I love anything and everything lemon. Before I went vegan, I had a number of yummy lemon desserts in my repertoire—my favorites being lemon loaf and lemon squares. Once you have been baking gluten-free for a number of years, it's fairly easy to convert recipes with the myriad of flours out there. Converting certain recipes to vegan is not as easy.
Last year I bought Angela Liddon's cookbook, "Oh She Glows", which introduced me to making cookies with a mixture of almond meal and ground oats. Her chocolate chip cookies with almond butter are amazing! They lead me to start playing with almond meal and ground oats in everything from cookies to cakes.
And then these babies popped into my mind.
It took a few tries before I finally got the consistency right—but they were still missing something. White. Chocolate. Chips. Oh, it might sound easy enough. But go ahead and try finding white chocolate chips that are vegan at the grocery store or even Whole Foods. Luckily, we have the world wide web at our fingertips. I found a brand on Amazon called King David that I really like and are perfect in this recipe.
So as always, I add the caveat that even if you aren't vegan or gluten-free, you can easily make this recipe by switching out the products with dairy butter and regular white chocolate chips. But as you also know, I truly believe diary is bad for you AND factory farming and the diary industry is sadly inhumane. With that being said, if you choose to use dairy products in your diet, buy them locally or from known humanely raised sources.
Now, let's get down to business!
There are a number of ingredients in this recipe you might not have in your pantry. Do not fear them though. Almond meal is simply ground up almonds. Flaxseed meal is simply ground up flax seeds (excellent source of omega-3). Ground oats are simply ground up old fashion oats. If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix or even a good food processor, you can make these flours or meals yourself. Or, you can buy almond meal and flaxseed meal in most grocery stores in the health food section. Flaxseed meal is also great for adding to your breakfast oatmeal or a tablespoon in your daily smoothie. The only thing I tend to make myself (mostly because I am lazy) is the ground up oats. And this literally takes 2 minutes. I make multiple batches and put the oat flour in a large ziploc bag or mason jar and I am good for a few months. And although these cookies do have a fairly high fat content to them, keep in mind that almost half of that is from the almonds...yep, good fat. What cookie can boast that?
These cookies actually come together rather quickly once you have everything out. I start by making the flaxseed meal and water mixture (this is your binder) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, just like any other cookie, mix the butter and sugars together first and add the rest of the wet ingredients, including your flaxseed meal binder and your lemon zest. Mix the dry ingredients in a different bowl and then slowly combine the dry into the wet.
Remove from the mixer and stir in the white chocolate chips and you are ready to scoop out onto a baking sheet with your handy levered ice cream scooper. Give them a little room to spread and with wet fingers lightly flatten each.
Bake for 14-17 minutes until the edges are golden brown and you have perfection in a cookie. They are chewy on the inside and have a wonderful nutty flavor, with just a hint of lemon from the zest. There really isn't all that much sugar in these, but with the white chocolate chips they are just sweet enough.
For those of you who just bake with traditional flour, making the effort to buy these different ingredients to put in your pantry will be well worth the effort. These are going to knock your socks off and become your new favorite.
And if you aren't a lemon or white chocolate chip fan—leave out the lemon zest and use chocolate chips instead. Absolutely divine!
Time: 45 minutes
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
3 tbsp. water
1 c. almond meal
1 c. ground oats (always use certified gluten-free brands)
1/3 c. gluten-free all purpose flour mixture
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan stick butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs. vanilla extract (or 1 tbsp. if using homemade vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. vegan white chocolate chips (I like King David brand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a small cup or bowl, mix the flaxseed meal and water and set aside to thicken.
In a bowl, mix together the dry mixture of the almond meal, ground oats, gf flour, baking soda and powder and salt.
Note on making ground oats: Very easy to do in your Vitamix or a food processor; process until a powdery mixture, approx. 30-45 seconds. Does not have to be perfect!
In your stand up mixer, whip the softened butter and both sugars for a minute on a medium setting. Reduce speed to low and add the lemon zest and both extracts. Slowly mix in the dry mixture just until combined. Remove from your stand and spoon mix in the white chocolate chips.
Using your medium size, levered ice cream scooper, scoop out your cookies, leaving a little room for spreading. With wet fingers, gently press down to slightly flatten the uncooked cookies.
Bake for 14-17 minutes, until golden around the edges. Completely cool before eating.
Makes 20 - 24 cookies
Nutritional Estimations for 2 cookies: Calories 201. Total Fat 14 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 215 mg. Potassium 13 mg. Total Carbs 17 g. Fiber 2 g. Sugars 11 g. Protein 3 g. Vitamin A 2%. Vitamin C 2%. Calcium 5%. Iron 9%.