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Sarah Lawrence

Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites

Who hasn't snuck a knob of cookie dough at one point or another?  Well, these tasty bites are the perfect thing, really.  I’m not going to suggest that they’re healthy.  No, even I can’t go that far with a sweet.  But, as cookie dough goes, popping one or two of these little gems isn’t a horrible choice.  Coconut oil is a source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and has multiple health benefits, but of greatest note in 2012 was the research that showed significant improvement in Alzheimers patients who used a coconut oil protocol.  Almond meal is the bulk of the dough so there is nothing overly processed and no gluten to gum up the gut.  If you want to take these bites over the top, you can coat them in chocolate and even add a few mini chips to the dough.  This recipe makes enough for a party.  The dough can also be stored in the freezer wrapped well in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag so you can make a few bites at a time. 006 Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature ½ cup coconut sugar 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 ½ cups almond meal 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, ½ for melting and ½ for dough (optional, but yummy!) In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar with the paddle attachment until the coconut sugar has “melted” into the oil and is no longer grainy.  Add the vanilla powder and almond meal.  Beat again for a few minutes to get the almond meal incorporated.   You will need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  The dough will not make a ball, but should keep together.  Because coconut oil is liquid at room temp, the dough will be soft.  At this point, if you want chocolate chips in the cookie, go ahead and stir in ¼ - ½ cup to suite your taste.  You can omit them and have a lovely treat all the same. Tip the batter into a smaller bowl and pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up.  If you leave it too long the dough will go quite solid and will need to sit at room temp for a bit to be soft enough to roll.  We are looking to be able to roll smallish, teaspoon size balls of dough.  You can make the dough balls larger, but this size is nice for popping as the occasional sweet treat and it’s also great for potlucks and parties. While the dough is firming up, take the ½ cup of mini chips and put them in a small heat proof bowl.  You need to melt the chips.  If you have a tried and true method, go ahead and get on with your renegade self.  If not, follow the leader… I boil water in the kettle and pour it into a pan that is a bit deeper and bigger than the bowl I chose for the chips.  I set the chip bowl carefully into the water bath, being sure that the water doesn’t get into the chips.  Leave the whole thing to warm for a few minutes, remove and stir the melted chips. Voila! Now back to the dough.  It should be a good temp for rolling so go ahead and scoop out teaspoons-full and roll them.  If your dough is too hard to scoop and roll, just leave it ococonut almond cookie dough bitesn the counter a minute to warm up again.  Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet or plate.  If the dough balls get too soft, you can pop the plate into the freezer to firm up before enrobing them in chocolate (doesn’t that sound so much sexier than dipping or drizzling?) Heavenly cookie dough balls, meet chocolate bath.  Roll them around in it and then rescue them gently with a spoon.  Place the drenched goodies onto a piece of wax paper or parchment or silpat.  They will need to go back to the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up the coating before serving, so if the whole operation is on a plate, that’s great.  Once the chocolate has set you can serve them or pop them off the plate and store in a freezer safe container.  For freezing, position the bites so they aren’t touching much, and separate layers with wax paper so they don’t stick. At room temp, the chocolate coating is fabulously finger licking good.  We like these best right out of the freezer when the dough is super cold and firm. For a variation, roll the dough balls in finely shredded coconut instead of chocolate… or, (mercy) roll in chocolate and then top with coconut! (You’re totally welcome!)

