This Christmas, our family is doing an activity advent calendar. After dinner each evening, Little Handsome picks out a piece of paper from the day’s slot on the calendar and we do the Christmassy activity that is written on it. The papers have been altered and swapped many times since I threw this together the afternoon of Dec. 1, but no one would have ever known that.
One of the activities was to make Christmas cookies. Of course, I wanted them to be healthy. Within no time, I found a recipe for raw almond cranberry cookies here. I altered it, and ended up creating these chocolate cherry delights.
And delights they are. The only problem is that neither of my handsomes are fond of cherries. For Little Handsome, it’s a matter of lack of exposure, which I’ll be sure to correct should we ever live in a cherry-producing region again. Or maybe he was just expecting the taste of his usual raw oatmeal cookies, and the strong flavour was a bit of a shock. For Big Handsome, I don’t know what the problem is because he does eat cherry-flavoured candy (sigh).
Anyway, these cookies were too good to waste, so I took them to my colleagues at work. Everyone seemed to like them. Some raved, some said nothing, but no one spat it out. No, wait, one person did spit it out – she remembered after taking a bite that she was fasting that day. But I’m confident she would have liked it.
The cookies themselves are raw, but the chocolate drizzle isn’t. If you want a truly raw cookie, a chocolate syrup could be made with coconut oil, cacao and well, maybe that’s it. That’s something I’ll experiment with – another holiday.
We shaped our cookies into stars because we had a limited assortment of cutters to choose from. We started out using the gingerbread men cutters, but I thought people would be disappointed when they bit off the head and didn’t get any sense of the familiar gingerbread taste. Serendipitously, our neighbours brought us homemade gingerbread cookies as we were making these, so we ended up getting the best of both worlds!
The hardest part of this recipe is rolling out the dough. It’s not dough in the traditional sense. I urge you to take my advice, leave the rolling pin in the drawer, and just pat the dough flat with your hands before cutting the shapes. The second hardest part of this recipe for me was not eating all the dough right out of the food processor. I clearly have no problems with cherries!
Practically Raw Chocolate Cherry Cookies
1.5 c. almonds, soaked overnight
1 c. dates, pitted
1 c. dried cherries
1/3 c. dried coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder
Coconut oil or water as needed
Melted dark chocolate to drizzle
Instructions: Pulse almonds in food processor until reasonably finely chopped. Add dates, cherries, coconut and vanilla powder and process until the dough begins to form into a ball. If it is having trouble combining, add coconut oil or water, 1/2 tsp. at a time. Flatten out on a table and shape with cookie cutters, or form into balls. Refrigerate to set or dehydrate at 105F for 4-5 hours. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Enjoy!