Back in the day, my friend used to host a cookie exchange party every year. Everyone would bring about 40-50 cookies and the recipe printed out on an index card. Each person would get to take 2 of each type of cookie as well as the recipe for each cookie. It was an awesome party and it's something I miss doing each year. I am ecstatic to tell you all, however, that through December 24th, I will be hosting a virtual, vegan version of this cookie swap party, with tons of guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers. Keep checking back to see who brings what type of cookie!
In our daily lives, it is so easy to caught up in things on our to-do lists or something that happened last week (or last month or last year), that we forget about right now. We forget that at this very moment, none of that matters. We have all that we need at this very moment to live and breathe and be happy. We don't need to make things so complicated, we don't need all that extra "stuff." Shira, from In Pursuit of More, constantly reminds me that it's so much easier to live simply, and not only is it better for us, but when living with less, you actually gain more. Shira has even started her own non-profit organization, Not So Fast, which helps raise money to provide locally-grown food for less-privileged families, while also teaching the youth in these communities how to cook simple meals with this food. In other words, Shira is a beautifully inspirational woman. I am absolutely beside myself to have her here today, sharing one of her simple, yet mouth-watering recipes.
Aren't the holidays a wonderful time of year? I've got to say I was pretty psyched when Kristy invited me to join this cookie exchange - what a fabulous reason to head into the kitchen to veganize an all time family favorite of mine!
I should start this post with an admission though, and that is that I am guilty of forgetting how wonderful a fresh batch of home-baked cookies can turn a good day into a great one, or how the simple act of baking can relax us and bring so much joy to those who get to enjoy the results.
This recipe is a perfect example, as I have not eaten one of these little darlings in years. That was a serious shame.
Just the thought of making this recipe brought me right back to Christmas time in the family home. Memories of the scratched cookie tins that held these little bundles of love each year, and my mom's loving and generous energy every time she pulled another batch from the oven.
Love. That is what is in these.
I always thought they were complicated. But the truth is, they are dead simple to make and are incredibly forgiving.
This newly veganized version proved that old favorites can be re-made to fit our needs and desires of today, without sacrificing or losing anything. I simply replaced the butter & egg in the recipe with coconut butter & flax eggs and voila! Easy, cheap, and delicious. I am not letting this one get away again, not ever, and neither should you! They are just too special not to.
- (2) tbsp flax seeds
- (6) tbsp warm water
- (1/2) cup coconut butter, at room temperature
- (1/3) cup sugar
- (1/2) tsp vanilla extract
- (1/4) tsp salt
- (1) cup flour
- (1-1.5) cups walnuts, ground (or very finely chopped by hand)
- your favorite raspberry jam for filling the cookies, (about 1/3 cup)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Start by mixing the flax seeds and warm water in a blender and let sit for a few minutes while you tend to gathering the rest. Grind the walnuts to a medium grind (not too fine but not too coarse either) and set aside in a flat baking tray or rimmed serving plate.
- To mix the butter & sugar, simple cream the two together in a medium bowl and cut with a fork, working to get any lumps from the coconut butter out (obviously if you have an electric mixer this is easy work). If you are really adventurous, you can squish the lumps with your hands and cream the sugar & butter that way too. Mix the two until uniform and soft.
- After about 5 minutes of soaking together, blend the flax & water mixture until the seeds are well broken down and the mixture has formed a gooey, gelatinous texture. Scrape the mixture out (use a spatula to get it all out!) directly into the butter & sugar bowl and set the blender aside.
- *Alternatively if you are using ground flax seeds you can skip the blender step entirely and just stir the mixture after it sits for a few minutes.
- Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the flour and salt next and mix the dough together until uniform (your hands are the best tool for this).
- Next, roll the dough mixture into roughly 2 inch balls and then flatten gently. Push the cookies into the ground walnuts and allow both sides of the entire surface of the cookies to be enveloped in the crushed nuts. Feel free to gently push the nuts into the dough to get more in there.
