Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Nut-free Carrot Cake Cookies

Last week was Allergy Awareness Week and as someone with a nut allergy I can tell you it doesn't half make life complicated at times. Especially when food producers cover their backs by stating "may contain nuts" on pretty much everything from pasta to fruit juices. Common sense is key. Despite one trip to A&E a couple of years ago (looking like the Rugby ace Martin Johnson, according to my lovely husband!) I believe my allergy to be relatively mild. My frustration is that I was not always allergic to nuts so I know how wonderful they are - i miss Bakewell tarts, dry-roasted Peanuts and the fiddly process of de-shelling Pistachios. But alas I can only dream. 

I'm on a constant journey trying to create nut-free sweet treats that really hit the spot. Seeds are a great nut-replacement and there's such a massive selection to try. These cookies are not only nut-free but also dairy-free and very low on sugar. As a result they work out at only 60 calories per cookie and the contents are great to give you an energy boost. 

To make 12 small Carrot Cake Cookies you will need:

1 Carrot, finely grated
1 over-ripe Banana, mashed
2 tbsp desiccated Coconut
3½ tbsp Organic Wholegrain Spelt Flour
2 tbsp golden granulated unrefined sugar
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
1 tbsp Agave syrup
1 tsp Chia seeds
2 tsp Sunflower seeds
1 tsp Poppy seeds
1½ tsp Pumpkin seeds
1½ tsp Raw Cacao Nibs

The banana is a great binder and allows for the avoidance of egg-replacer, which I try not to use too often. I opt to keep my ingredients natural, organic and fair-trade wherever possible.

Set your oven to 180°c. In a large bowl mix together the carrot, banana, coconut, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and agave then mix together well. Add the seeds, cacao nibs and spelt then combine well ensuring all of the ingredients are well distributed. Each bite should have a good range of seeds and nibs for crunch. The mixture should not be too wet or sticky so add more flour if you need to.

Using a teaspoon scoop up a little of the mixture and roll gently into a ball in the palm of your hand. Lay the balls around an inch apart on a sheet of greaseproof baking paper on a baking tray. When you've laid them all out take a fork and gently press them down flat.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cookies are well browned. 

Unlike conventional cookies I would definitely suggest that you allow them to cool fully before tucking in. They are all the crunchier and chewier for it. 

The combination of seeds with the bitter hint of cacao are a lovely replacement for the walnut flavours in traditional carrot cake. The banana keeps them moist and soft in the middle but is not overpoweringly banana-flavoured. And the shredded carrot is delicious with the hints of cinnamon and nutmeg throughout. Lush!

You can store the cookies for 3-4 days in an airtight container but they are definitely tastiest in their first 24 hours. They are also perfect for making cookie sandwiches with dairy-free ice cream or cheesecake-style vegan cream cheese.


1 comment:

  1. These sound so tasty! I love the fact that they don't contain nuts too, as it means I can pack them in Lil' L's school lunch box :D