My neighbors back in California are some of the sweetest people in the world. My family isn’t exactly very handy, so whenever our fence gets blown down or our gate has a hole, our neighbors are always nice enough to help out. And if I can’t ever find a job, my neighbor always says, half-seriously and half-jokingly, that he could always get me an entry-level job (aka bagging groceries) at Costco, where he used to be general manager. At least I know I have a back-up.
Two years ago, my neighbors, through the influence of their daughter, decided to try Forks over Knives. The premise of the movement is that most of the diseases that we face can be regulated or even reversed by controlling our diet. This basically means becoming vegan: no animal-based or processed foods. There’s a documentary about the movement, and people have constantly debated whether eliminating all animal-based products is healthy in the long-run or not. This recipe for nutty raspberry thumbprint cookies comes from the Forks over Knives cookbook.
For my neighbors, the new diet has been life-changing. They’re both cancer survivors and at first the change was difficult. But when I briefly went back home this past January, I saw that they had both dropped half their weight and looked at least five years younger. They admitted that the ingredients are expensive, and they had to buy new clothes because of the weight-loss, but they’ve never felt more energetic and healthy.
When I first read the recipe for these nutty raspberry thumbprint cookies, I was worried that they would be quite dry. Also, I feared that it would taste like an awful health bar rather than a cookie. The end result, though, was a moist cookie that satisfied my family’s sweet-tooth cravings without all the extra sugar. I didn’t want to go out and buy oat flour, so I just ground up some rolled oats in a food processor. My neighbor noted that the ground flax seeds are optional; he doesn’t always put them in when he makes them, but it adds texture.
I know quite a few people who became vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, as opposed to animal-rights reasons, and I can say that not a single one of them regrets the decision. Some of them are even semi-vegetarians or semi-vegan, and they’ve still managed to improve their health. Whether you’re thinking of making the switch or not, I’d highly recommend watching the Forks over Knives documentary. If anything, it’s thought-provoking, and the nutritional studies from China are interesting.
Nutty Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
From Forks over Knives – The Cookbook
Makes about 18 cookies
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- ½ cup dry sweetener (turbinado raw sugar)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups oat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam, or any other type of jam
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, use a strong fork to beat together the applesauce, almond butter, sweetener, and flaxseeds. Once relatively smooth, mix in the vanilla.
3. Add the oat flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Fold in the oats and walnuts.
4. Roll about 2 tablespoons of batter into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter until you have 18 balls. They can all fit on one sheet because they don’t spread much at all during baking. Moisten your thumb (or index finger) and make a deep indent in the center of each cookie. Place about ½ teaspoon of jam in each indentation.
5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.
6. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.