urbanMamas snack: The recipes that changed our lives
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to hyperbolize food, I was enthralled with my neighbor Camellia's email today, asking me to try a recipe for raw, vegan "brownies," and write about them here in the context of life-changing food. What, she asked, are the simple, healthy, delicious recipes we couldn't feed our families without?
Immediately, I thought of my favorite shortbread cookies, made with measures of brown rice flour, whole wheat flour, and white flour; honey; and plenty of butter. They put me at peace despite the fat content; it's all whole "real" foods and it's giving us the sweet cookie fix we all crave with a hefty dose of whole grains and none of the processed sugar I've come to fear. I also love the "recipe" Truman and I devised; stir together plain hazelnut or sunflower butter, honey, and a few drops of vanilla, eat with a spoon (that was breakfast today). And of course, there are zinemama's zucchini carrot muffins, shared with us just yesterday (great way to use up frozen grated zucchini!).
As soon as I have 20 minutes to shell the walnuts (gathered, appropriately, from the enormous tree behind her house), I plan to try these out; she, like me, had been treating herself regular with pieces of chocolate bar and these -- with only the whole-foods sugar of the dates -- are a far less compromising luxury. And if you like these, also try the homemade "Lara Bar" recipes here and here. Please, share your recipes that delight both kid and parent alike with their delicious wholesomeness! Camellia's and my recipes are in the "more" portion of the post.
Camellia's raw vegan brownies
- 1 cup raw, shelled walnuts
- 1 cup dates
- 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder (or half cocoa, half carob)
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
Chop ingredients well by whizzing them all in a food processor for 30-60 seconds, or if you're Sarah, by chopping the walnuts and dates with a big knife and putting everything in a mortar and pestle. The longer you whiz, the more fudgey it becomes; use your judgement. Press mixture in a pan, refrigerate a few hours, then cut into squares. Or: eat with a spoon.
Sarah's spicy honey shortbread
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/8 to 1/2 cup honey (or thereabouts)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1⅓ cups white flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt (we like the way coarse ‘finishing’ salt tastes in shortbread)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon; 1 tsp lavender flowers; 1 tsp candied ginger; or whatever spice has you inspired)
- 2 tbsp. cream (or milk, if needed)
Beat butter with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer until creamed, and good. Add in honey and vanilla and beat again until creamy. Mix flours, salt and spice together to combine (if desired, I just dump 'em in) and add in about a third at a time to blend well. You should have a slightly sticky mixture that's not crumbling at all. If it does crumble or seems too dry, add a little cream, milk, honey or maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time, until it sticks together well. Way too sticky? Add a little flour.
Using wet fingers, pat into large rectangles on a cookie sheet. Score with a butter knife into bite-size squares. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes, until browned at the bottom.