What should the first recipe back be after so many months of let's just call it maternity leave? The pressure is so high! So let's start with a summery cookie with the refreshing flavor of lemon. I actually made a huge batch of these just before I went into labor and they gave me energy during and after birth. I was so happy to return home to them waiting for me in the fridge, as they are refreshing but filling. The cornmeal and chickpea flour may be an acquired taste for some. I think you will love it if you give it a try! If you can’t find chickpea flour, brown rice flour or oat flour could be good substitutes. You may need to play around with the amount though, it case the dough is too wet.
Xanthan gum is often used in gluten free baking to mimic what gluten usually does in dough products: stick the ingredients together. Without gluten in your dough, you will usually find gluten free products crumbly and dry. If you can’t find xanthan gum, go ahead and make the cookies without it. Just expect the texture to be slightly more crumbly. Xanthan gum is now widely available in baking and spice sections. While I am not a fan of using this on a daily basis (why do I want gum rather than gluten sticking together my gut?!), I think it’s absolutely fine to use once in a while when I do bake.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes about 12 cookies (1 dozen):
½ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg
½ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup corn or potato starch
¼ cup chickpea flour (or more cornmeal)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp xanthan gum
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 160ºC/ 320º and line a baking tray with baking paper.
First, mix all the wet ingredients together either whisking them by hand or placing them in the food processor. This takes about 2 minutes until you have a creamy, caramel like texture.
Now fold in the dry ingredients until well combined. Don’t over stir.
Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time on the baking paper. Make sure to keep enough space between each cookie, as they will spread while baking!
Put the cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. They should be slightly crisp on the outside and still soft on the inside, otherwise pop them back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
Let them cool for at least 10 minutes so they become a bit more firm. Then go ahead and enjoy them, they taste best when still slightly warm!
Bonus note: As you may know, conventional lemons are waxed to keep them looking fresh and nice for longer. This wax also encloses all pesticides in the lemon peel. Only washing a lemon will not remove this layer. I know that while living in Asia it was impossible to come by organic, unwaxed lemons. Here is a simple trick that will let you use lemons zest safely: drizzle a bit of oil on a paper towel and rub the lemon all over. Then soak the lemon in hot water with 1 Tbsp vinegar for at least 5 minutes. Scrub the lemon with a vegetable brush or sponge and rinse off well.