Honey Halvah Cherry Cookies
Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan
First, I know that for some, honey is not vegan. This is a pretty hotly debated topic. When I was a vegan, I did eat honey. I love honey and it’s a great alternative to cane sugar.
I always try to take my favorite basic recipe and then adapt it so I can make it work for all dietary restrictions. But I think that when you swap out ingredients, you are changing the flavor profile. Once that core flavor changes, why not just keep going?
Honey is very sweet. It is also a floral sweetness, which needs to be balanced out or it is a bit sickly. Halvah and sour cherries are my way of balancing things out.
Halvah is a sesame candy that is almost like a mix between tahini and nougat. Crumbly, slightly sweet, a little chewy, but still with that savory sesame flavor in the background. I buy halvah from Whole Foods or my local specialty shop. If you can’t find it, no worries, add some dark chocolate instead.
Dried sour cherries are still sweet, but have a little bit more acidity, which helps the balance some of the sweetness. If you can’t find them(i got mine at Whole Foods), dried cranberries work well too.
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
2 tbsp neutral oil (olive, avocado or grapeseed)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup raw honey (if you would prefer, you can use maple syrup)
1/4 warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1/4 cup roughly chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup crumbled halvah
large flake sea salt for topping
In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt and black sesame seeds. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, oil, coconut sugar, honey, water and vanilla until all smooth. Keep whisking for additional 3 minutes. You want a smooth, slightly runny mixture.
Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula. It looks like a lot of dry ingredients, but just keep folding. Once the flour mixture if mostly mixed in, add the chopped cherries and halvah and fold until everything is evenly mixed and fully incorporated.
The dough is pretty soft; cover and let it rest in the fridge overnight. The dough will still be soft after the chill session, but will hold its shape when it’s scooped.
The next day, preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Scoop 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough onto baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie (the cookies will spread).
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the middles are just still slightly soft. Remove from the oven and tap the baking sheet on the counter. This is to deflate the cookie and get that delightful thin, crisp, chewy cookie.
Let cool for 15 minutes. These cookies are sweet, so I love to eat them with something a little more savory like a plain ‘cheese’ or tahini. They’ll keep for a week in an airtight container,