Every new year can be a new you! It’s a common phrase that gets slung around this time of year. A time when the calendar resets as does our motivation to become better than who we were the previous year. It is a time when we make resolutions, set higher goals, and create plans of action to achieve those goals. As much as this phrase applies to most people around the world come January 1st, it has never been a thing for me. Sure I have goals I want to achieve, but it has never taken a specific time of the year to motivate me. I have always been a person that once I set my mind to something I start acting upon it. I don’t say things like “I will start this tomorrow” or “I will wait until next week”. Once I have something in mind I won’t wait a single moment more to start executing it in some capacity. That is how I started this website, that is how I re-branded this website, and that will be how I continue to operate this website.
Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with some cookies? You see, back in 2016 I had my second daughter and I was totally happy to have expanded my family but I was also completely miserable. I was morbidly obese, fatigued all the time, and just all around blah. This website was my therapy. I relied on the taste of good food to comfort me and writing about it continued to remind me of the feeling I got while eating it. Problem is, that high was always short-lived and never solved the real issues I was facing. In an attempt to extend the good vibes, I would just create more and more content. It got to a point where each year I would spend the entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas preparing countless cookie recipes to share on this website, which I would of course indulge in thereafter. It was an endless cycle of self-torture. That is until I decided to make a change. It may not have happened for the new year but it would go on to change every year thereafter.
Since August of 2016 I have lost over 120 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. As great as this process has been, midway through my journey I realized that I had lost something along the way, that being this website. Since I no longer relied on food as therapy I was no longer making unhealthy desserts all the time, therefore leaving me with nothing to write about. It took me several months of being on hiatus until I finally realized that I could start over with a new philosophy. Just as I had hit a reset button on my life I could also hit the reset button on this website. The old desserts I used to love but had come to see as the enemy would once again become my friends, only this time as inspiration. A new mission had been born. A mission to create clean, delicious, and nutritious desserts that would fit my new healthy lifestyle while also keeping this website alive for all of you.
This year I may not have spent weeks preparing countless batches of unhealthy cookies to present to you over the holidays, but I do bring you this gem. It is not the lightest of recipes, but it is a lot more nutritious than any other holiday cookies you will find, which is still a win in my book. To achieve a moist yet gluten-free cookie base, I started with a blend of almond and coconut flours. To add delicious flavor and a slightly chewy texture, I created a healthier salted caramel using coconut milk and Sucanat. Lastly, for an elegant presentation, I topped each cookie off with a candied pecan. If you seek an indulgent, yet clean treat, look no further than these chewy, salted caramel cookies!
Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cookies
- 2 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
- ¾ cup Sucanat plus 2 tbsp.; divided
- ½ cup Raw Unsalted Pecans
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- 3½ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract; divided
- ½ tsp. Sea Salt
- 2½ cups Almond Flour/Meal
- 1 tbsp. Coconut Flour
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ¼ cup Coconut Oil; melted
- 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To prepare candied pecans: Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add maple syrup and 2 tbsp. Sucanat. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil and Sucanat dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and immediately add in pecans. Stir until pecans are fully coated. Spread pecans evenly on one of the prepared baking sheets. Set aside to cool, at least 5 minutes.
- To prepare caramel sauce: Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add coconut milk and ¾ cup Sucanat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, add 1½ tsp. vanilla and salt, stirring constantly. Cook caramel until thickened and a reddish brown color, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a glass bowl, and set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- To prepare dough: In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, and baking soda until well blended. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour the contents of the small bowl (wet ingredients) into the contents of the medium bowl (dry ingredients) and blend with a fork until a dough forms. Add ½ cup of the caramel sauce to the dough and mix until well blended.
- Drop 1 tbsp. of dough at a time onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on baking sheet. Once cool, use a spoon to dab the tops of each cookie with the remaining caramel sauce. Place one candied pecan on each cookie. Store in an airtight container for 3 days. Use extra candied pecans on salads, over yogurt, in oatmeal, or as a sweet snack.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 Cookie): 242 Calories; 4 g Protein; 17 g Total Fat; 7 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 123 mg Sodium; 15 g Sugar; 19 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: K. KLEIN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos. I feel like summer just started, yet here we are, about to officially welcome fall. Time seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye because the past several weeks have been busier than usual for me. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter returned to school (first grade) and my youngest daughter started her first year of school (pre-K). Next up was the return of Hellenic Dance practice for my oldest and then we had family come to visit. Directly after that we spent several days bracing for a hurricane that thankfully avoided us almost entirely. The kids were off school for a few days so once they went back and schedules resumed normal operation, I quickly began work on building new workout routines/meal plans for my fitness groups, which happened to include coming up with this delicious, healthy cookie recipe.
