Yes, tea cookies are meant to be served with tea, but dipping these little Paleo dainties in a glass of port turns an afternoon pick-me-up into a moderately decadent treat.
This delightful grain-free version of the traditional tea cookie provides all the deep satisfaction of eating a sweet treat without the blood sugar roller coaster upset caused by grains, or conventional sugar. A few of the ingredients may be a tad unusual or exotic to some of you, but I so encourage you to give it a try. It’s good to venture into exoticism, especially when it’s in the safe haven of your own kitchen. ( You will find a short explanation at the end of this post on those ingredients, where to get them, and why they are good for you.)
And what the heck is Paleo anyway? There are plenty of books and websites devoted to the merits of a Paleo diet, so I’ll just be very brief and explain it this way: It’s a no grains, but plenty of protein, vegetables, fruits plus nuts and seeds, along with healthy edible fats way of eating that is in alignment with our genetic inheritance. (Please see end of blog for links on the Paleo Diet)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips for coating
Pre-heat oven to 350.
1. In a medium bowl, combine the first five dry ingredients and mix well with a fork.
2. In another medium bowl, combine the softened butter and the rest of the ingredients (except for the chocolate) and whip well with a fork for about 2 minutes. Don’t worry about lumps of butter.
3. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet and mix into a dough. It should be the consistency of putty. ( See pictures below) Pliable, but not sticky.
4. Shape into 1″ spheres.
5. Place spheres about 1/2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 18 – 20 minutes.
6. Allow the baked cookies to cool completely
7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or a small stainless steel bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water).
8. Dip half the tea cookies into the melted chocolate, and place on a flat surface lined with parchment (you can use the same parchment and baking sheet as a drying surface.) Allow the chocolate to set.
9. You may have a little chocolate left over. Just lick it up, or whisk into some heated milk and have a hot chocolate.
Store cookies in an airtight container. Consume within 5 days.
Now, for those unfamiliar, but very healthy ingredients:
Coconut flour ~ made from the coconut. It is gluten-free and contains plenty of fiber and approx. 19 grams of protein per 3.5 oz.
Xylitol ~ Anything that begins with an “x” is bound to be interesting. Xylitol was invented by the exciting Fins who extracted it from birch trees, and has been used as a food additive since the 1960s. It is an alcohol sugar which does not trigger the release of insulin, thus making it a healthful sweetener for diabetics. It is great in baking. More information here.
Palm sugar ~ Made from the sweet nectar collected from the flowers of the green coconut tree. Doesn’t that sound so seductive and exotic? Adding to it’s charm, is the fact that its GI (glycemic index) is 35, as compared with honey at GI 55, and cane sugar at GI 68. Palm sugar’s relatively low GI means that it delivers a slow release of energy, while keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel.
Xanthan gum ~ Another ingredient beginning with “X”! This one is made from fermenting corn sugar inoculated with a strain of bacterium known as xanthomonas campestris. Don’t let the microbial connection scare you away from using this helpful ingredient in gluten-free baking. (Yogurt, wine, beer, olives, and cheeses are all foods made with the presence of bacteria.) Xanthan gum acts as a stabilizer and thickener for gluten-free flours.
For love of food & friends,