If you’re not following Girl Gone Crunchy on Facebook, “dishonor on you and dishonor on your cow.” If you are following Girl Gone Crunchy on Facebook, you know that a few weeks ago I asked you all to guess what was in my newly created Mulan cookies. The guesses included rice and Chinese people *shudder*. I can happily inform you that no Chinese people were harmed in the making of these cookies. The key ingredients are dried tart cherries, walnuts, and coconut. You’re probably a little confused, as none of these items are inherently associated with China or Chinese cuisine. To understand my logic, you have to know one thing about me: I am utterly and irrevocably in love with all things Disney. Little details from Disney films always seem to find a way to stick in my mind. These “things” include one of the first scenes in the 1998 film, Mulan. Mulan had completely destroyed her chances of receiving a husband from the local matchmaker, and saw herself as incapable of “bringing her family honor.” She was sitting in a field of cherry blossoms with her father. It is in this scene that Fa Zhou, Mulan’s father truly begins to understand his free spirited daughter. He reveals this to her in his short, simple quip regarding the surrounding cherry blossoms. “This blossom is late, I bet when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.” Thus, cherries, in my mind, will forever be associated with Mulan.
“Let’s get down to business,” and discuss the health of these Mulans. They’re gluten/grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo, and diabetic friendly. These cookies work well, not only as a dessert, but as a meal replacement or between meal snack.
The three key ingredients of these Mulan cookies are loaded with health benefits:
Dried Tart Cherries
-Filled with antioxidants
-High in melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone
-High in Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the growth of new cells, is a key component of beautiful skin, and is vital for wound healing.
–Will make you swift as the coursing river
-High in protein and fiber
-High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
-A good source of vitamin E, an immunity boosting vitamin that also benefits the eyes and general brain function
-High in Biotin, the hair/skin/nails vitamin
–Will give you the force of the great typhoon and strength of the raging fire
-High in protein and fiber
-A good source of iron, which is essential to the production of hemoglobin and can prevent overall malaise (weakness/fatigue)
– A good source of zinc, an immunity booster
–Will make you mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
The benefits of these main ingredients, along with those of almond flour, coconut oil, and honey make Mulans well-rounded in their nutrition. Invest in your health, treat yourself, and bake these cookies.
3 cups of finely blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
(heaping) ¼ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup of dried tart cherries
½ cup of walnut baking pieces or chopped walnuts
½ cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut (chopped)*
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together almond flour, baking soda and salt. Fold in cherries, walnuts, and coconut.
Place honey and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 20-30 seconds. Take out of microwave and gently stir until the white of the coconut oil is no longer visible. Add in coconut and vanilla extracts. When slightly cooled (the stirring should create this affect), whisk in the egg.
Once thoroughly combined, add the liquid mixture into the dry. Fold vigorously with a spatula. (You may need to use your hands toward the end to ensure the liquid and dry ingredients are properly intermixed.)
Place balls of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with palm. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your cookies. With a gas oven and medium-large cookies, my “magic number” was 14.
*To chop, I placed my shredded coconut in a bowl and simply used scissors to create somewhat even, small pieces of shredded coconut.