Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whole Grain Cherry Almond Cookies

I have been on a kick with sneaking whole grains into our cookies. Whole grain cookies - cookies made completely from whole wheat flour and flax seed meal - sounds like something you eat only if you are on a diet. Or starving to the point of craving cardboard. However, I assure you that this recipe is absolutely delicious and one that the entire family raves about. The kids love them and Paul is obsessed with them.. I've posted the recipe for the basic Cinnamon and Fruit Whole Grain Cookies last summer, but this version is equally fantastic. The main difference is that it utilizes almond paste in place of part of the butter, adds in dried cherries (or cherry flavored craisins - whatever works!) and toasted almonds, and omits the oats. A great flavor combination!

I should stress that whole grain cookies lack visual appeal. They are a little darker, chunkier, and - frankly - uglier than a standard batch of chocolate chip cookies. However, don't let their humble appearance fool you - what they lack in the looks department, they make up for in leaps in taste! They are not dry and are plenty sweet. They just have a more wholesome, substantial taste thanks to the addition of flax seed meal and whole wheat flour. I'm not going to lie, these are definitely one of my favorite cookies ever. If you are an almond lover, you will find these especially appealing. The almond paste has such a wonderful flavor. We had some leftover from making this Whiskey Pear Tart, so into these cookies it went!

As you can see, Emma was very frustrated that I wanted to take a picture of the cookie plate. She honed in quickly and claimed a cookie. I should probably point out that this was her third cookie. She probably would have finished the entire plate if I did not put it out of her reach. Also note that she is doubling-up on her snacks by alternatively taking bites of cookie and chewing her way through a cupful of goldfish crackers. Eating is her favorite pastime.

Whole Grain Cherry Almond Cookies
adapted from Wegmans Menu Magazine Holiday 2014

1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup ground flaxseed meal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 *heaping* teaspoon salt
1 can (8 ounces) almond paste
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sweetened dried cherries or cherry-flavored craisins
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, flaxseed and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the almond paste. Gradually add the water until well-blended and smooth. Add the butter and brown sugar and mix until very creamy and well-combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute or so. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, then switch the mixer to the lowest speed and add the cherries and nuts. Mix until just combined.

Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookies sheets. I pressed each cookie down with the bottom of a drink glass to flatten evenly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until done - the centers will still be very soft and the edges will be a very light brown. Be careful not to overbake!!

Let the cookies rest for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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