Sarah Lawrence

Easy Anytime Cookies

So, here’s a confession… I don’t buy food “treats” for my family often.  And, I’ve been told by my 10 year old that he needs more than fruits and veggies some days.  So, I’m stepping up my game and getting back into the healthy treat mentality.  I thought I had successfully won my people over on the whole foods 100% of the time, but what works for me isn’t working for them.  While I’m not conceding and running out to buy Ho-Ho’s and RingDings and neon orange cheese puffs, I feel good bringing homemade, lovingly made, whole food snacks back into the picture on a more regular basis.  What’s more… I am SO incredibly proud of my son for being able to iterate his needs.  He is a gorgeous example of doing what it takes to know what his body needs.  These cookies are quick to mix together, easy to freeze and slice off what you need and totally customizable to your tastes.  Easy, Anytime... easy anytime cookies. You can thank my boy for these… try them and let me know what you think!   [caption id="attachment_673" align="alignleft" width="640"]Easy Anytime Cookies Easy Anytime Cookies[/caption]   Easy Anytime Cookies 1 1/2 cups almond meal 1 cup brown rice flour or 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup quinoa or amaranth flour ½ cup potato starch (optional, but improves texture) 1 Tbsp vanilla powder (I use Authentic Foods) ¾ cup peanut butter 3 ripe bananas (if you prefer less banana flavor use green bananas) 1 cup mini chips (Enjoy Life vegan chips are great) or nuts or raisins or other dried fruit ** add in a Tablespoon of flax meal, chia seeds or hemp seeds for some omega 3 goodness!   Combine all ingredients except chips/add in's in your mixer bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until combined.  Then add in chips or nuts/fruit and mix gently to incorporate. Tip the dough onto a clean board and shape into a log.  Slice off the number of cookies you want to bake.  Wrap the remaining dough in parchment, plastic wrap or in a zip loc bag and freeze until ready to use. Place the dough slices on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  The smaller your cookies, the less time they will need to cook. Frozen cookies will bake in about 15-18 minutes.

Sarah Lawrence

No Bake Brownie Bites

[caption id="attachment_593" align="alignleft" width="300"]No bake brownie Bites No bake brownie Bites[/caption] It is a hot one in New England today.  Scorchers like today just don’t make me want to bake, but I’ve been itching to try a black bean brownie recipe that my friend Kerri created.  With the humidity though, not even a battalion of flying monkeys was going to make me turn on the oven!  So, a little blitzing with a batch of black beans and a few yummy raw staples and a nifty, no bake, nut free brownie bite was born.  My favorite bite was one I rolled with a few dried blueberries.  If you like an earthy flavor, go for the buckwheat.  Otherwise, try the GF oat flour for a mild canvas and a great bite of heart healthy oat fiber.  *nut free, gluten free, dairy free No Bake Brownie Bites 1 cup oat flour (choose gluten free if you need it) or 1 cup raw sprouted buckwheat flour * or a combination of both flours -- buckwheat is earthy, oat is neutral 12 medool dates, pitted, about 1 cup 1-2 droppers of liquid stevia or a few more dates to taste ¼-½ cup cacao powder 1 ½ cups black beans, unseasoned (drained and rinsed if from a can) ¼ cup water ¼ cup coconut oil Add ins of your choice – see end of recipe In your food processor, pulse the pitted dates a few times until they start to break down and get like a paste.  Add the black beans and process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you get a ball of dough.  You may need to add a bit more water or coconut oil depending on the moisture content of your beans and dates.  The consistency we’re going for is something like a stiff cookie dough or play dough. I like to line my small stone baking pan (8x6 or 8x8) with parchment paper, tip out the dough and press it firmly into the corners and then flat on the pan.  Fold the parchment over the mixture and refrigerate it so it firms up a bit more. Cut into ½ inch pieces.  Now you can get creative… you can roll the pieces into balls like truffles and swirl them around in cocoa or cacao powder, cinnamon, coconut, chopped nuts, matcha powder, powdered berries.  You can mix in dried fruit; dried blueberries and chopped dried cherries are my favorite.  You can leave the bites as squares and drizzle with chocolate sauce or spread with a thin layer of ganache.  Bottom line is that these are slightly sweet, fiber rich, heart healthy bites. *To make sprouted buckwheat flour start with raw buckwheat groats.  Soak them for about 2 hours, then rinse and drain.  Let the soaked groats sit in a sprouting bag or a glass container (lightly covered with a clean cloth) overnight.  Rinse the groats after 24 hours.  If they are sprouting, great… if not, let them sit another night.  Once the groats have nice sprout tails you can either set them on a baking sheet and let them dry before grinding them to flour or you can pop them in a dehydrator.  If you have a dehydrator, you’ll know what to do with it.  Otherwise, rinse the sprouts gently and drain them, then lay them on a baking sheet and let them dry out overnight.  You may need to stir them or flip them to help them dry evenly.  I used about 1 ½ cups of sprouted buckwheat groats to get my 1 cup of flour.  A clean coffee/spice grinder makes quick work of this job, but a food processor will work too. BONUS: My Daily Green --Red Cabbage, grapefruit and ginger Salad
  • thinly sliced red cabbage with grapefruit, pickled ginger and a splash of rice wine vinegar
  • a few handfuls of seasonal greens

