It has undoubtedly been some time since I’ve written. Summer was busy (and so hot…) and frankly I just didn’t do much cooking or baking (or at least nothing worth writing about). Now that the weather has started to change (no more days in the triple digits! Hopefully…) I’m starting to feel inspired again to head back out to my garden and spend more time experimenting in the kitchen. It’s nice knowing that turning on the oven isn’t going to send my air conditioning bill skyrocketing – or make the house a sauna…
Over this past weekend Kirk and I went to Native Seeds/Search and I bought a set of “winter garden” seeds for the low desert. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll spend some time in the garden cleaning out the remnants of my summer garden and sowing the seeds for winter.
In the meantime, I’ve also started experimenting with recipes for “alternative” diets. Over the summer I set a goal of losing some weight. Although I’m not yet at my goal weight, I’ve been successful in that nearly every week since June, I’ve lost a little bit of weight. At this point, I’ve lost about 18lbs, and I’d still like to drop about 10 more. I didn’t really diet – I just made some small changes to portion sizes, started making healthier choices, and I haven’t been indulging quite as much. So, although it’s been slow-going, it feels healthy and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
One of the items that I’ve been cutting back on has been bread and pasta. That’s not to say I’m no longer eating bread or pasta (because I certainly do…), but I’m starting to look into ways I can reduce that – maybe consume more foods that aren’t so hard on my body. I don’t support any one particular diet, but I have started experimenting with using alternative flours for baking. The one that I’ve had some success with so far has been almond flour. I recently bought a book at Antigone Bookstore (in downtown Tucson) that’s completely focused on cooking and baking with almond flour. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook (by Elana Amsterdam, who has a blog here) is really pretty great. Almond flour is delicious – it’s nutty and rich and makes you feel like you’re indulging in a big way, even though you’re not really. It’s full of fiber and protein, and low in carbs (compared to wheat flour). It’s also much higher in various nutrients like potassium, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, and iron. Overall, I’ve been surprisingly impressed with it. I’ve never really been a “health food person” (or someone who tries alternatives like this), but I’m glad I’m getting more adventurous.
The recipe I want to share today comes from this book, and it’s for Chocolate Chip Scones. Initially, I wasn’t sure how these would turn out, but they are delicious. I used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, although the author suggests that there are other brands that are more more finely ground – and that those usually work better. It’s on my list to try, but for now I used what I had in my pantry.
Chocolate Chip Almond Scones (makes 16-18 smallish scones)
- 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup light agave nectar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I actually used some leftover hershey’s mini chips that I had in the freezer)
- Prehead your over to 350F.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (like silpat)
- In a bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and egss.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Fold in the chocolate.
- Using a medium-sized cookie dough scoop (the author uses a 1/4 cup measure), drop the dough onto the cookie sheets1-2 inches apart.
- Bake for about 15 minutes (give or take a minute or two) – until a tested comes out clean.
- Let the scones cool for 30 minutes, and then serve!
When I ate one of these Sunday night fresh out of the oven, I thought I was going to eat an entire cookie sheet of them. They really are delicious. Kirk was also pleasantly surprised. So in the end this one is going into the recipe box and I’m sure it will make a repeat appearance in our house.