Blame it on my hippie parents, but I've always loved carob. I'm not going so far as to say I prefer it over chocolate--but it's a seriously delicious alternative in many recipes. It's naturally slightly sweet, affording the option to reduce refined sugar, it's earthy in just the right way, and melds beautifully without overpowering other ingredients--the perfect suggestion to the eater that they are treating themselves. Oh, and cashew cream?? Don't even get me started--it's just pure, versatile mouth joy. —Molly Damon
about 35 cookies
Almond butter, no added sugar or salt (I prefer raw)
scant 1/4 cups
Sugar (I haven't tested with anything other than organic cane)
Pure vanilla extract
Dark chocolate (could be optional, I suppose, but why?)
Sweet Cashew Cream
Raw cashew pieces, soaked for several hours to soften
up to 1/2 cups
Non-dairy (or dairy, if you please) milk of choice
Pure, dark maple syrup or agave nectar
Mix together all cookies ingredients except for chocolate in a medium bowl until incorporated and batter is thick. Melt chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave and stir it evenly into you cookie dough. Chill in the fridge for about an hour to firm up. It's much easier to handle this way.
Pre-heat your oven to 325F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment. I would suggest trimming to fit the pan.
Once dough is chilled and less sticky, get to scoopin' and rollin'! Just do whatever size you want, although smaller is probably better for even cooking. I made balls about 3/4" and they produced cookies a bit larger than Oreos, which I thought was perfect. I periodically sprayed my hands and scooping device with canola to prevent sticking.
Place batter balls at least 1 1/2 inches apart on your sheet and cook for about 4 minutes until they start to lighten in color and puff up. I wanted flat cookies with no dome, so at this point I lightly encouraged them to be flat discs by pressing with the bottom of a shot glass (or just use your fingers). Pop them back in for another few minutes, then repeat the flattening process. Believe me, it's worth the extra effort, they look so cute! The total cooking time for the cookies was about 10-12 mins, but will vary depending on size, oven temp and how chewy you want them.
Cool on sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Drain and rinse your soaked cashews and transfer to either a high powered blender (Vitamix! How I wish!) or do as I did and use and immersion blender. It works fine, just takes a bit more time and elbow grease. I made the cream in a cocktail shaker- you will want to use something cylindrical to incorporate air, making it nice and fluffy.
Give it a whirl to break down the nuts as much as possible and then just add milk, sweetener, flavoring of choice and oil until it's smooth and thick, the consistency of frosting is ideal here. This took me a solid 10-15 min of whirling, scraping the sides, scraping the blade, whirling, etcetera. But in the end there were no nut chunks and it was shockingly smooth and creamy!
Once cookies are cool, put cashew cream into a large ziploc (or piping bag if you are fancy like that), push it all to one corner, twist the top where you will hold it and snip a small hole in the corner for piping.
Fill your cookies, doing your best to match up top and bottom size.
Store in the fridge for several days or freezer for several months. Room temp is not a great idea, as the cashew cream will break down.