(Photo: Jaime Hall)
The ultimate cookie is crispy on the outside with a satisfying chew on the inside. This gluten-free delight mixes two popular flours: mesquite and almond. Naturally sweet and nutty, mesquite is considered a superfood, and better yet, grows all over Tucson. Easy to use in baked goods, mesquite has grown to be a popular flour and if you collect pods, you can join Desert Harvesters and mill bags full at Tucson’s annual milling fiesta for a fraction of the cost mesquite flour sells for in stores.
There are many options of sweeteners to use these days. Replacing sugar with whole food ingredients, like maple syrup, can be a great adventure. Maple syrup is an ideal substitute since it’s about three times sweeter than sugar, it has less calories and is lower on the glycemic index.
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And, what better way to enjoy a cookie than to generously spread “cream” filling atop! Easy to whip up in less than ten minutes, this “cream cheese” filling is, without a doubt, the highlight of these delicious cookies. Add a distinct twist to the cream with bright colored cactus fruit. Another common local delicacy, prickly pear fruit can be used in everything from salad dressing to birthday cake. The bright colors of cactus fruit also make it a great food coloring dye. After your first bite into this over-sized creamy filled cookie, its easy to forget that two native, super food ingredients were used. Known for its high protein content and ability to regulate blood sugar, these cookies are can be classified health food status.
Many thanks to San Xavier Co-op Farm and AZ Date Co. for providing the local ingredients used.
Baking is not for everyone and if a sweet treat is what you need, pronto, seek local establishments, Small Planet Bakery and Whyld Ass for creative and delicious desserts. They both proudly prioritize local, organic and GMO-Free ingredients and their baked goods can be found at farmers markets and the Food Conspiracy Co-op.
- 1 cup mesquite flour*
- 1 cup almond flour*
- 1/4 cup coconut oil*
- 1/2 cup almond milk*
- 1/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1 tsp vanilla*
- 1 flax meal egg*
Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients and stir. Add moist ingredients and blend well. Form cookie batter into balls and flatten on oiled, cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until darkened. Allow to cool.
Prickly Pear Fruit Syrup
- 3 prickly pear fruit bulbs*
- 2 pitted dates, soaked*
- 1 cup water
Add all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes. Blend into liquid and allow to cool.
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Prickly Pear “Cream Cheeze” Filling
- 1 cup powdered sugar*
- 1/2 cup whipped earth balance butter*
- 1 tbsp prickly pear syrup*
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla*
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice*
Mix all ingredients on high until smooth and creamy. Fill cookies and serve.
* Indicates organically grown