baked sweets

Butternut Pumpkin (Squash!) Molasses Loaf

Makes one 9×5 inch sized loaf

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour or half all-purpose & half regular ww)
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sub with light brown sugar)
1 1/4 tsps cinnamon
1/2 heaped tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Scant 1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp baking soda
Scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 cups butternut pumpkin/squash puree
6 tbsps melted coconut oil or neutral vegetable oil, such as cold-pressed canola or safflower oil
6 tbsps blackstrap molasses
2 pasture raised eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract


Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes, covering with aluminum foil part way through if the top begins to brown too much!

breakfast/ gluten free

Buckwheat Crepes

Serves 1-2; makes 6 small crepes

1/2 cup wholegrain buckwheat flour
1/2 cup & 1 tbsp water
1 pasture raised egg
Pinch or two of salt
1-2 tsps oil/butter for frying
1/2 tsp acai powder (optional, adds a little berry flavor)

Fruity filling:
1 cup wild blueberries
1/2 a medium-large apple, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 packed tsp finely grated orange zest

Topping ideas:
Shredded coconut
Hemp seeds
Crushed walnuts
Orange zest & freshly squeezed juice 
Generous drizzles of maple syrup
Fluffy whipped cream!

baked sweets

Coconut Sugar Butterscotch Blondies

It’s a beautifully sunny day and I feel so naturally high… to the point that, since I live in Portland (where marijuana is as legal as alcohol), I’m beginning to wonder if someone put something in my blondies. Portland is a notoriously grey, rainy city, so waking up to a blanket of bright blue sky feels a little surreal. Just to extinguish any lingering idea that these blondies contain mary jane- no, they (sadly) do not. They do, however, contain a bunch of wonderful ingredients that are perfectly legal in all parts of the world. It’s crucial that no one is left out from butterscotch blondie making! Heck, you can even replace the coconut sugar with light brown sugar if you feel so inclined (aka if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand or, understandably, don’t like it’s usually fatter price tag). I bought my coconut sugar in bulk on Amazon, so it worked out to be much, much cheaper than buying a measly bag at an expensive (though equally incredibly) grocery store like Whole Foods or New Seasons. I am a college student on a pretty tight budget, so buying in bulk is the only way I am able to satisfy my taste for less common, $$$ draining, baking ingredients.

I’m always left in awe by the huge array of healthy flours and sweeteners lining the shelves. It’s incredible (and a little overwhelming) to have so many choices. The only downside to that excitement is the extra digit that usually accompanies said novel ingredients. A 2 pound (32 oz) bag of light brown sugar costs $8.49 USD on Amazon, while the same sized bag of coconut sugar costs 10.44, and that was the absolute cheapest deal for coconut sugar; most bags cost around $10 for 1 pound (16 0z)! The countless hours I’ve spent perusing Amazon, comparing and contrasting brands, has led me to notice the under-appreciated existence of buying in bulk!! I can’t make allowances for $10 itty bitty bags of coconut sugar, but I am willing to spend $19.99 USD on a 5 pound bag of organic coconut sugar that will last me at least half a year! Of course, not everyone wants to bother with coconut sugar. I get it. I’m probably droning on about it and it’s not even that different from brown sugar. And, since I’m already on a role debasing it, compared to regular granulated sugar, it’s ‘health’ benefits honestly aren’t something to tout home about. Don’t buy into that nonsensical stuff about it being a superfood. Coconut sugar is not going to do super things for your body! Nonetheless, I think it can do some temporarily awesome things for you soul. I’m not even a particularly spiritual person, whatever that really means, yet I recognize (or rather, taste) the ethereal quality in home-baked goods. I grew up eating Christ’s body on Sundays, but now I much prefer blondies in all their buttery, sugary glory (in saying that, I don’t see why you couldn’t have both!) Amen to that??

Makes 8 blondies (in a standard 9×5 inch loaf pan)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or half regular whole wheat & half all-purpose)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup & 2 tbsps unsalted pasture raised butter, melted (but not scalding hot)
1 pasture raised egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maca powder (optional, provides a little more honeycomb flavor)
3/4 tsp baking powder
Scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2-3 oz bittersweet chocolate or about 1/3 heaped cup roughly chopped chunks (I enjoy 70% cacao)

Important note: these blondies were adapted from Claire Ptak’s Butterscotch Blondies recipe, as found in The Violet Bakery Cookbook! 


