Flourless Cherry Sweetheart Cookies {Grain-Free & Paleo}

These were created with LOVE for the Valentine’s Bake Sale Boxes that got delivered last week. In keeping with my passion, I was thrilled to get to bake up some delicious treats for kiddos and families that are very particular with their ingredient lists; and, better yet, I was able to raise a little money for a couple of charities that are local to me and to my heart. I know I keep saying this, but it really was the Best. Bake Sale. Ever.

Grain-Free Cherry Sweetheart Cookies

super- duper simple nut butter cookies turned into these:

Cherry Sweetheart Cookies
1 cup organic almond butter
1/3 cup organic raw honey
1 pastured chicken egg
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
10 + 24ish dried organic & unsulphered cherries
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees {fahrenheit}.

I find these are easiest to mix together in a food processor.  I hope you love how easy these are as much as I do!

In your food processor, combine the almond butter, honey, egg, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and 10 of the cherries. Pulse or mix on low spear until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. I used my #70 disher (or 1 tablespoon) spring disher. YOU can use a large spoon or even a tablespoon measuring spoon, but if you do not own a #70 disher, just hop onto Amazon and purchase one for your kitchen drawer. They are so great for cookies and mini muffins!

Spoon your dough onto your parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. I have found that the amount of “spread” that these cookies get depends on the amount of oil in the nut butter. But, they always taste delicious!   Now, take the remaining cherries one at a time and, using a knife or the tip of your fingernail, make a small slit in one of the edges and separate it, mimicking the shape of a heart. Press the heart-shaped cherry into the center of each dough mound.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 9 minutes. remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Refill your pan with the raining batter and repeat.

I get 24-28 cookies per batch. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container, that is IF they make it that far.
The cherries give each cookie a sweet and tart element, the fact that the entire batch only has 1/3 cup of honey as its sweetener, and the simple, throw-in-the-food-processor method here make these so very appealing to me as the chef of my household. And this basic recipe has endless possibilities! Chocolate chips are the obvious choice, yes, but I enjoy experimenting with less ordinary treasures.

Hope you Enjoy these as much as we did. <3
~Kendra

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don't have to feel guilty about eating.
Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THE FALL ~ well, I haven’t mentioned it yet today, so there it is. Guilty!

My husband would tell you that I have been distracted as of late. My kids would likely say that I have not been a “good listener”. Well, if you could be a fly on the wall of my brain, you would know perfectly well that all this spaciness is due to the pumpkin eclipse that occurs once a year in October!  All I can think about is pumpkin : how crazy we should get with carving, which grocer to grab from, which patch to patron, and mostly, what creative pumpkin concoctions can I come up with in the kitchen?!

This year, I really wanted to test out an idea for a pumpkin cheesecake. Being dairy free, this would be a pumpkin cheesecake without cheese. Yes, you read that right. Many of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes call for vegan cream cheese. This is not my favorite option. I really wanted to find a different way to do a dairy-free cheesecake, one that seemed somewhat healthy and had no artificial ingredients and no cane sugar. So, my creative juices started to flow down a pumpkin path of a freezer cake, a layered freezer cake, and I thought about the creaminess I can get from chia seeds, like with the chia pudding that I sometimes make.  This is what I came up with:


This recipe is done in stages, but it is not difficult, so please don’t let the long explanation scare you off. I suggest reading through the instructions before you begin so that you can plan for each step.

LAYERED PUMPKIN PIE FREEZER ChiaSCAKE

Prior to making your cake/pie, soak 1/2 cup pecans and 1 cup of cashews in the refrigerator (seperately) for two hours. If you can plan ahead, it is easy to simply soak them in the fridge over night.


THE CRUST

{This part is a work in progress. I loved the flavor of this crust, but the consistency was a bit too gooey to me and made the pieces hard to serve, I will revise when I come up with a better solution, but my next try will be more nuts and less dates} :

1/2 cup pecans (or nut of choice), soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
10 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine in food processor or blender. Press a thin, even layer into a glass pie pan or a 6-cup pyrex dish (8x6x2)*
Set aside and move on to the PUMPKIN PIE LAYER.

THE PUMPKIN PIE LAYER
1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
I always opt for the simplest method possible. I combined all the ingredients into my Vitamix and blended until smooth. (You may see some specs from the chia seeds. This is okay)  Spoon the mix over the crust and smooth out with a spatula. Stick in the freezer while you rinse out your blender and move onto your ChiasCAKE LAYER.

THE ChiasCAKE LAYER
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all the ingredients for the ChiaSCAKE Layer into your Vitamix or blender. Blend, starting on low and moving up to higher speeds, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. There may be some specs from the chia seeds again. This is okay. Take the dish out of the freezer and add this layer to the top.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, take the freezer cake out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes, just until it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. Cut and serve.

The first time we tried this, I was not sure how the flavors would go over for the kids (they are 5 and 7). They looked at it skeptically at first, which could always go either way. After the first bite, I could see it written all over their faces. We had a winner, folks! They were soon licking their forks clean and asking {politely, of course} for another piece.  {Music to a momma’s ears.}  2 pieces each for breakfast the next morning and 1 more for an after-dinner-dessert and we managed to polish off this cake in close to a 24 hour period. Not too shabby!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

~Happy Dairy-Free Cheesecake eating ~