Viewing entries tagged
peanut butter

Virtuous Vegan Date & Peanut Butter Cookies


Virtuous Vegan Date & Peanut Butter Cookies


If I told you that a vegan, refined sugar-free, protein-rich, wheat-free, ancient-grain (and if you so desire, gluten-free) cookie existed, you’d think it was the stuff of myth and legend or, alternatively, something so disgusting that it couldn’t be deemed edible.

Well, it does exist.


After an overindulgent stay in NYC, I made these for my birthday. They aren’t overpoweringly sweet, and they aren’t going to be equivalent to the 500 calories a pop thick, fudgy cookies you see in bakeries. However, they are delicious in their own right, soft and just sweet enough. Plus, being vaguely healthy automatically entitles one to devour 5x the quantity. In fact, for a snack to be officially deemed a source of protein, it needs to contain 6g protein. Well, 3 of these cookies contain just that.


They are extremely quick to conjure up and would be good for that weak-point, late afternoon slump when you crave something sweet, and delicious, too, paired with a (vegan) ice cream for dessert, or even with a wedge of stilton and a dollop of pear compote if you’re going down the non-vegan route. If you want a slightly more savoury option, substitute the dates with figs as in the photos.


Ingredients (makes 20 medium cookies)

160g pitted medjool dates, roughly chopped (about 10) (if you want a more savoury cookie, substitute dates with figs, as per the photos)

4 tbsp orange juice

4 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp finely grated orange zest

80g smooth peanut butter

200g spelt flour (or gluten free flour)

½ tsp mixed spice

¼ tsp salt

baking tray lined with baking parchment

4-5cm round cookie cutter



1)    Pre-heat oven to 180°C

2)    Place the chopped dates, orange juice, water, vanilla extract and orange zest in a small pan over a medium/high heat and allow to come to a boil. Stir continuously for about 4/5 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the dates have turned into a thick, sticky pulp.

3)    Place the date mixture together with the peanut butter in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour in the spelt flour, mixed spice, and salt and pulse until it comes together to form a slightly sticky dough.

4)    Lightly flour a board and roll out the dough to a 0.5cm thickness. Stamp out cookies with the cutter and place on the baking tray. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until firm and slightly golden. Allow to cool, then devour.




Crunchy Spicy Tangy Thai Salad


Crunchy Spicy Tangy Thai Salad

At the centre of a party you have the brash, garishly dressed harpy in a spandex and lurex flesh-popping, bum-skirting bodycon dress. She’s swishing her long, over-straightened blonde hair in the hope that people, like magpies, will be drawn in by its glinting sheen. But she’s telling the story you’ve heard a hundred times.

The punchlines are obvious and overdone. It’s an opaque boast to show off her intellect and attractiveness. She’s hyperbolising, and the decibels are mounting, in order to suck more people in.

You draw near, but after a few superficial bites, you hit the bone. What appeared to be a sumptuous, resplendent, sticky chicken wing feast was just a scraggly bit of overhyped flesh, and you’re left with a sickly sweet taste, desperate for something more refreshing and with more interest.

That’s when you leave the centre of the room and go over to the quiet person in the corner: modestly dressed, elegant but not overstated, and initially slightly shy. But once you start talking, there’s no stopping - tantalising wit, layers of texture and depth, sweet enough but with refreshing zestiness that intrigues and keeps you going back for more. Guard this salad closely because when others' attention rapidly wanes they’ll be coming over here too. Food envy is not something to be treated lightly, so here’s the recipe:




Ingredients (serves 4)

3 tbsp (60g) smooth peanut butter (unsalted preferably)

4 1/2 tsp (45g) honey

4 1/2 tsp sesame oil

4 1/2 tsp soy sauce 

3 tbsp lime juice

15g finely grated fresh ginger 

1 medium sized garlic clove, crushed

(optional) 1 small Thai red chilli, very finely chopped


230g red cabbage (approx 1 quarter of a cabbage)

