Vegan Cran-Cherry Almond Power Cookies

Cran cherry cookies

During my 30 Day Challenge, I’ve been seeking out healthy snacks. While perusing the grocery store one day, I discovered these healthy cookies – they are so delicious, but I also thought that I could easily make them myself at home and control the ingredients (and of course it would be much cheaper to make them myself). I found this recipe online, and made a batch for my book club a couple of weeks ago. They had good flavor, but were very dry. I asked my friend Kelly (who happens to be vegan and an amazing cook) what I could do to help the cookies, and she suggested adding some applesauce for moisture, and a dash of vanilla for some more flavor and sweetness.

So I tweaked the recipe with her suggestions, and made a batch over the rainy weekend. I’ve got to say, the recipe is nearly perfect now. The added applesauce really helped to moisten them, and I decided to add in some dried cherries as well for extra flavor (I upped the amount of dried fruit and nuts a bit so the cookies had more texture). The biggest win was that they got the hubby stamp of approval 😉 I’m even going to make some for our long flight to New Zealand!

Tip: Besides using these as a snack, grab 2 or 3 for an easy breakfast, or pop one before a workout for an energy boost.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (traditional oats, not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, cherries, almonds, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well. Adjust accordingly by adding more oats or more applesauce if needed to get to desired consistency. All of the oats should be coated in the wet ingredients, and should stick together to form a small ball when rolled in the hand.
  5. Drop cookies (about the size of a golf ball) onto a non-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The recipe yields approximately 15 cookies.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Do you have any favorite healthy snack recipes?

xoxo,
Veronica

Recipe: Mom’s Baklava

finished-baklava

You can’t beat one of mom’s recipes, especially if that recipe has been handed down through generations. My mother’s baklava recipe, that she first learned while visiting relatives in former Yugoslavia, has become quite famous among family and friends and is always requested at dinner parties and celebrations. I have begun my own tradition with the recipe, making it for my husband on special occasions. He and his friends have claimed it is the best baklava they have ever tasted, and I have to agree.

If you’re looking for a treat to bake for your significant other this Valentine’s Day, why not take a break from the usual cookies or brownies and try this baklava recipe? There’s nothing like homemade baklava, and your sig other will appreciate all of the effort you’ve put into making something special for them.

{Mom’s Baklava}
Ingredients:
1 pound frozen phyllo sheets
1 cup melted butter

for the filling:
2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans or a mix of the two
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon cloves

for the syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

chopped-nuts

Directions:
1. Thaw phyllo pastry and separate the sheets according to package directions. Most packages will say to cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a damp towel to keep the sheets from drying out.
2. Transfer half of pastry sheets one by one onto a greased cookie sheet or rimmed pan, brushing each sheet quickly and all over with melted butter (make sure to fully cover the edges with butter).
3. Combine nuts, 1/3 cup sugar, cloves, and cinnamon; sprinkle over buttered pastry (I made slightly more of the filling and did two layers).
4. Place remaining sheets on top, brushing each with melted butter.
5. Cut baklava pastry into squares or diamonds, but leave the bottom layers uncut. Bake at 350° until slightly  golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar, honey, 1 cup water, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Boil baklava syrup for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until syrupy.
7. When both the syrup and baklava have cooled a bit, pour 1/2 of the syrup over the baklava. Let it soak in for about an hour. Then cut thru the uncut layers of dough, and pour the rest of the syrup over the baklava.
8. Let the baklava soak up the syrup about 5 hours or overnight before you serve them, either on plates or in cupcake holders.

work-station

{Phyllo dough work station}

brushing-phyllo

{Brush butter over the edges and work lightly inward}

filling-mixture

{Combine chopped nuts with sugar, cloves, and cinnamon}

filling-layer

{Once halfway through phyllo sheets, add filling mixture}

cut-baklava

{Cut pastry halfway through before baking – it will make for easier and cleaner cuts later}

baklava-syrup

{Pour syrup over pastry after it’s finished baking}

baklava-plated

Let me know if you try out the recipe! Do you have any favorite desserts to bake for loved ones and special occasions?

xoxo,
Veronica