Sarah Lawrence

Christmas Menu - a Gluten Free Vegan Feast

Christmas is such a wonderful holiday... celebrating the gifts of love and friendship... enjoying time with our family and friends.  For me, it's a joyful time.  In the kitchen, I want comfort and cozy... and I want tasty, healthy food that doesn't take all day to make!  I confess that I usually try new recipes at holiday time.  This year is no exception.  I'd love to share the inspiration for my 2 favorite dishes with you and hope that they can be a spark for you too! Okay, the ladies over at PPK are simply brilliant.  With a few modifications of the PPK vegan Macaroon recipe my Gluten Free Vegan version was born.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy coconut and the macaroon is just one of those things that’s eluded me… but no longer!  Now you can enjoy them too!   I played with these a little and my favorite variation was pressing a whole almond into the top of the mound of dough, baking and then drizzling with chocolate instead of dipping the bottom... kind of like an Almond Joy if you're into that!  GFV Macaroons GFV Macaroons 3 oz extra firm silken tofu ¼ cup coconut oil 2 tablespoons coconut milk 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup sorghum flour or ¼ sorghum + ¼ cocoa powder (for a chocolicious version) ¼ cup almond meal ¼ cup arrowroot starch ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½  cups unsweetened shredded coconut whole almonds, optional ½ cup chocolate chips, melted using a double boiler Variations recommended by PPK: Chipper: Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips to the batter Touch of Orange: Add 2 tsp orange zest and omit almond extract Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheets with parchment. Puree tofu, oil and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Scrape the sides to get everything back into the mix.  Add the remaining ingredients except the coconut.  Pulse to combine.  Tip out into a large bowl and mix in the coconut.  The dough will be stiff. Scoop tablespoons of dough out of the bowl and onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use my nifty Pampered Chef medium ice cream scooper to get uniform balls of dough.  These cookies don’t spread, so you can get a TON onto a baking sheet.  But, don’t overcrowd them or they will take longer to bake. 15 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven should do the trick… golden bottoms and lightly toasted tops. Transfer to a cooling rack while you melt the chocolate (I like the double boiler method where you place your bowl with the chocolate over a pot with a bit of boiling water on the stove… the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water, rather it should be big enough that it rests on the rim of the water pot so the steam and heat from the boiling water will gently melt the chocolate as you stir.) Once the chocolate is melted dip the cooled cookies in and coat their bottoms.  Then set them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet to set. Pop them in the fridge if you need them quickly, otherwise, a while at room temp will also set them up just fine.   The other super stars of our holiday feast were these chickpea almond tart shells.  Green Kitchen Stories is a new blog to me, but I am already in love!  David and Luise created a stellar GFV menu for Bon Appetit and their filled version of these shells was totally inspiring!  The recipe posted here includes my modifications based on our tastes.  I found the original recipe to be a bit too salty so I've cut the salt.  Also, the coconut oil I use is raw and tastes very coconutty, so for our tastes and with the pantry items we use I prefer to use Earth Balance to play off the nuttiness of the almond and chickpea flour without giving the added coconut note (even though I love coconut... it just didn't work for me here).  I added flaxseed meal to bump the nutritive value of the shell and loved the extra nuttiness that the flax gave.  So, try the original version and try my version... then make your own!  The beauty of cooking is that you have the freedom to create things that suite your tastes.    I spread a thin layer of garlicky roasted eggplant puree on the bottom of each baked shell, then added a layer of braised kale (chopped kale, garlic, shallot, parsley, veg broth), and topped with a dollop of herbed mashed potato. GFV Christmas Feast 2011 Served these alongside Quinoa studded with cranberries, pecans and roasted yams; mesculin greens with raspberries; steamed carrots seasoned with cardamon... and the meal was divine. Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Makes 6-8 tart shells depending on the size of your pans Tart shells 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 1/4 cup flaxseed meal ¾  cup almond flour or almond meal 1/3 cup potato starch, tapioca starch, or cornstarch 1/8 tsp sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choice or 1 ½ Tbsp dried 6 Tbsp Earth Balance + 6-9 Tbsp cold water special equipment: small tart pans Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until a nice dough forms. Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface (using either the chickpea or almond flour).  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and press into your tart shells.  If your pans are non stick there shouldn’t be a need to oil them, but if they’re not then definitely give the pans a quick coating. Take a piece of dough and press it evenly onto the bottom of the 1st tart pan, then work it up the sides.  Use your thumbs to keep the dough from going over the edges while forming a nice uniform thickness on the sides.  Since I don’t know the size of your tart pans, you may need more of less dough to make this work.  The shells that we liked the best had less than ¼ inch thickness to the sides and bottom.  They bake up crisp and are not dense. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the shells cool before filling them.  The bottoms will get soggy if you leave a filling in for too long, so be prepared to serve within about 45 minutes from the time you fill these little beauties.


