You know, I’ve made peace with my oven-less kitchen. I actually enjoy the challenge to work around it and come up with ways to prep typical “fresh out of the oven” dishes without one with the same delicious outcomes. As I’ve mentioned before, the one thing I was sad to let go when I moved into this house was cookies – or to be precise, the Yuletide/Christmas related gang of cookies and treats that used to be a big deal in my grandma’s kitchen.
Sure, that one started the whole “Homemade Box of Chocolates Experience” that’s been going on in my kitchen ever since, but I never stopped craving the occasional cookie, christmasy or otherwise. The problem with that is the slim pickings situation in the choices we’re facing in that regard over here. Storebought ones just aren’t the same and the ones bakeries try to sell off as their finest these days are… just as sad in comparison with the real deal. I did find an artisan bakery that somehow manages to pack the entire contents of at least 2 large chocolate trucks into one single regular-sized cookie on a semi-regular basis, but – to me, at least – on most days there is actually such a thing as “overkill” when it comes to chocolate. When it comes to cookies, I’ve always been the oatmeal- or fruity-cookie kind of gal as my favorite Culinary Guild keeps reminding me with recipes like these:
And then, one glorious Monday, the cap fell off a bottle of Maple Syrup and its contents did very interesting things to the bowl of granola I was trying to sweeten up a bit. Playtime~! A couple of rounds with chocolate, caramel and a few hints from a friend and ta~daah! Caramelled, almond-floured and oat-speckled, I emerged from my kitchen with a base-recipe for no-bake cookies at the ready! And here’s the first spin-off from that particularly satisfying experiment experience~!
The No-Bake Strawberry & White Chocolate Chip Cookies
300g Soft Rolled Oats
300g Light Muscovado
100g Coconutflower Sugar
175g Almond Butter
125g Salted Butter, diced into manageable cubes
100g Dried or Candied Strawberries
Alt: Dried Black Cherries, Cranberries, Blueberries or a mix of all of those – I recommend replacing the white with dark chocolate in that case, it makes for a fantastic contrast.
75g Blanched Almonds, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
125ml Almond Milk
125g White Chocolate Drops or freshly cut Chunks
25g White Chocolate, finely grated
½ Tsp Tonka Bean, finely ground
Sea Salt Flakes for the tray
1) Once the mixture is ready, you’ll have to work fast, so prepare a large baking tray – maybe two, just in case – by lining them with baking parchment. Stash them away in easy reach but out of harm’s way.
2) Place a large pot on low heat and add the muscovado, coconutflower sugar and butter (the regular one, not the almond butter).
3) Slowly stir the lot as the butter and sugar melt into each other.
4) Once this sort-of caramel stops giving off the scrapy sound of sugar grains being moved through the pot, turn the heat up to medium.
5) Keep stirring as the mixture works up a low boil.
6) As soon as the contents of your pot are truly at the boiling stage, grab a timer and leave it to its business for 1 minute before sliding the pot off the heat right away.
7) Keep at it with your spoon for 30 seconds longer to smooth out the still.rising bubbles, then add the almond butter, grated chocolate and tonka bean.
8) Stir until the new additions are very well incorporated into the mix before folding in the oats, nuts and dried fruit.
9) Once the “dough” is well combined and everything is coated in the chocolatey caramel, fold in the chocolate drops to nail the dot on that particular i~
10) Grab the trays you’ve prepped earlier and drop the mixture, as evenly spaced as possible, onto them in heaped tablespoon-fuls.
11) Depending on the current temperature of the dough, you might have to helm them along settling into smooth/round/flat/cookie’esque shaped if you’ve missed the perfect timing for the drop-off. Be careful if that’s the case and snap on a pair of CSI gloves first to prevent potentially hot sugary stuff sticking to your skin and refusing to come off quick enough to avoid serious sugar-burns.
12) Set the trays aside in a cool spot once you’re satisfied and allow the lot to cool off and set for 45-60 mins.
13) Transfer them into an airtight container or cookie box.
14) Theoretically they’ll stay fresh and delicious for about 3 weeks. Good luck trying to avoid/hide/defend the box for that long~