Make the most delicious vegan sandies with us!
This post comes from our contributor, Lexie Smith!
We learn a set of associations through our own personal histories. Growing up in the Northeast, October and November have come to signify a steady flow of rich umbers, colors and flavors like the leaves and the ground and the things that grow leaves and come from the ground. Squashes, apples, cinnamon and cloves — the ingredients that give us a warmth internally that have been silenced externally. I’ve grown to rely on the reemergence of these flavors as a sign that the weather is turning cold and damp, the days shorter, the air chillier. I’ve found, though, that these old friends are only partly comforting. They are of course warming in the most literal sense, and, come fall, the nostalgia attached does indeed feel like a sweater that I’ve worn year after year. But as someone who is dramatically sensitive to the passing of time and a decrease in daily hours of sunshine, this year I am rebelling from this accepted set of autumnal ingredients so as to soften the blow of the colder months.
With the acknowledgement that I will always crave sweets and treats that are warm, subtly sweet, and fill an emotional and physical need, I set out to create a cookie that would also celebrate the brighter parts of this time of year — the blinding reflection of the sun on snow, or the way the sky can look bluer at the cusp of autumn to winter than it ever did in the dead of summer. I also know that my body needs all the help it can get when the temperature drops (I blame my weak immune system on the fact that I’m a twin — I’m convinced it’s a result of sharing all the nutrients in the womb), so in addition to the pistachios and pepitas that lend these shortbread a bright green hue, I’ve included chlorella (a micro-algae) to enhance not only the color but the detoxifying properties of these gem-like cookies.
These turn out like shortbread but have a slightly crumblier, sandier texture and a flavor that is surprisingly whole and warm.
Emerald Sandies (Vegan)
Yield: 18-20 cookies
A note on ingredients:
*I use an organic refined variety of coconut oil which is opaque and firm but scoopable at room temp (about the texture of room temperature butter). If yours is quite melty, pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes before using. Coconut oil has a much lower melting point than butter, so working with efficiency is key, especially in the rolling stage. The dough will become wetter as you work with it.
*I have found chlorella at spice shops, health food stores, Indian markets and online. It’s around if you look for it!
½ cup + 1 tsp (105g) coconut oil
¼ cup + 1 tbsp (65g) granulated sugar
1 tsp chlorella, ground or granulated
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup (30g) pistachios, shelled and lightly toasted
¼ cup (35g) pepitas, lightly toasted
1 cup (150g) flour
½ tsp salt
Grind nuts and seeds in a food processor with 1 tbsp of the sugar until a coarse meal forms. Set aside.
Cream the coconut oil, the rest of the sugar, and the chlorella with a paddle attachment in a mixer. You can do this by hand as well — just beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and light. Beat in the vanilla.
Incorporate the ground nut and seed mixture. The batter should have a bright green hue and rough but homogeneous texture. Fold in the flour and salt and mix on low until everything is evenly incorporated.
Dump the dough out onto a piece of wax or parchment paper and gently shape into a small log.
Using the paper as a seal, roll the dough into a longer, smooth log, about 1.25” in diameter, tucking the paper inside lengthwise and creating a caterpillar-esque bundle. Twist the ends to condense the dough, as if you are wrapping up a candy. (See photos)
Refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you go longer than this, the dough will be too crumbly and hard to cut. While chilling, preheat the oven to 350F and grease or line a baking sheet.
Remove dough from fridge and cut into ¼” slices using a sharp knife. You should get 18 or so cookies, depending on the size of your log.
Place the cookies on your prepared baking sheet (they will not rise or spread while baking) and bake for 25 minutes, or until just golden on the bottom and smelling fragrant.
+We want to know your favorite vegan recipes! Tell us in the comments!