- Place the cookies on a cookie sheet (no need to oil it beforehand) and with your hands, gently form the rim around the 'nest'. Once all the cookies are formed and ready, spoon (just a little) of the raspberry jam into each nest. Each cookie will hold about a scant tablespoon or so of jam.
- When all of the nests are lovingly filled, put the cookies in the pre-heated oven and bake for 12 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to rest on the pan for 3-5 minutes before gently moving to a cooling rack with a flipper.
Enjoy these beauties with a cold glass of your favorite milk or a hot cup of Rooibos tea.
I am so happy & grateful to have had this reason to bring them back, and again I must extend a huge thanks to Kristy for the gracious hosting of this cookie exchange, a fabulous idea! I am so looking forward to trying some of your favorites too 🙂
All this sharing reminds me of just why I love this time of year - thank you so very much for joining us and I can't wait to see what's next!
Yours in Less,
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to come back on Saturday to see who our next special guest is and what they bring to the party! Thank you so much, Shira, for sharing your mom's stunning treats!
A classic! Lovely photos, Shira.
Thanks Annie! xx
I know- these photos totally blew me away. I love the colors!
Please keep up the good work Shira & Kristy! I'm a big fan of simple meals especially when my schedule gets busy, so I'm looking forward to make this recipe. Thanks for this recipe and more power to "Not So Fast!"!
Thanks Richgail! So happy to have Kristy introduce you to NSF! Enjoy the cookies 🙂 !!
Thank you, Richgail! Shira is the best for simple recipes. 🙂
Awesome! I was totally going to do jam thumbprints but a little bird told me to do the brookies instead! Now I know why! These are so much more beautiful and original! Love this Shira and Kristy! xx
Isn't it great we didn't overlap? That would have been a HUGE shame anyway - we needed your brookies instead! xx
xoxo right back at you Somer! 🙂
Kristi you know what I love about your cookie swap, not only awesome cookies, but I am introduced to bloggers I haven't noticed before =)
Happy to have you find me Michelle! 🙂
Thank YOU, Michelle! That's one of my favorite parts too- sharing some of my favorites with my readers. 🙂
Yep! This recipe sounds perfect! Thanks, Shira, for sharing a little bit of your Grandma's recipe book with us. And thanks for introducing me to a great blog.
Awww, thank you John! 🙂
Oh, these sound so inviting and the raspberry jam adds such a bright splash of color!
I can totally see why these are mandatory for holiday celebrations. 🙂
these cookies are so beautiful and i bet they melt in the mouth. we dint have many sweet cookies growing up. There were a lot more savory options for snacking. But every few weeks mom would pick up some Jam cookies or fruit short breads and we would eat the whole batch within minutes:)
Ha! We never had these sorts of cookies in our house, but I had a friend whose mom always made them. They were so good!
jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur
I've always been a fan of this type of jam-filled cookie. They're just so satisfying, and always remind me of when I was younger. I'd always have to separate the jam from the cookie part before I ate it! I love your use of coconut butter here, I'll have to give it a try!
Thanks Jodye - the coconut butter was a natural substitute - it worked perfectly!
Haha! I love that- I used to eat candy bars or peanut butter cups like that, trying to separate the chocolate from the rest of the candy before eating it. I was such a weirdo!
Yummy! These are my favourite holiday cookies too. My mom and I will be making a huge batch on Sunday. I love this vegan version!
I love that you and your mom bake cookies together! That just totally warms my heart! 🙂
Gabby @ the veggie nook
I looove revamping old family favourites! I'll be doing the same thing for this cookie exchange in fact 🙂
I love cookies filled with jam and I love how healthy these are. just awesome shira!
Thanks Gabby! XO Looking forward to yours!
I can't wait to see your cookies, Gabby! 🙂
These both look AND sound amazing!
I totally agree. 🙂
Two of my favorite bloggers! Love these cookies - this type of cookie reminds me of the Holidays, I have never heard them referred to as Birds Nest Cookies - such an adorable name!
Awwww, Heather. You just gave me the warm fuzzies. 🙂
These look fabulous and your pictures truly are beautiful. Makes me want to make these as a January celebration!
I think you should! 🙂