Five Years Plus

{August 6, 2010}   Milk & Cookies

This week I decided to share something that brings me great joy, that’s right, milk and cookies. I venture to say that these recipes are about as healthy as you can get. Like many good things, they take a little time and organization to prepare.

Although I occasionally eat cheese and include a little yogurt with breakfast, I aim to keep the amount of dairy in my diet to a minimum. I also don’t drink soymilk, for reasons I outlined in Soytistics. Recently however, Special Breakfast has taken on a whole new look with the addition of home-made almond milk. My friend who grew up on a dairy farm marvels at how much it looks and feels like cow’s milk, so I figure that’s a pretty good endorsement. It has that slightly slippery, thick texture and tastes slightly sweet.

Almond Milk

  • 1½ cups almonds, soaked 8 hours and rinsed
  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 tsp non-alcoholic vanilla

Blend the soaked almonds and water; a high speed blender like a Vitamix works best. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. You will need to squeeze out much of the liquid by hand, as if milking the animal herself. Mix with coconut water and vanilla. This makes about five cups and will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to five days. It will separate with an almond cream layer on top, so stir before drinking. You can make almond milk without the coconut water, however this addition makes it simply wonderful.

I have to admit, I have abandoned hacking open the fresh coconuts for this purpose (as I described in Cream of the Crop) when one of my milk batches went sour after two days. I blamed the coconut water. I just don’t how fresh it was, as the coconuts are shipped from Thailand and then sit in the store before sitting in my fridge, awaiting the right moment to put it all together. I discovered some 100% pure coconut water that comes in a convenient 2 cup Tetra Pak. The seven month old coconuts are from northern Brazil, hmm, still not local but closer than Thailand.

Now you might be wondering what you do with the soft almond pulp that is left-over, or perhaps you are just waiting to hear about the cookies. I couldn’t bear to throw away the pulp, so I created some “cookie” recipes. They are raw, gluten free and nearly vegan. I use honey rather than agave nectar since the supposed health benefits of agave were brought under scrutiny earlier this year.

Chocolate Cookies

  • Pulp from 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup finely ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp alcohol free vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 16 drops liquid stevia
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Vanilla Cookies

  • Pulp from 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup finely ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 2 tsp alcohol free vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 16 drops liquid stevia
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped dried apricots (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Place ingredients in a small bowl, mix and then knead with your hand. Press and roll dough out on wax paper. Cut using 3 inch round cookie cutter or glass and transfer to dehydrator with thin spatula. Dehydrate for about 6 hours until dry, ensuring that the heat is no more than 108 degrees for a raw cookie. (If you don’t have a dehydrator or an oven that has this modern option, I think you could probably bake these at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.) Each recipe makes 24 lightly sweetened cookies.

One of the difficulties of transitioning to a healthier diet is the loss of treats. Using foods like almond milk and cookies in moderation can give us that sense of comfort we all enjoy at times.


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