Almond Sugar Cookies for Easter

Almond Sugar Cookies for Easter
easter2.jpg

Easter reminds me of fluffy bunnies and Easter egg hunts. I could wax poetic about adorable bunnies, but I'll just leave you with a link to some adorable bunny photos. You should actually click on this link because it's been scientifically proven that looking at photos of cute animals not only makes you happier but can also make you more productive. Win, win win. So on to Easter egg hunts. I vividly remember the Easter egg hunts of my childhood. I was in Kindergarten, and my elementary school organized two Easter egg hunts: one for the older kids in 2nd through 4th grade, and one for the younger kids in 1st grade and below. My sister, who was in 2nd grade, had the privilege of experiencing a challenging Easter egg hunt, in which kids were scrambling across the playground, climbing up trees, and flipping over tires like Crossfit competitors just to uncover neon-colored, plastic eggs filled with paper grass and bubblegum from the 99 Cents Store. I was green with envy as I saw the older kids struggle to uncover the hidden eggs. I would have killed for that opportunity.

Instead, as a Kindergartener, I was grouped with the dimwitted 5-7 year olds whose Easter egg "hunt" consisted of an open grassy lawn that was dotted with entirely visible colored eggs. There were no hiding places, no uncovered nooks and crannies. It was literally an open field for cattle to herd, and I considered this to be a profound insult to my intelligence. While the other dummies were having a grand time picking up the eggs in plain sight and showing off their hard-earned treasures to their beaming parents, I was fuming at the mouth like a rabid dog, just waiting to sink my claws into the school's vice principal and organizer of the annual Easter egg hunt. This shouldn't surprise you if you read my first blog post, in which I recall being a pensive, dour-faced child who was clearly mature beyond her years.

Fast forward many years later to when I was in my early 20s and was visiting my mother's friend during the Easter holiday. She had two grandsons, ages 4 and 2, and she thought it would be fun for me and my best friend, Sravya, to host an Easter egg hunt for the boys. We headed into the front yard, and Sravya and her younger brother, Srikanth, carefully placed the eggs on the ground or in other places that were easily reachable and visible to our intended audience. As memories of my Easter egg hunt trauma of 1993 began to flood my brain, I decided that I would not stand for this half-assed junior varsity game. I started taking the eggs off the ground and began hiding them so that boys would actually have to "hunt" for them. I put eggs in trees so tall only I could reach them (Sravya is a bit shorter than me), I put them underneath the car parked out front (a safe space for children, no doubt), I put them in rose bushes covered in thorns (a treat is not a "treat" if there's no hard work involved). When my antics were discovered, I was appropriately scolded for turning an Easter egg hunt intended for babies into a Hunger Games monstrosity. This is not the first time I have been reprimanded for converting leisure games into Gauntlet-style challenges. More on that later.

These days, I leave the Easter egg "hunting" to the children and focus on the baking. I love baking, but have only recently entered the world of healthy baking. Don't get me wrong, I still go to town on decadent brownies, pastries, and pies made with all the gluten and white sugar in the world. Frequently. But, I'm also interested in baking treats that are gluten-free and free from refined sugars because they're usually easier on my digestive system.

The best part about these almond sugar cookies with chocolate frosting is that they don't taste healthy. The bf gave them a strong approval rating and was disappointed when he realized that I had devoured 11 of the 14 cookies and there were only three left for him.

And on that note, Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

Almond Sugar Cookies for Easter

Makes approximately 14 cookies, depending on cookie-cutter size 

Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal/flour*
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder (can substitute tapioca flour)
  • 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or sub additional vanilla extract, will taste less almond-y)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)
  • *You can make your own almond flour by grinding almonds in a food processor

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot powder until well mixed. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky, well-combined dough. Alternatively, you can dump everything in the food processor. If the dough seems dry, add a bit more coconut oil.
  2. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 25 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Line a parchment-paper lined work space. Sprinkle some arrowroot powder on the parchment paper or directly on the dough. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use your desired cookie cutters and transfer the cookie shapes to the baking tray.
  5. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool in pan and transfer to wire rack to completely cool before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (not melted)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (my favorite is Valrhona)
  • 4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (I think honey is slightly better if you're not vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut cream (the cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes to set up. Frosting will turn into more of a ganache if kept a room temperature. It's still delicious.