Bake at 325 F for 25-28 minutes, or until the blondies take on a deep golden-brown color but are still a little soft and fragile in the center; you definitely don’t want to dry these bad boys out! Allow the blondies to cool for a good 15 or so minutes until no longer super hot to the touch before slicing away 8 pieces : )
breakfast/ gluten free

Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes!

Serves 2

3/4 cup wholegrain buckwheat flour
1 medium spotty banana, mashed
1/2 cup & 2 tbsps milk of choice
1 pasture raised egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pure acai powder (optional, adds more berry flavor)

Berry compote:
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
3-4 tbsps fresh orange juice
Dash of cinnamon

For serving:
Generous drizzles of maple syrup
2 fat orange wedges (squeeze them over the pancakes!)
Freshly whipped cream~ simply add 1/8 vanilla extract to 1/4 cup heavy cream and whisk away!

My love for buckwheat pancakes was re-invigorated by The Almond Eater’s recent blood orange buckwheat pancakes recipe!



Salted Caramel Apple Challah French Toast

Oh yes, thick and fluffy french toast + salted caramel sauce. Swoon. This kind of breakfast jolts me out of bed in the morning. The alarm goes off at 5 AM and in a matter of seconds I am re-considering the point of everything. Questioning my new goal of waking up at 5 AM has been a daily occurrence. It takes zero effort to fall back into sleep; it’s still pitch black outside at 5, and the birds have not even started singing their songs… Why am I doing this to myself again? Remind me, please? Ah yes, productivity. But it’s not just about eagerly completing ‘things’ on my To-Do list before the clock strikes 8. It’s also about feeling grounded (or at least a little bit closer to that), in my self and purpose and goals, before it’s time to mingle with other people and go through the motions of my outside responsibilities. I have to write an essay, I have to get a head start on studying for a math quiz, but I also have to sit with myself and meditate and recollect my intentions and values. The latter part of those responsibilities is just as, if not more, important than the former part. Waking up at 5 AM gives me a chunk of time to allot to me and myself. I highly recommend it. Although, I will also admit that it is not always as poetic as it sounds. It’s been two weeks since I re-vamped my morning routine and I still struggle to keep up on some days. There are mornings when I have to tempt myself out of bed with the promise of french toast. The satisfaction of getting out of bed by 5:01 (more like 5:15) + the pleasure derived from the sight and scent and taste of almond crusted challah french toast drenched in salted coconut sugar caramel = a happy person who is more likely to be a joyful presence in the classroom, at work, and at home.

In saying all that, I also recognize that non-circumstantial happiness is an important thing to stay mindful of and work on cultivating. I’m not really sure how to truly do it… how to be happy in the face of impending doom or discomfort. I definitely don’t think the pleasure one’s palette receives from salted caramel sauce is somehow shallow or wrong. Maybe we ought to strive for a balance of pleasures. Isn’t it impossible to not get carried away by one’s senses and desires from time to time? That is the animal in us, isn’t it? The animal in me sometimes wants to take me out for a fancy almond milk cappuccino, and sometimes I enjoy listening to it (although my new weekly budget may have something different to say about that…)

There’s no denying that a good chocolate chip cookie is capable of making most people smile. I will proudly raise my hand to salute that statement. But I am also fascinated by the idea of remaining content, happy even, at the prospect of never eating a chocolate chip cookie again. Or any other sweet or savory baked good for that matter. That thought frightens me a little! A life without fudgy brownies and tart pies? Is that a life at all? Of course it is, right? To begin weighing the quality of my life based on how many brownies I get to eat sounds a little troubling, and yet, I think I get caught up in that silly method of judgement all the time. My state of mind and mood are always tied up in external things and circumstances. It’s fascinating to imagine a life less dictated by the external; what would it feel like to stop caring so much about what other people thought? What if, when I don’t get what I want, when I’m feeling lonely, and when it begins to rain on an already successfully shitty day, I could pause and not succumb to my regular dread and despair… what if I could talk to myself like I was my own friend, rather than always seek the fleeting comfort of food or the presence of another person to cheer me up and distract me from my original feeling.

I know, I’m also rolling my eyes at myself, because, obviously, that is a super hard, if not impossible, thing to do. Isn’t that why being a monk requires spending hours everyday simply meditating, in peace and quiet and solitude? How can an average, city-dwelling person like me ever cultivate even a pennies worth of deep, inner contentment?

