Guess who's getting married at The Green Blossom Kitchen, Cecelia! She is marrying her high-school sweetheart, Travis, next weekend so of course we had to celebrate with Italian wedding cookies and her favorite flower, lilacs. As usual we gave the standard recipe a little make-over which includes the use of alternative flours. Remember the almond flour you saved from our matcha latte and homemade almond milk post a few months ago? Oh yeah! Get that out and let's get started!
We love using alternative flours in baking, not only for the nutritional benefit but also for the varying depth of flavor they can provide to baked goods. We chose sprouted spelt flour and almond flour for this recipe. Spelt is considered an ancient grain dating back over 9,000 years. It is more water soluble than wheat making the key nutrients in spelt easier for the body to digest, and even more so in the sprouted version we chose. Whole grains are actually dormant seeds which can be sprouted by soaking the seeds in water. Once soaked you could say that the grain "wakes up" and creates a small sprout or living plant. The sprouted grain is then dried (using low heat methods to avoid killing the live nutrients) and ground to create the various sprouted flours. This process makes the grains slightly higher in nutrients and makes the nutrients more available to your body because they are easier to digest. Sounds pretty good right? Spelt flour has a slightly nutty flavor and can easily replace whole wheat flour in most recipes. The other flour we used in this recipe is almond flour which is made from ground almonds and is a byproduct of almond milk, homemade or otherwise. Almond flour is naturally gluten free and has a richness that you will not find in grain flours because of the healthy fat content of almonds. We suggest replacing 1/4 cup of flour in a recipe with almond flour, any more may create a crumbly finished product due to the lack of gluten which acts as a binder in recipes, especially ones that are egg-free. Alternative flours are readily available at specialty grocers though are becoming more available at many grocery stores. So keep your eye out in the baking aisle for a grain other than your standard whole wheat (no offense!). If you find something sprouted, even better! One brand that we like for alternative flours is Rob's Red Mill though we are not aware of any sprouted options currently. So who's ready to get floured?
Cecelia's Wedding Cookies
PREP TIME: 20 mins (+ 1 hr to chill dough)
TOTAL TIME: 40 mins
Servings: ~24-30 cookies
2 cups sprouted spelt flour
1 cup almond flour (store bought or saved from our almond milk recipe)
1 cup organic, grass fed butter (room temp)
3/4 cup powdered coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp powdered star anise
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup powdered cane sugar (reserved for tossing warm cookies in)
You likely will not be able to find powdered coconut sugar but can create your own as we did if you have a high speed blender such as a vitamix (dry blade). Add granulated coconut sugar to dry blade blender and blend on high for 3-5 mins until sugar becomes a powder. If you do not have a high speed dry blender then look for vegan and/or organic powdered sugar to purchase. The same goes for the powdered sugar coating, this can be made from cane sugar in your dry blender or purchased.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and powdered coconut sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape out the inside of 1/2 vanilla bean and add to the mixer along with the powdered star anise. Add 1 cup almond flour, and slowly add 1/2 cup of spelt flour at a time to mixer until full 2 cups have been added.
Wrap finished dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until completely chilled ~1 hour. Once dough is chilled turn oven on to 350 degrees, prepare a baking pan with a fitted sheet of parchment paper, and begin shaping your cookies. These cookies can be shaped as crescents (shown in the picture above) or simply roll them into a small ball. Bake cookies on parchment lined baking sheet for 16-18 mins or until golden brown around the edges. Take the cookies out if the oven, allow to slightly cool for ~5 minutes and toss in powdered cane sugar until completely coated with sweetness!
Yummmmmmm. We hope you like the flavor of star anise as much as we do because it really shines in this recipe highlighted by the richness of the butter and powdered coconut sugar. Though Cecelia is 50% Italian and what would an Italian wedding cookie really be without it? Enjoy these with a cup of your favorite tea and send some well wishes our way. Since Jess will be traveling to attend the wedding and Cecelia will be busy (saying I do!) we will not be posting a recipe next week (gasp!). Maybe take this opportunity to look back a try something you may have missed over the last several months. We will be back soon!
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.