Sunday, August 7, 2011

Raw Cashew and Apricot Cookies

Here we are again! Every month, I release an original recipe from a vintage cookbook, All Day Singin' And Dinner On The Ground, a junk store find, and we each update and remake it in our own creative ways. This time around, we embraced "Sorghum Molasses Cookies". Our rotating crew is immensely talented and diverse, as you'll see in the interpretations of this humble recipe by:  Dennis, Toni, Shumaila, Alex, Lora, Lindsay, Mari, Crissy and Lauren, Pola, Jamie, Claire, Shari, Joy, Monique, Linda, Priya, Rachel, Alli, Katy, Emily, Krissy, Jacqueline and Jaclyn. Visit the swap page for everyone's bios and please visit all of our blogs to let us all know what you think of our inventions!

I spent a week trying to come up with something that was a twist on a good ol' farmhouse cookie in the middle of a particularly aggressive personal training workout plan, with gym trips five to six days a week. Then, a funny thing happened last week: I lost my taste for wheat flour. As in, it tastes like dirt. This has happened before in periods of relative health, but it has never been sustained long enough to cause a departure for me and my previous flour-and-butter-and-wine-and-coffee-filled diet. The result: we, (my body and I) have developed a new, special relationship, filled with a series of demands, permissions and denials.  A typical conversation between my mind and body might be:

Body: So, uh, no more than a glass of wine a day now?
Mind: Yep.
Body: Okay that's cool. But don't you miss it?
Mind: Yep.
Body: Huh. Okay, the willpower domain is all you, Mind. Good luck with that.

Another example:

Body: Mind, if you try cutting off the caffeine supply again to me I will turn into Satan on wheels. I will wake you up in your sleep. I will make you feel like you have been stabbed in your nerve center. Do not test me on this again.
Mind: Holy #%$*, Body! Make the stabbing stop! Make it stop! I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!

Every once in a while, the stomach chimes in like a nine year-old left unattended in a grocery store.

Stomach: I'd like an ice cream cone with cookie dough ice cream, and a Snickers bar and some beef jerky and some purple Gatorade for dinner please.
Mind and Body: (in a rare moment of agreement) Uh, no. We'll be having brown rice, steamed vegetables and organic baked tofu for dinner instead.  If you're good, you can have a cookie for dessert.

Enter the raw cashew and apricot cookie.

Back in my New York days, I went on a raw food detox and spent three weeks eating 100% raw. I cannot say enough about how amazing it made me feel. I also can't say enough of why people should not shock their body with a vastly different diet than the one they were previously on. However, I had the energy of me, one decade earlier. My skin cleared up. By the time my weight normalized, about a week into it, my cravings for cotton candy-wrapped ice-cream shakes with mint chocolate fudge on top disappeared, replaced by honest cravings for fruits or sprouted beans or nuts. I found a raw cookie something like this one at a health food store and bought them like they were gold or batteries, and stuffed them in every bag, using them as shields against the coffee shop pastries that I was assaulted with on every street corner.

Somehow, being offered a cookie always solves a problem. Eating one is a treat, no matter how healthy, and it represents a little break in the day. This one is a little springy, and its flavor is tart and nutty-sweet, and that combination hits the spot for me every time.

Raw Cashew and Apricot Cookie

Makes 8-10 cookies

Time: about four hours
Active time: about 20 minutes

4" biscuit cutter or ring mold
Small food processor or blender
Baking sheet

1/2 cup chopped raw, unsulphured apricots
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 - 1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Agave syrup

In a small bowl, pour warm water (110 degrees) over apricots and cashews just to cover. Let stand for one hour. Lightly drain mixture, reserving liquid, and place into blender or food processor. Add spices and agave syrup to food processor. Adding one tablespoon of liquid at a time (I used 2 Tbsp) pulse and scrape sides of processor until both apricots and cashews are combined into a coarse, tacky blend.  Taste and adjust for sweetness if desired.

Preheat oven to 250F. Line a sheet pan with foil and using a ring mold, spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the ring mold on the foil and press flat with a spatula. Gently twist ring mold off of "cookie", place the mold onto foil about an inch away and repeat.  Place cookie sheet into oven and turn the heat OFF. Let sit for one hour. Remove cookies, turn heat back on to 250F, carefully flip the cookies, place a cashew nut in center of each cookie, and place back in the oven, turning heat off and let remain for another hour or until all sides are dry. Remove from oven, let come down to room temperature (if not already) and store between pieces of wax paper in an airtight container. Keeps for one week.


  1. You are an absolute inspiration Christianna! Now I know what exactly to do with the bag of raw cashews in my freezer :))

  2. Well, it looks like your body won out over your mind with this battle. So healthy, CM! And yet, they still look fantastic. As always, thanks for being the swap Queen. :)

  3. I have NEVER made a raw cookie before, and this looks like some incredible inspiration! Thanks! And as one who constantly has an internal conversation about that second glass of wine or second slice of PIE - thank you again for this recipe!

  4. The idea of making raw cookies is extremely intriguing. And your cookies look great!

  5. If during detoxification you can eat such goodies, I am on board! What a brilliant idea!! Love it! Absolutely love it!

  6. Hey! Thank goodness for airport wifi. Popping on to check out your post before being shuttled away. Love the cookie but more so the back story on the raw detox and your reaction to whole wheat flour. I think when we clear the diet decks for natural selection to settle out it's fascinating to see where our bodies take us. Fortunately mine is not taking me to the gym 5-6 days a week (dang girl). Keep me posted on your GF tendencies. Thanks as always for all the work to faciliate the swap!

  7. Hey, I did it! I made it to the swap!
    Can't wait to hear about your future with wheat flour. I've experienced something similar lately with all grains -- my usual granola breakfast has lost its place in my life, replaced with a raw food smoothie. I've not given up all gluten, but I'm definitely way down on consumption, it just tastes heavy and cumbersome. I've blamed it on the heat, but who knows.
    I'm filing away these cookies, I've made raw cookies only once before and loved them (but they were all for me, as my kids weren't fans).

  8. I have never made a raw cookie and this recipe inspires me. I've heard others say they feel amazing while on a raw diet. Thank you for hosting this fun swap. :)

  9. I love the idea of using raw cookies as shields against coffee shop pastries. So funny. Cashews and apricots are such a great combo!

  10. I just happened to discover a bag of unsulphured apricots in my cabinet the other day and wondered what the heck to do with i know!!

  11. Great idea and I can't wait to try these out. My mind has toyed with the idea of trying a raw food diet but I have to admit, it seems incredibly daunting. Perhaps your cookies will be my inspiration!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay positive!