Since my gears are still currently in the process of switching from summer to fall, I wasn’t quite ready to nose dive into everything fall flavored. I wanted to make something that used the warm spices of fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but did not make apple and pumpkin the star of the show. I had a jar of organic pureed carrots that I wanted to use up before it expired so that became my starting point. This quickly led me to a craving for carrot cake, but I certainly had no ambition to make a cake with everything going on. The kids were begging for cookies so I thought, why not try making a carrot cake cookie.
To keep things plant-based and gluten-free, I started with a base of mashed bananas and oats. Rich and sweet, ripe bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like potassium. Bananas also lend a creamy texture while binding the dough together, thus avoiding the need for eggs. To add more moisture and nutrients to the dough, I used a jar of organic pureed carrots. Although you could certainly use finely shredded carrots, I prefer to use pureed. Not only does it save a step during prep and clean-up, but it also blends more smoothly into the cookie batter, which improves the texture of the final product while preventing kids and/or husbands from detecting its presence. The best part is it doesn’t even take much of the orange root veggies to add a significant nutrition boost. The relatively small amount of pureed carrots provides numerous antioxidants and nutrients, with soaring amounts of beneficial beta carotene and vitamin A.
Therefore, if you love sweets and need a clean cookie that will fit into your meal plan/macros, this recipe is for you. When consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about eating!
Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 Ripe Bananas
- 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 4 oz. Jar Organic Pureed Carrots
- 3 tbsp. Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
- 3 tbsp. Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
- 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1¼ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oats, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
- Wet fingers and scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands. Form into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with hand. Continue with remaining batter.
- Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Extras can be frozen in freezer bags until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Per Serving: (1 Cookie): 91 Calories; 2 g Protein; 2 g Total Fat; 0.5 g Sat. Fat; 3 g Fiber; 3 mg Sodium; 3 g Sugar; 15 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. VALPONE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019
The cookie section of the dessert table is a prominent feature for almost every culture’s Christmas celebration. Whether it is Gingerbread in America, Pizzelles in Italy, Melomakarona in Greece, Madeleines in France, Kringla in Norway, or Shortbread in Scotland cookies are a must for every family to prepare. In our house we always make sugar cookies cut out in fun Christmas shapes and decorated with different colored frosting and edible adornments.
Aside from our traditional offerings I always try to offer a new cookie for everyone to try and I also share it here with all of you. Typically I make several different cookies around Christmas but this year I have only made two because that is all a 3-year-old and newborn will afford me. I will be making other sweets but cookies were a place I could shave down my offerings and save time.
Now Snickerdoodles are no secret around the holidays. Many Americans already add them to their cookie trays, even swapping out the cinnamon sugar for festive red and green decorating sugar. Although their exact origin is unknown it is believed that Snickerdoodles are German in origin. Although I could have easily stuck with the traditional recipe (as there is nothing wrong with it) I always like to try new things, hence the addition of honey almond butter. I came across some Justin’s brand Honey Almond Butter on clearance at my local supermarket and couldn’t pass up the deal. With a bit of experimenting, it turns out that the addition of almond butter to a classic snickerdoodle makes a fantastic cookie.
The honey almond butter provides a richer twist on the classic recipe while still retaining the signature soft interior and crispy cinnamon-sugar coating that has made this cookie a lasting favorite. Not only is this cooking satisfying but it is also a healthier option to provide for those who may not want to indulge in the extremely calorie/fat laced frosted sugar cookies this Christmas. Merry Christmas and Enjoy!
Honey Almond Butter Snickerdoodles
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
- 3 oz. Whipped 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
- 2 tbsp. Honey Almond Butter (such as Justin’s Brand)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Egg Yolks; lightly beaten
- 4.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour
- 1.5 oz. Whole-Wheat Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Salt
- Cinnamon-Sugar; for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the brown sugar, cream cheese, unsalted butter, and almond butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a stand or hand mixer beat the mixture on high-speed until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and beat again until well blended.
- In another large bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.
- Using a rounded tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle tops of the dough rounds adequately with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating cookies halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on the pans for 1 minute. Remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon-sugar. Serve.
Weight Watchers: 4 Smart Points, 3 Points Plus, or 2 Traditional Points
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MICHAELA ROSENTHAL
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016