There’s no doubt that life is pretty long, one can only hope, so why not try to cultivate some semblance of non-circumstantial contentment in the process? Surely the act of trying, of working that muscle day in and day out, can better the mind/heart/soul, right? Perhaps it will be no more than a soft whisper, reminding us to keep our chin up when we’re feeling ashamed and downtrodden or stay mindful when we’re bombarded with anxious thoughts, but with constancy on our minds (some of the time, at least), we may be able to sway ourselves away from the constant changes of appetite, style, desire, and god knows what else, that consumerism is always trying to shove down our throats. And don’t get me wrong, consumerism or capitalism or whatever else ism you can think of, are not solely to blame for our wish-washy, wavering states; we each have the agency to make ourselves conscious of the source of our unfulfilled and inconsistent desires (hint- maybe it’s us?)

There are lots of things to wake up to. There are definitely many things I am sleeping through and wary of without knowing it, but I suppose that’s part of the process of life: waking up to the truth, waking up to yourself, waking up to… challah french toast? At the moment, I’m only really certain about that last part. Maybe it’s time to take a break from the philosophical ramble and feed ourselves challah french toast!!!!

Serves 2

French toast:
4 thick slices of challah
2/3 cup milk of choice (although I wouldn’t recommend soy because of its strong flavor)
2 pasture raised eggs
1 heaped tsp honey (or other liquid sweetener of choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional!)
Dash of cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup blanched almond flour

Cinnamon Sugar Apples:
1 large red apple, thinly sliced and chopped (make sure it’s a sweet variety!)
1 tbsp unsalted pasture raised butter
2-3 tsps coconut sugar
2-3 tsps water (add if your apples are looking too dry)
1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon (perhaps a little less if using regular -cassia- cinnamon)

Salted caramel sauce: 
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup milk of choice (besides soy)
Scant 1/4 tsp kosher salt (if you’re sensitive to saltiness, start with a pinch or two and add to taste)

Optional topping: 
2-4 tbsps sliced/slivered blanched almonds

baked sweets/ breakfast

Wholegrain Raspberry Almond Scones

These scones are my attempt to love myself more. We bake delicious things for people we love and care about, so why not extend that practice to include ourselves? The past couple of weeks have not been out of the ordinary, and yet, I feel a sense of uneasiness moving along with me… it’s lurking beneath every thought or feeling I have and every action I carry out. At first, I responded to it with fear and sadness; is it general anxiety? Does it come out of no where, like a force of nature, or was it born from my lack of trust and knowing in myself? The questions can quickly stumble out of control; at some point or another, I have to remind myself that I am not a puzzle that can be put together perfectly or, for use of another helpful metaphor, I am not a box of self and soul that can simply be unpacked. Maybe there comes a time when the probing, no matter how well-intended and thoughtful, has to be put to a stop. And when the desperate search for answers ceases? Ah yes, I find myself stuck in an odd space that needs to be filled. But by what? Give me more to worry about! Give me something else to frantically dwell on and fear! I need my space to be occupied, even if it torments me!! 

It’s amazing putting those thoughts in words and laying bare the truth of the matter; I am not okay when alone with myself. Being alone means I have to confront myself, stripped of the distractions and embellishments of anxiety and perfectionism. What a funny feeling it is, to simply be with oneself. I am not each thought that appears, and stubbornly lingers, in my mind. I am something else… a something that I am still learning to befriend and trust… and that is okay. Yes, it is OKAY. Let the strange, happy tears flow, wonderful human, because it will soon be time to further foster that friendship by making some heart-hugging, wholesome scones. Let that stubborn bitch in your mind go. There is no room for him or her here. Scones need attention and care in order to grow (and, yes, some baking powder)… and coincidentally, so do you!

I rolled up my sleeves and thought, if I can cultivate these scones with a loving hand, I can do the same with my Self. Maybe I should start putting as much care into my well-being as I do into my baked goods. Maybe I should encourage myself to rise as though I am a ball of yeasty dough that has the potential to become the fluffiest goddamn cinnamon rolls around. Does that not make sense? We each have the potential to be the walking, breathing visions we have of ourselves, but we often forget that such potential requires our careful and conscious molding; those cinnamon rolls won’t conjure up out of thin air and march into your mouth and belly, you have to mix and knead and roll and form and cut them, and then, of course, you have to get to (excitedly) cover them in a blanket of sweet icing. It takes a lot of work and time to get to the finger-licking icing stage.

These scones don’t require any yeast, nor do they require more than 10-15 minutes of actual hands-on work. They simply require a pair of hands that are eager to create (and, before I go down another tangent, they also require a handful of no-fuss ingredients: whole wheat flour, almond flour, unsalted butter (pasture raised is the way to go!), almond butter, and, of course, raspberries, to name a handful). Perhaps if each of us anxious, eager bakers approached ourselves with the same excitement and patience that we approached baking, things would change for us in ways we had always envisioned they should, hoped they could, but never truly believed they would.

