Chocolate Snowball Cookies (Vegan, Grain-free)

December 03, 2015

I make a lot of cashew milk at home. I don't have an ultra fancy blender, so that means that every time I make milk, I end up with a pretty good amount of cashew pulp. If you have a vitamix or an equivalent blender, you don't end up with the leftover goodies. It's essentially the same thing as almond pulp, which can be substituted in this recipe. Because I have this leftover nut stuff coming out my ears, I've developed a few recipes for using it up. This has become a fast favourite. Graham loves these little cookies and I usually make a batch a week. Even my friend Ashley, whose hands you've seen before, likes these. She hates chocolate (so weird).

The original plan, several months ago, was to make a bliss ball kind of treat out of the leftover cashews. More like these than these. When the dough came together, though, it seemed like a cookie dough more than a protein ball. Into the oven! What came out was a pretty frickin good cookie. A cookie that's sugar free, grain free, and vegan to boot. If you've ever had chocolate timbits (hey there fellow Canadians!) they're reminiscent of those little donuts in texture. It's almost cake-y.

After a bunch of trials, I decided that these are winter cookies, and they should taste and look that way. I tried a vegan white chocolate dip, but it was no good. Rolling them in coconut makes them extra cute and tasty, and then you don't have to worry about making chocolate from scratch for a very simple, quick cookie. I've been able to cut down the ingredient list significantly after a whole bunch of trials, but still prefer the different spice combination in this recipe. You can use just cinnamon if you'd like, or even leave the spices out altogether. If you can, please try them with all the spices. It's good. Winter is the time for warm spices.

You can also make these with regular nut meal instead of pulp, and I've included directions for that below. These are dead simple, and everyone who's tried them has liked them.

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1 1/4 cup cashew pulp*
8 soft medjool dates*
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for rolling the cookies
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Toss all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until everything is fully incorporated, and a ball starts to form. Take the blade out and roll little balls of dough, about 3 cm wide.

Fill a small bowl with shredded coconut and coat the cookies in coconut before placing them on the baking tray a couple of centimetres apart.

Bake for 16-18 minutes. The coconut will just be starting to turn slightly golden at this point. Leave them on the tray for ten minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Once they're completely cool, store them in the refrigerator. They keep for about a week, and freeze well.

1. If you use nut meal instead of pulp, add a couple teaspoons of water as necessary to hold the dough together. I used three when I tested it.
2. You can use any nut pulp in place of the cashew, such as almond.
3. If your dates are quite dry, soak them for a couple hours beforehand.

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