Peanut Butter Cookies and Bars

The beauty of summer is that my boys are with me all the time.  Yesterday afternoon, my 9 year old came inside wanting a break from the nerf war and yard play with his brother.  Luckily, my husband was heading into the woods to do some tree work and our 5 year old was more than happy to tag along.... so me and my firstborn had the kitchen to ourselves.  These not-too-sweet, not-too-peanutty treats are the result of our kitchen experiment.  We will definitely play with this dough some more to create variations, but it's a great dough right out of the gate.  Share worthy for sure! GFV Peanut Butter Cookies + Bars 1 ½  cups brown rice flour ½  cup arrowroot starch 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp xanthan gum 1 cup peanut butter 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 Tbsp flax seed meal 8 medool dates, pitted 1 cup water Turn on your oven to 350 degrees and get it nice and warm while we work on the dough. Remove the pits from the dates and place the dates into your food processor.  Pulse until the dates form a sticky paste.  Add the brown rice flour, flax seed meal, arrowroot, baking soda and xanthan gum.  Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spoon the peanut butter into the food processor and pulse to combine.  Begin streaming in the water while pulse until a uniform, creamy batter comes together.  This is a bit stiff, so be careful not to overload your machine! Scoop out 24 tablespoons, rolling each Tbsp into a ball.   We had fun pressing each ball flat with the bottom of our measuring cup.  The edges crinkled and the centers were smooth.  The cookies hold their shape and don't spread.  I can fit 12 cookies on each baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. With the remaining cup of dough, either roll out more cookies or try this: Add: ½ cup gluten free oats ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips or minced raisins or minced dried cranberries (or all 3, but then you'll have to add 1/4 cup more peanut butter and a dash more water) ¼ cup peanut butter 2 Tbsp chia seeds + 8 Tbsp water + 1 tsp vanilla Mix the add in’s with the dough until everything is combined.  Press into a small bar pan (6 x 10 inches) or shape into a rectangle on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, cool and slice.  