I often find it hard to maintain a clear sense of motivation from day to day; in baking, the motivation is obvious: I want a beautiful and (most crucially) tasty scone, so I go through the motions necessary to achieve that. Outside of the realm of baking, however, my default voice often reeks of cynicism and nihilism. I know I’m not special in this regard; don’t we all speak to ourselves that way about life? Not everyday, but many more days than we’d like. And don’t most of us still choose to carry on with life? Sometimes begrudgingly, but often eagerly, as though we have an unspoken hope for ourselves and future. That innate desire to see meaning in it all, even when that meaning can’t be articulated, gives me a lot of hope. It brings on the happy tears. I may have made a mess of my words up above, but if there’s one thing I’m trying to get at it, it’s that, I think, showing yourself love is, well, super important. Reminding yourself of your meaning, your life’s meaning, or you and your life’s potential meaning, might help lift you up. Make yourself a batch of scones, and share those scones with people you like (and maybe people you don’t like, too), but make them and enjoy them and remind yourself that you are just as capable of molding yourself and your life, little by little, day in and day out, one tsp of baking powder or one tbsp of coconut sugar at a time, into an all around better scone. And no pressure if you’re not a raspberry kind of person; like us, scones are versatile and wide-ranging in their qualities and tastes.

Makes 6 medium scones

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
2 tbsps coconut sugar or light brown sugar
3 tbsps unsalted pasture raised butter, cold and diced
1 heaping tbsp natural almond butter
3 tbsps milk of choice
1 pasture raised egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 tsp almond extract (a teeny bit goes a very long way!)
1 tsp baking powder
Scant 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 heaped cup fresh raspberries (rinsed and lightly patted dry)
For serving: generous swabs of almond butter and freshly whipped cream!


390 F for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and firmed up to the touch. Allow to cool for at least 10 or so minutes before serving!

gluten free/ mains

Spelt & Almond Flour Pesto Pizza

Makes two thin 12-inch long pizzas

1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup & 2-4 tbsps warm water (think baby-bottle warm)
1 heaping tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsps (4.7 g) instant yeast (a little over half a standard sachet)
Pinch or two of salt
2 tbsps cornmeal for the pan (not needed but recommended)

3 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated from a block; plus a little more for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsps pumpkin seeds
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt (or add to taste)
2-3 grinds of fresh black pepper

500 F, preheat 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the pan and dust it with cornmeal before adding the pizza bases!! Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is noticeably browned but not burnt!

baked sweets

Chewy Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are chewy. So very chewy. And a little salty. A salty cookie? Yes, a satisfyingly salty sweet cookie. And lets not forget the irreplaceable nutty flavor provided by wholegrain buckwheat flour. These cookies had me bursting at the metaphorical seams with happiness and excitement. I’ve made at least half a dozen batches of chocolate chip buckwheat cookies over the past 6 months, but never quite got got my hands on a cookie I was 100% satisfied with. Until now!! These cookies are packed with a soft goodness you can taste and chew, as well as another kind of goodness your gut will thank you for: FIBER.

Until recently, the gut was just another organ. It’s where chewed up food went before being shoved along into the far less glamorous parts of the body. I’m not about to talk about those parts, but I am about to jump on the gut bandwagon. You’ve probably noticed the influx of gut-friendly food items over the last few years; from fancy ass kombucha to overpriced sauerkraut to 100-billion-capsule probiotics, it seems like the gut is the hot new thing. I always try to approach new trends with a degree of skepticism, but in my quest to find out why everyone was suddenly touting their love of sour cabbage on social media, I ended up learning a lot about gut health.

Get this– there is hard evidence that there is a link between the gut and the brain and that the state of one’s gut microbiome can influence one’s mental well-being (1). Is all depression the result of poor diet? No, of course not. But could some people’s experiences of depression or anxiety be worsened or catalyzed by poor diet? That is what some groundbreaking new findings are suggesting (2). The gut ‘microbiome’ refers to the microscopic residents of the gut, also known as the good and bad bacteria that feed on the food we consume. Some people have overgrowths of bad bacteria, maybe because they’ve never recovered from long-term use of antibiotics or because they drink liters of soda everyday, while other people, interestingly enough, don’t seem to have that issue. I know that a healthy lifestyle and wagon full of organic kale won’t cure every ailment known to mankind. The emphasis here is on the possibility that it may cure some ailments, particularly those of the mind. The rise of obesity is no new story, but the increasing amount of individuals (particularly teenagers and young adults!) with anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other mental health issues is bewildering and puzzling. Should every teenage panic attack be viewed as a technology problem? Is social media ruining everyone’s life on it’s own accord or are nasty bacteria in the gut helping in the fight?

