What I love about cookies: they’re dense, a delightful combination of crumbly and chewy, the perfect balance of sweet and savory, buttery without being too rich, and a convenient dessert in that there’s typically no gooey or sticky mess involved. What I don’t love about cookies: it’s easy to spend an unreasonable amount of your daily calories on them, which is because they’re usually stuffed with not quite necessary (and not quite healthy) ingredients like dairy butter, white flour, double doses of sugar, and a lot of eggs. You’re probably thinking “Unnecessary?! That’s where all the flavor comes from!!” And you’re right — but the recipe I’m sharing today will prove that it’s possible to get all that flavor with only a fraction of the “unnecessary” ingredients, and the result is a buttery, crumbly, chewy, sweet and savory cookie packed with flavor, loaded with healthy ingredients — and they’re only 66 calories each!
The first step to creating these magic cookies is to make your own almond butter. You can definitely purchase an 8 oz. jar at the store and call it a day, but you’ll save money by making it yourself, and the flavor of freshly roasted almonds blended into a creamy butter right there in your own kitchen cannot be beaten.
Measure out 2 cups of raw (unsalted) almonds. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes. The almond skins will look a little darker and you’ll see the almond oils glistening on the surface of the nuts. While still warm, process the almonds (in a food processor or a really good blender) for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Don’t stop processing until you see a creamy butter form. If you stop too soon, you won’t get a full-flavored delicious butter because the oils won’t be completely released yet.
Look at that loveliness! Now it’s time to add the rest of your ingredients. For this recipe (which yields about 24 cookies), you’re using 1 egg, 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of vanilla bean paste. Simple!
Stir it all together in a bowl until a nice dough forms. I love the little flecks of vanilla bean and lemon zest throughout. This dough smells (and tastes) WONDERFUL — but try not to sample too much because the cookies are even better.
Scoop out 1-inch balls of dough and pat them down into circles. You can press them with a fork like you would for peanut butter cookies, but I like the look of flat patties better. These deserve their OWN trademark shape anyway… maybe I should invest in a little heart stamp (kidding kind of).
Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Don’t wait for the edges to turn golden brown because that means they’re over-baked. You’ll need to lift a cookie with a spatula to check the bottoms if you can’t trust your oven to handle the 9 minutes properly.
Now it’s time to enjoy a lemony, nutty, buttery, sweet and healthy cookie with a glass of cold almond milk! Three of these cookies and that glass of milk will cost you about 240 calories total. Ode to joy!
Wouldn’t these be perfect for a picnic? I love when there are legitimately healthy options at picnics! If you’re not an almond fan, you can substitute other nut butters easily. Experiment with flavor combos too! What healthy recipes are you loving right now? I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Gluten Free Lemon Almond Butter Cookies + Easy Homemade Almond Butter
Yields 24 cookies, 66 calories each
8 oz. homemade almond butter (or organic almond butter from the store)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Make the almond butter. Measure out 2 cups of raw unsalted almonds, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes. While the nuts are still warm, put them in a food processor or good blender, and blend for 5 minutes (scraping down the side as needed). Blend to a creamy butter, and scrape the butter into a bowl.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth and lump free.
3. Roll out 1 inch balls of dough, place them on a cookie sheet, and press them into circular patties.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes (until golden brown on the bottom), and let them cool on a wire rack.