Spicy love

Wow, February has been busy in my house!  It's Valentine's Day already... can you believe that?!  Yikes!  Well, Valentines day seems to me to be about sweet treats and indulgence and expressing love with fun foods.  My kids are certainly not strangers to treats, but we definitely don't do refined sugar in the way that we used to.  Today I made cinnamon rolls my way and loved them! A couple things make my cinnamon rolls different from the massive cinnabon style buns.  First, my guys aren't sickly sweet.  They are citrus spiced and subtly sweetened with dates.  Oranges, whole, juicy oranges provide the liquid mass for this dough.  It's whole food goodness with no milk or oil fillers and fat to cloud the flavor of the ingredients.  The gluten free flours tend to lend an earthier quality than white wheat flour, but teff, sorghum and amaranth are among the earthier alternative flours out there.  These are not rolls that will leave you feeling gluttonous, rather, these are treats that are meant to be enjoyed as a component of a healthy breakfast... not as breakfast alone.  I'm talking about having one cinnamon roll alongside a fruit salad and a cup of tea.  The rolls are balanced... and that may be why I love them. Here are two variations on the same basic roll.  I've made this recipe with a few different flour combinations to show you how you can change things up to suit your taste and also to work with what's in your pantry.  The first is a roll roll, and is great with a meal or with a cup of tea.  The second is the cinnamon roll.  It is versatile and lightly sweet and also makes a great biscuit/cookie!
[caption id="attachment_238" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Spiced Orange Rolls"]Spiced Orange Rolls[/caption]   Spiced Orange Rolls Ingredients 1 Tbsp Yeast 3 cups Sorghum flour ¾  cup Teff flour ¼ cup Tapioca flour 2 Tbsp chai spice or 2 tsp Cardamom, ground 12-oz orange puree (from about 3 oranges) 1 tsp. Lecithin 4 dates, pitted ½ cup Water (use if needed to get a moist but not sticky dough) ½  cup Raisins Preheat oven to 345 degrees.  Put oranges and dates into the food processor and process until smooth.  [caption id="attachment_239" align="alignright" width="300" caption="orange and date blend"]orange and date blend[/caption] You’ll have a pulpy juice mixture and the dates should be well incorporated.  Keeping your raisins aside, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until a dough forms.  Add a bit of water as you go if your dough seems dry.  We don’t want a wet or sticky dough, but it shouldn’t be crumbly either. Let’s turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.  I used Sorghum flour since it’s lighter than the teff.  Put the raisins on top of the dough and knead them in.  Once they are relatively uniformly distributed pat the dough out into a rectangle that is about 12 inches long and 6 inches wide.  [caption id="attachment_240" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Spiced Orange Dough studded with Raisins"]Spiced Orange Dough[/caption] Using a knife, score the dough in half lengthwise and then make 6 cuts spanning the width so we have 12 equal pieces.  Take each piece and roll it into a ball in your hands, then make flatten the bottom for a cute roll shape.  Place your formed rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet or onto preheated baking stones in the oven. [caption id="attachment_241" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="heading into the oven"]heading into the oven[/caption] Bake for about 25 minutes.   Cinnamon Orange Rolls Ingredients Filling 1 cup pecans 6 dates 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla powder Dough 12-oz orange puree (from about 3 oranges) 4 dates, pitted 1 Tbsp Yeast 2 cups Amaranth flour 1 cup Arrowroot flour ½  cup Teff flour 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon 1 Tbsp vanilla powder 1 tsp. Lecithin Equipment you’ll need: 2 bowls food processor rolling pin Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  First things first, we need to make the filling.  Dump all of the filling ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and pulse it until everything is combined and you've got a sticky paste.  Tip the mixture out into a bowl and give the food processor a quick swish with water so we can get going on the dough. [caption id="attachment_245" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="date nut filling"]date nut filling[/caption] Down to business: put your 3 oranges and 4 pitted dates into the food processor and process until smooth.  [caption id="attachment_242" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="We start with whole foods"]Oranges and dates[/caption] You’ll have a pulpy juice mixture and the dates should be well incorporated.  Add the remaining dough ingredients and pulse until a dough forms.  You will likely need to scrape the sides of your food processor several times during the process to ensure uniform mixing. [caption id="attachment_243" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="amaranth dough"]amaranth dough[/caption] Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  I used Amaranth flour since it’s the main flour in this dough.  Knead the dough a turn or two and then grab your rolling pin.  Make sure that your work surface is well floured or this dough will stick!  Roll out a rectangle about 24 inches long and 12 inches wide.   [caption id="attachment_244" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Even though it's a tender dough, it rolls out beautifully."]rolled out[/caption] Scoop the filling out its bowl and drop it in clumps down the center of the rolled out dough.  Using a spatula or flat knife spread out the filling until the surface of the dough is covered.  You will have a thin coating of the nut mixture. spread out the filling Now it’s time to roll this guy.  Starting at the long edge that is closest to you, begin to roll the dough.  Think jelly roll, think rolling a sleeping bag… we are rolling the dough over onto itself until it is one long rolled log.  Mission accomplished with the roll, so we’re going to use a serrated knife to slice 1.5 inch pieces of dough.  I ended up with 16 equal pieces.     [caption id="attachment_247" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="snug as a bug!"]cinnamon rolls[/caption] Place your sliced rolls in the pan of your choice.  They don’t rise very much so you need not leave a ton of room between them… in fact, you can pack them in like snug little bugs.  The only real prerequisite  is that you lightly oil your pan or line it with parchment. Bake for about 35 minutes. [caption id="attachment_248" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="fresh from the oven"]fresh from the oven[/caption]   Alternative: Slice the roll into cookie thickness, about ¼ inch thick and bake on a hot baking stone or parchment lined cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes.  Super, super crunchy and tasty treats.  Heck, make some into cinnamon rolls and some into cookies.  These are great with a cup of tea.


