One of my goals over the week of Thanksgiving was to take some time off and “hit the refresh button” on my life. Since releasing my cookbook in September, this fall has been a string of exciting but tiring events that have left me weary and lacking inspiration lately. With a busy few weeks ahead, I’m eager to embrace the holiday season, but I knew going into last week that a weary spirit and fatigued body would not help.
Taking a break for a few days has done wonders for me! I spent my days reading, cooking, going to the gym, getting a headstart on Christmas cards and decorating, and planning for the new month. This break, short as it may have been, has reminded me of the importance of not taking life too seriously and of slowing down to enjoy each day I’m given.
Last week, I also rediscovered my enthusiasm for what I do every day. When you spend your days working on the same things week in and week out (for me, that would be recipe developing, writing, marketing, and networking), you can easily become single-focused and one-dimentional, losing sight of the bigger picture and getting so bogged down in the little details that you forget why you love what you do in the first place. Enthusiasm and passion slink away into the shadows. I’ve discovered recently that sometimes the best way to rekindle that enthusiasm is simply by giving your mind some “breathing room” and the freedom to wander away from the day-to-day.
After a few days of decompressing and relaxing, I quickly got the idea for these easy thumbprint Christmas cookies. They’re bite-sized, festive, and couldn’t be cuter. Pistachios are my latest ingredient obsession. Something about their vibrant green color paired with shades of red or purple just shouts Christmas. My little break led to quite a few other delicious holiday creations, too, which I’ll be sharing with you in the coming weeks…so stay tuned!
December Cooking Classes
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than cooking great gluten-free food? If you’re local to the Madison, Wisconsin area, join me for some fun classes in December.
- Gifts of Good Taste at Willy Street Co-op WEST on December 11 from 2-4 pm. Give the best gift of all this holiday season: delicious food! Learn how to make four incredible edible gifts for the food-lovers in your life. I’ll also share tips and ideas for festive packaging. The gifts: Spiced Maple Pecans, Dark Chocolate Brownie Balls, Cinnamon-Scented Granola, and Fragrant Mulling Sachets. $15 for owners, $25 for non-owners. Contact Willy Street to sign up.
- Gluten-Free Holiday Desserts at Willy Street Co-op EAST on December 15 from 6-8 pm. Savor the spirit of the season without gluten, dairy, or refined sugar. You’ll learn how to make three mouthwatering desserts loaded with flavor and holiday flair. On the menu: Flourless Pumpkin Raisin Cookies, Chocolate “Mousse” with Fresh Fruit, and Apple Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream. $15 for owners, $25 for non-owners. Contact Willy Street to sign up.
Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 16 cookies
For the cookies:
1 ¼ cups blanched almond flour
½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon dark maple syrup, preferably Grade B
1 large egg yolk
5-6 tablespoons fruit jam, preferably 100% fruit
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the almond flour, pistachios, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Process to form a meal. Add the grapeseed oil and maple syrup. Process until the mixture looks like damp sand. With the machine running, add the egg yolk and process until fully incorporated. (The mixture may form a ball of dough.)
Form the dough into 16 small balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, spacing 1 ½ – 2 inches apart. Press your thumb or finger into the center of each ball to create an indentation. If the edges split quite a bit when you press down, use your fingers to gently pinch them back together a form a “nest” for the jam.
Spoon ½ teaspoon jam into each cookie’s indentation. Top the jam with a few finely chopped pistachios. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until deeply golden brown. Cool completely before serving. (The cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.) Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Find more healthy recipes at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!