Paleo Maple Coconut Cookies
Grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free
Hello September and I am ready for fall.
I know, summer is still going strong technically, but I love fall. I am a fall baby (libra to be exact) and cherish the time when I need a light jacket, the air gets crisp and all the baked good turn spiced and mapley.
Maple syrup might be the one liquid sweetener that I would happily chug from the bottle if my doctor didn’t have something to say about that. The flavor is so rich and adds so much depth to whatever you put it in. Not to mention just the smell of any maple baked good is way better than any candle you could buy.
Maple cookies are their own would be amazing, but when you add coconut to the mix, there is some magical alchemy that happens and you get a wonderful roasty, toasty flavor and chewy, soft cookie. There are a few things that make these cookies the little lovelies that they are.
Grade A Dark Amber, Robust Maple Syrup
Not all maple syrups are created equal. There are maple flavored syrups that are mostly corn syrup, glucose and maple flavorings. We do not want anything to do with that. When you are looking at pure maple syrup, there are a few things to look for. Maple syrup is graded depending on the amount of time that it has been boiled or reduced. The more it is boiled, the richer the flavor and darker the color. Most maple syrups are Grade A or B, but vary in the descriptors that come after that. Dark amber will give you the best flavor for baking. If the label states that it is dark color and robust flavor that is even better.
Basically, the darker the maple syrup, the better because you will get the most flavor from a smaller amount. I buy maple syrup from local farms (the perks of living in New England), but you can get good organic maple syrup from Whole Foods, Amazon or your local specialty store.
We want some flavor. If there is one process that adds flavor to almost every ingredient, it is toasting. Try Stella Parks’ toasted cane sugar and your mind will be blown. I toast nonfat dry milk powder to add to cookies for even more flavor. The same goes for coconut.
Coconut on its own has a unique flavor. It is slightly sweet, nutty, and a little hint of vanila-esque flavor. When you toast it, the vanilla turns into a caramel-like flavor, the nuttiness gets amped up and sweetness is intensified.
To toast the coconut, set a dry (ungreased) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut. Keep the coconut moving around the pan as it heats up. As you stir, you will see the flakes turn golden brown. Once they start to turn a tinge of golden brown, remove it from the heat and let the residual heat from the pan continue to toast the flakes. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool before adding to the cookies.
If you want to have toasted coconut on hand, toast it using the method above. Let it cool completely before pouring it into an airtight container. Keep in your pantry for up to a month.
While I love all the nut butters, almond butter is my preferred one for baking. Why? Because roasted, smooth, unsweetened almond butter gives baked goods a similar flavor to browned butter. Brown butter is a revelation. In french, it is called beurre noisette, which roughly translates to nutty butter because of the flavor the milk solids take on and the color it becomes. So, nutty butter? Nut butter.
For these cookies, I wanted a concentrated toasted, roasted flavor because that is what reminds me the most of fall. So when you combine the maple syrup, the toasted coconut and the almond butter, you get one damn good cookie.
If you don’t have almond butter, try using cashew butter or tahini. Peanut butter won’t work as well in this recipe
And now, let’s get some cookies going.
100g (about 1/2 cup) almond butter
58g (1/3 cup) olive oil
84g (1/3 cup) Grade A dark amber maple syrup
57g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) coconut sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
45g (1/4 cup) warm water
120g (1 cup) almond flour
46g (1/3 cup) tapioca flour
1g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp flax meal
1/3 cup toasted coconut
In a medium bowl, measure out the dry ingredients (including the flax meal); whisk together to get out any clumps in the almond flour.
In a large bowl set atop the zeroed kitchen scale, measure out eh almond butter, olive oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Whisk together until smooth and combined. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and warm water; whisk until smooth.
Use a spatula to combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. The dough is going to be sticky, but that is ok. Cover the bowl and let it chill in the fridge for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes (err on the side of under baking so you get that chewy center).
Keep at room temperature, in an airtight container, for a week. You can also scoop the dough into balls, freeze them and then seal them in an airtight container and you will have cookies on demand.