A fun day

Today was a good day.  It was one of those days where we had no commitments and enjoyed the luxury of time.  The boys and I started the day with a smoothie.  They've gotten really good at combining flavors.  This morning they used 3 bananas (1 for each of us), 3 carrots, a handful of kale, 3 cups of raw baby spinach and enough almond milk to blend (about 2 cups).  The result was a kermit green smoothie that tasted like banana and was creamy and thick.
My mommy move of the morning is adding a tablespoon of flaxseed per person for omega 3 goodness.  Any more than that and the smoothie will get bitter.  If flaxseed is something new to you, start with less and work into it.  My kids usually choose to add the flax themselves, but either way it gets into the smoothie!  

I knew that we'd be having leftovers and a big salad for dinner tonight so I had time to do some baking with the boys this afternoon.  Taking the opportunity to teach my young men to make something is very rewarding.  This afternoon we made A-B-C dough and were able to enjoy some chocolate animal crackers for snack.  As I'm typing, I am enjoying a cup of tea with one of the cooled biscotti from the batch as well.  YUM!

Right, here's the roadmap from today's kitchen adventure:

A-B-C dough
This dough is something I modified from a Chocolate Animal Crackers recipe that I used to make using regular flours and all.  It’s now gluten free and vegan and a total triple threat, as far as I’m concerned!  The A is for Animal Crackers (you’ll have enough for snack time), the B is for Biscotti (you’ll end up with 8 slices, good for snack, afternoon tea and morning coffee) and the C is for Chocolate Cookie (you can cut out a few rounds from the animal cookie scraps that are good enough for me!)

1 Cup gluten free Oatmeal (I like Bob’s RedMill)
½  Cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¾  Cup Teff Flour
½ cup Tapioca starch
¼ cup almond meal/almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
½  tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
6 Tbsp agave nectar
½  tsp Almond Extract (orange extract also worked well)
½  tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Tbsp almond milk
2 Tbsp olive oil or softened Earth Balance

Add in's for the biscotti:
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried cherries
4 Tbsp almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the oatmeal into the food processor and pulse it until the oats are floury.

Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor.

Pulse until combined and then let the blade work the dough until its uniform and makes a ball shape. If you find that the dough is too dry add a tablespoon of milk at a time until the dough is pliable but not wet.

Divide your dough in half, set one piece on your surface and the other piece aside.

Flour your surface with teff and roll out the dough to about 1/8th of an inch thick.  Lightly dust the top of the dough as well.  Now pull out your set of super cute animal cookie cutters and get to work creating your chocolate cookie menagerie!
Place the cut out crackers on to a parchment lined cookie sheet.  They will not spread, but should have a bit of room between each animal.   

Now take the dough that you set aside and get ready to make magic!  Add a handful of almonds to your food processor and pulse for a few seconds.   We want small chunks of almonds, not almond flour.  Add the dough back into the processor bowl along with ¼ cup of dried cherries.  Pulse the mix, adding up to another 4 Tbsp of almond milk to get pliable dough.

Take this dough and shape it into a log that is about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide.  Round the top a bit if you’re into the asthetic.  Firm up the ends so they are as squared off as possible.  Set this guy on a parchment lined baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven on a middle or top shelf.

Bake the animal cookies in the same oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.  We are aiming for a crispy animal cracker.  Some of my animal cracker shapes turn out smaller than others and need to be removed from the oven before the rest of the gang.  You will need to check yours out and pull them when they are solid but not burnt!

Take the animal cookie sheet out and transfer your cuties to a wire rack to cool.  Leave the dough log in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven after the 15 minutes and lower the oven temp to 250.  Let the dough cool for a few minutes, then slice the log into 8 pieces, each about ½ inch thick.  Lay the slices down on the parchment sheet again and put it back in the oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, then flip the slices and bake for another 20 minutes or until the slice are a bit crisp.  Remove the tray again and transfer the cookie slices to your wire rack to cool.  Enjoy these bad boys with a cup of coffee or tea.