Healthy Black Sesame Matcha Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)
It’s been a crazy month over here: I went to Arizona for mindbodygreen’s annual wellness conference, revitalize, and then went hiking in Utah with my dad. If you’ve never been to Zion National Park, it has one of the craziest hikes I’ve ever done, the Narrows. You rent water hiking boots with Neoprene socks (like what scuba suits are made of) and then walk THROUGH a river, going between ankle and chest deep, up the inside of a canyon. The walls of the canyon get closer together as you press forward, until you reach a part called Wall Street, where the sloped canyon walls are maybe 10 feet apart, and you’re in the middle, waist-deep in muddy river water. It’s an experience, to say the least (a slightly claustrophobic one), and it was one of those days steeped in adventure and the excitement of accomplishing the unknown. As my dad and I felt our way blindly through the river bed, tapping our feet to see where the ground was stable, helping each other up and over small waterfalls and rock clusters, I felt stimulated in a way that I rarely am in my Brooklyn day-to-day life.
And then I came back to New York, and back to the news. Houston. Puerto Rico. Las Vegas. It can feel bombarding sometimes, particularly when you’re fairly empathetic (I am) or suffer from anxiety (I do). The only thing I can say to you (and to me) is to please, please act. I know this is a wellness site, but I think the action required at this time in history is steeped in wellness. I wrote about this more on mindbodygreen, but here’s a little bit: “We eat wholesome, meditate, keep our bodies strong, and our minds able so that, when it is needed, we’re ready to jump into action, to change our world into the type of place that we’re proud to be inextricably interwoven with. And that moment is now.”
Whatever you think, whatever you feel is right, make it be KNOWN. Call your senators. I think a lot of anxiety stems from feeling out of control, and taking control over the few actions we can do is the direct antidote to that.
And with that, let’s get to some sweet things, since we could all use a little sweetness in our lives right now.
We eat with our eyes as much as our noses and mouths, which is why I love playing around with matcha as an ingredient: its stunning hue makes a vibrant addition to any table. These cookies have a lightly grassy, sweet flavor, with the perk of sesame seeds on top. But the texture—oh, the texture. They’re perfectly crispy on the outside, with that almost dough-like center that cedes to your teeth as you bite. They’re also literally the healthiest cookies on the planet: they’re packed with protein from the almond meal and the chia seeds, and they have that extra boost of mega-antioxidants from the matcha. They’re also vegan and gluten free. Once you make them, they’ll definitely be a staple.
I think these definitely taste best fresh from the oven, so make what you want to eat that day and store the rest of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
- 1 tablespoons chia seeds, ground to a fine powder in a coffee grinder
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1.5 cups almond meal or almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2.5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon powdered matcha (culinary grade is fine)
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- Mix together chia seeds and water to form a paste. Set aside. Mix together almond flour, sea salt, baking soda and matcha until well combined. Add maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and chia paste and mix well, using your hands to mush the mixture together until one homogenous texture. Transfer to fridge to rest while preheating oven to 325 degrees.
- After about 10 minutes, remove dough from oven and roll into small (about the size of a cherry) balls. Press them a bit flat, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet (you don't want them touching, but they don't really spread, so you can put them fairly close together). Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top, pressing down a bit into the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges and tops are just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes about 15 mini cookies.