Healthier & Eco-friendly: Home-made Cookies

They’re healthier than store-bought stuff, and better for the environment too.

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Every time I open a pack of store-bought biscuits or cookies, I feel guilty.
The list of ingredients read a mile long, most of them chemical agents that have no business to be in my food at all. But we can’t complain about it because that’s the price we pay when we purchase packaged and processed food.
And this was the motivation to start baking cookies at home.
Buying the occasional packet of yours or your child’s favourite biscuits or cookies is not a crime. It’s a treat, an indulgence that has its place. The problem begins only when it becomes an everyday food.
Most baked goodies that we purchase from a supermarket are not made from pure butter but from margarine, palm oil etc that are not just bad for our health, but also not sustainably sourced. So we end up harming our health and the environment when we
consume these in large amounts. Also these goodies contain a lot more sugar than necessary.
The first thing you realize when you bake cookies at home is that very few ingredients are actually needed to create these delicious treats. And above all, the choice of ingredients is
entirely yours – the kind of flour to use, amount of sugar or added ingredients like dry fruits, nuts etc.
These Date and Cashew nut Cookies are a favourite at my household: easy to make, simple ingredients and flavors we absolutely enjoy. Moreover it’s easy to make a large batch which means you need not be baking every week.

These cookies are made using a mixture of whole wheat flour and almond meal, sweetened with date puree and embedded with crushed cashew nuts. Avoid the nuts if your child’s school does not permit nuts in the lunchbox. Also feel free to replace cashew nuts with any other kind of nuts that you like; there’s no hard and fast rule.
This recipe is a no-brainer. So don’t be discouraged if you have never baked cookies before. I am sure you can pull this one off. But one of the common mistakes most beginners make is with the oven temperature. I find that a lot of recipes only mention the temperature and not the setting like conventional, fan-forced etc, which makes a difference.
If you have a fan-forced oven, then the temperature required is often less than that in a conventional oven. The temperature mentioned in this recipe is for a fan-forced oven so adjust as mentioned in the method if you are using a conventional oven.
This one’s definitely a keeper, a recipe you will be happy to re-visit many times.


Date and Cashew nut Cookies

INGREDIENTS
(Makes about 16-18 cookies)
½ cup dates (roughly 8-10 depending on size); de-seeded and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp cashew nuts; crushed/chopped and lightly toasted
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal
100 gms butter (room temperature)
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder

METHOD
In a pan, add the chopped dates and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or till the dates are completely softened and mashed to a puree consistency. Keep aside to cool.Lightly toast the cashew nuts and keep aside.
In a bowl, add the flour, almond meal and butter. Mix with your fingertips till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the cashew nuts, date puree, cocoa powder and sugar; knead
into a semi soft dough.
Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan-forced; 180°C if conventional).
Form small balls from the dough and lightly flatten on top to resemble circular discs.
Place in a tray lined with baking paper and bake till the cookies are crisp (takes about 20-25 minutes).
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.