There are times when I look at what is in the refrigerator and the pantry and feel utterly uninspired. Emphasis on the “un.”
It’s easy to get into a cooking rut, even if you really like cooking. A weekly CSA means that in my apartment, there are always root vegetables, but seriously how many times can you roast vegetables in olive oil, mix together a yogurt sauce and serve it for dinner? You get sick of it eventually (no really, after four nights in a row of this, you really do).
On the other hand, I rarely feel motivated to write down a list of ingredients and go shopping for things I need for a specific recipe. I cook and bake with what I have. It’s a choice reflective of both economics and time.
But when you live in an internet world where every single food blog seems to be coming up with a ridiculous concoction on a regular basis, things can get overwhelming. Which is when you force yourself to be creative with what you have.
“I will not go to the store,” was my mantra this week, encouraging myself to come up with a recipe using what I had on hand. And what did I have on hand? Carrots.
Last week the CSA carrots turned into carrot fritters (note: delicious) but this week I decided that they should get a sweeter deal.
I like recipes that are stupidly simple. I have a friend that once told me that she scans recipes and if they have more than five or six ingredients, she moves on. I couldn’t agree more. While there is a time and place for complicated cooking, it’s not on the everyday schedule. Nope, you need something you can whip together in a matter of minutes and get on with your life.
The other reason that I am prone to simple baking recipes is because I like something to go with my coffee. It’s a Swedish thing.
So the challenge to myself was making carrot cake cookies, but using almond butter. I can hear you wondering why I would ever pair those two together. Well, for two reasons:
1. See above explanation for overabundance of carrots.
2. I have a favorite recipe for peanut butter cookies that doesn’t involve much more than peanut butter and an egg. If it can be done with peanut butter, it can be done with almond butter, and I happened to have some in the pantry. Also, I really don’t think peanut butter and carrots goes together so well, although I am willing to be proved wrong.
The only place where this recipe gets moderately complicated is in the chocolate. There are times when I have no problem slowly melting chocolate and dipping things into it. And there are other times when I think to myself, “I have better things to do.” I will leave that cooking decision up to you, but I will say this: the chocolate on these cookies is really good.
Almond Butter Carrot Cake Cookies
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 120 grams) almond butter
2 medium sized carrots, finely grated (about 1 cup, 90 grams)
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces, 35 grams) raw hazelnuts, finely chopped (or go for walnuts… or whatever nuts you have on hand)
Zest of one small lemon
Dark chocolate for melting (about half to a full bar // 50 to 100 grams)
Preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C).
Whisk the egg until foamy, then add in the olive oil and whisk until olive oil is completely mixed in. Add in the honey and vanilla extract and whisk until well blended.
Add in the salt, spices, and almond butter, followed by the grated carrots, chopped hazelnuts and lemon zest.
Drop the batter in tablespoon scoops onto a greased baking sheet, or one with a silicone baking mat.
Bake at 375°F (180°C) for 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
If dipping in chocolate, slowly melt the chocolate using a double boiler method (ie a saucepan or metal bowl inside of a larger saucepan with hot water). Dip each cookie into the chocolate to cover half of the cookie. Place on waxed paper to cool.