builders a thing or two. ;) 

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He’s always loved reading, but he’s really investigating stories and reading them aloud to himself more these days.

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Bunny & Daddy Bear fam. It’s the best way to sleep.

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This is what happens when you cook bacon without turning on the fan, and your husband is out of the house and doesn’t answer the call from your alarm company. Let’s just pretend this was a planned visit so that Riley could compare his fire truck to a real one, okay?

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This is what my memories look like most of the time.

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One of the best iPhone shots I’ve ever taken:

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He loves so hard, you guys. It’s the best.

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This grin kills me, and is 100% him at three. Sly, sweet, and silly. His first day back to school this week was so awesome that he didn’t want to come home with us after it was over. I know how healthy that is, so I’m not mad about it one bit.

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That’s all for today, loves. I wish you so much happy.

~m.

love is what matters

I’ve been to the land of hypocracy lately, voicing my opinion on hot topics on social media. It’s something that usually drives me crazy and I’ve passingly complained about myself, but these days of being more comfortable in my skin and wanting to make my world and yours a better place have changed my mind. I’ve always noticed and mentioned that the older people get, the more comfortable they are voicing their opinions. Older and wiser, right? I just had to correct myself as I accidentally typed “wider” first, but sometimes that’s true as well…but that’s a whole separate post about comfortability y’all.

I’ve been sharing #blacklivesmatter posts. I’ve seen them in previous times of turmoil and didn’t really understand them myself. Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right people yet, but this time I am. Before I thought it was enough to say that #alllivesmatter, because unity and peace and love and we’re all human and let’s make this world a better place for everyone. But I didn’t really understand the meaning behind the movement. 

Before I start too much hashtagging and talking about the differences between the #alllivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter movements, know that I understand this is not our only problem in this country or in this world. But right now, the conversation is about this. And the older I get, the more I realize that remaining silent on important issues is just as bad as taking the wrong side publicly. So hear me and try to understand what I mean, and what most everyone else means, when we say #blacklivesmatter. 

All of this to say, I’ve been listening. I don’t watch television and I have trouble relating to friends who are obsessed with dramatic reality shows or stream entire seasons of a television series in a matter of days. I’ll tell you where my addiction lies: reading comments and articles galore. It’s unhealthy and can get obsessive, but I can’t stop. I’m fascinated by what people think and what they are willing to say while hiding behind a keyboard. I read things from people who agree with me on topics, and people who are on the opposing side, and everyone in between. There’s a reason I almost was a psych major. It pulls me in, and I’ve wanted to scream all the things to all the people for years. STOP IT. STOP SAYING THINGS TO PEOPLE (real people) THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY TO THEIR FACES. STOP. But the reality is, some people would say horrible things in person. These people just aren’t nice, period. It isn’t because they’re liberal hippies or uptight conservatives or because of their skin color or gender or sexual orientation or WHATEVER ELSE. It’s because they’re not good people. And nothing you type is going to change that.

What I’m hearing from my friends and acquaintances who are open-minded and loving - people of all backgrounds, y’all - is that enough is enough. Racism is still a problem in this country. That’s it. Let’s change this because it has to be changed. Talk about it with each other, but I mean actually talk. Don’t just blurt out your opinion and insist that you’re right. Be able to look someone in the eye and say, “I hear you. I understand what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and for listening to mine.” Everyone deserves that kind of respect. Everyone. 

Black lives matter TOO. That is what this movement is about. I in no way think police officers are all corrupt entitled people who have god complexes. I realize that some people who are treated less than fairly may have done something to make people of authority feel threatened. Yes, all lives do matter. I’m here to ask you to open your mind. Listen to the people who can tell you their real fears. Black people who have experienced them, white people who try to understand those fears but will never know what it feels like to actually experience them, or any person of any race who can tell you what it’s like to be anything but white. Whether you believe there’s a problem in this country with race, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand their real fears and feelings without judging. That’s all I’m asking. 

If you’re afraid to talk about it because you’re worried you might say the wrong thing, or offend someone, or maybe because you don’t even have a black friend or acquaintance to talk to about this and you’d like to…just start the discussion somewhere, in some way. Just be real and honest and open and understanding, as much as you can. And know that staying silent about anything that’s wrong in this world really does allow it to keep happening. If we just laugh it off and pretend it isn’t as bad as others are making it out to be, I promise you that it’s worse in places you aren’t seeing it. And it’s much easier now for those stories to be made public. Listen to them, and remember that you’re listening to things that are happening to other humans. No matter what they look like. Humans, you guys. Be human.

And because I can’t post anything without a photo, also please remember this. Racism is taught and learned. If you insist on teaching it to your children, consciously or not, don’t you dare teach it to mine. That’s where I can’t keep a calm and level head, guys. This kid will like you and play with you no matter what color your tongue is. As long as you’re kind. And fun. :) 
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Also, this facebook page is all about uniting us and sharing stories of love and acceptance. Please go here and have your heart warmed.