1 red pepper

130g cucumber

3 spring onions

100g beansprouts

60g roasted and salted peanuts, crushed + 10g extra for serving

25g coriander, roughly chopped + 5g extra for serving



  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth and emulsified.
  2. Finely slice the cabbage horizontally (so the average piece is about 4cm long). Remove the stalk and deseed the red pepper, then slice finely horizontally.
  3. Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and, with a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds. Then slice finely lengthways and then in half horizontally to create matchsticks.  Finely chop the spring onions.  Then in a large bowl mix together the cabbage, pepper, cucumber, spring onions, crushed peanuts & roughly chopped coriander.
  4. Pour the dressing over, and mix through. Scatter with extra crushed peanuts and then the chopped coriander, and serve.  If you are making in advance, prepare the salad ingredients and dressing separately, and pour the dressing on just before serving.



Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe


Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe


Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe Memories of countries and cities I’ve visited are strongly intertwined with my culinary experiences there.   Whenever I’m asked about my trip to Cuba, memories of the music, culture and politics, the beauty of the countryside, the cars, and the buildings are always drowned by the paddies of rice starch dotted with beans which faced me every meal time.  The lone cylinder of “Master Potato Crisps” (lesser Pringles), furry with dust, which commanded an entire shelf in an embargo-challenged grocery store emerged as a perverse highlight.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe


I will never be able mentally to separate Canada from the oozing, sticky-sweet clasp of a particular Toronto cinnamon bun (it may have been preceded by some, but its superiority has eradicated all past and future competition).  New York is always a complete sensory overload: last year I ate overtime to cram Lebanese, Thai, raw vegan, Chinese, Italian, modern European, American, French, Greek, Mexican, and Brazilian into five days - delicious and, arguably, gluttonous.  Yet, despite this mammoth accomplishment, one of the most outstanding of the culinary delights I’ve sampled there is something rather less exotic: the peanut butter cookie.  It may be humble in name, maybe in appearance too, but it is most certainly not humble in nature.  The source of this ambrosia is the well-established City Bakery, off Union Square, known best for its croissant pretzels, seductively viscous hot chocolate and, of course, its peanut butter cookies -crumbly on the outside and soft and chewy in the interior, with salty and sweet in fine-tuned balance creating an insatiable desire for more.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe

At brunch a couple of weekends ago, one of my friends confessed her current obsession: sneaking off to her kitchen cupboard armed with a bread stick to pair with that American favourite of jam and peanut butter.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe

The memory of the palate-coating, salty-sweetness of the City Bakery peanut butter cookies reasserted itself.  Over the next week it took up stubborn residence, so I made up my own.  They worked.  I know this because I made them twice: I left the first batch out to cool, exited the kitchen for 10 minutes, and when I returned, they were gone, my brother unabashedly dusting the last few crumbs off his sweater.  With family members temporarily banished from the kitchen, the second batch survived long enough to be photographed.  Although delicious on their own, I sandwiched mine with raspberry jam to offset the sweet salty nuttiness with a little tang. Julia D. you are to blame for this recipe (and it is, indeed, dedicated to you).

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe

Often cookie recipes frustratingly demand that the dough is chilled before baking.  These can be made, baked and eaten in 20 minutes - no torturous chilling necessary.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe

Ingredients (makes 34 individual cookies)

115g unsalted butter, at room temperature

190g granulated sugar

60g light brown sugar

¾ tsp salt

250g smooth peanut butter

1 large egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

140g white spelt flour (or plain flour)

150g raspberry jam (optional)

2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment




  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. In a mixer (or by hand), cream together butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Mix in peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract until fully combined.  Gently stir in the flour.
  3. In the palms of your hands, roll a tablespoon of the mixture at a time to form 4cm spheres. Space them out on the tray.  When the mixture is used up, gently press a fork into the spheres to flatten them and form a criss-cross pattern as pictured.
  4. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden and still soft to touch. Allow to cool slightly before sandwiching each pair together with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies - Recipe