Obviously, the increasing prevalence of screens in an adolescent’s life ought not be conflated with the topic of the gut microbiome. Of course not. I suppose I was naturally inclined to bring up both weighty topics in the same paragraph because, well, they both weigh heavily on me. One (social media) is an issue that people seem much more ready to talk about, while the other (the gut) seems to reside in a more private sphere. Food is a highly sensitive topic, and maybe rightly so.. it is a ritual of sorts, preparing food for one’s loved one’s, and thus, attached to it is a great deal of baggage (i.e. tradition!) Nonetheless, sometimes the most sensitive topics are the most deserving of attention and spotlight. The intention of this post was to shine a light on the gut microbiome; it is awfully dark in there.

These cookies come in peace with the gut… sort of. The wholegrain buckwheat and spelt flour provide a lovely depth of flavor while also offering up a good dose of gut-friendly fiber. While the buckwheat obviously can’t be substituted for another flour (seeing as these are ‘buckwheat choco chip cookies’), the 1/2 cup of wholegrain spelt could probably be replaced with fine spelt or white whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat may be a tad too flavorful/dense, but then again, I haven’ tried it and can’t say for sure!)  While these cookies do contain significantly less sugar than most (1/2 cup brown rice syrup), sugar is (sadly) still sugar at the end of the day. And lots of sugar = happy bad bacteria. My solution to the former bad news? Share, share, and share!!

My special, dreamy place is definitely stocked with these chewy buckwheat cookies. Bland white flour is no where to be found. You have to climb to the top of a very pointy mountain, overlooking the clouds, in order to get to my secret dream place. You also have to be wearing a thick, chunky sweater. Comfort is key if you want to fully enjoy the cookie eating experience. Plus, it can get very windy at the top of this mountain.

Maybe it’s imperative that your dream place has wagons full of vanilla rice pudding or towers of macaroons or maybe it doesn’t have any sweet baked goods at all. Maybe you’re a little lost and found your way to my blog for some reason other than to find recipes for delicious wholegrain sweet things. Either way, you get the point. These cookies are on my list. I’m not trying to convince you to scribble them onto yours. I’m only trying to convey how truly delightful and special they are to me, with the intention of simply putting them out into the universe for anyone and everyone or no one at all.

Makes 12 large or 18 regular cookies 

3/4 cup wholegrain buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or honey for noticeably sweeter cookies, though I haven’t tried this substitute myself)
1/3 cup unsalted pasture raised butter, melted
2 tbsps unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
Two pinches of cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp kosher salt (plus a little more for sprinkling on top of the cookies)
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chips of choice (65-70% cacao)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts or a combination of varieties

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, until crisped up and sturdier around the edges but still a bit soft looking in the center. The cookies will be dotted with little pools of melted chocolate should you go the pan smacking route. Pretty divine looking, huh? You’ll want to allow the cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes on the pan and then another 10 minutes or so (or not) on a wire rack before digging in as they are fragile when fresh from the oven and need time to chill and get chewy!


gluten free/ vegan

Healthy Date & Oat Truffles

Makes 16 balls 

1 heaped cup dates (soaked for 10-15 min in hot water if not using gooey medjool dates)
3/4 cup rolled oats, blended into a fine flour (measured before blending)
1/2 cup walnuts or other nut of choice, ground or chopped until very fine (measured whole)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 heaped tbsps natural peanut butter (or any nut butter you fancy)
4 tsps chia seeds
4 tsps hulled hemp seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

For coating the balls:
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

baked sweets

Chewy Whole Wheat Gingersnap Cookies

I stumbled upon The Violet Bakery cookbook at the massive Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon. I went in with no desire to buy a cookbook (the internet is essentially one huge one anyway), but after pulling multiple baking books off the shelves only to find them boring and uninspiring, I magically grabbed ahold of Claire Ptak’s beautiful book. After a few moments of admiring the cover and flipping through the bright and clean pages, I was off to the cash register, book full of unknown recipes in tow and mind and body bubbling with excitement. I went home, plopped myself on a bed, and devoured the words and pictures in a couple of hours. I then proceeded to doze off into a nice little slumber and awoke with the urge to bake and bake and bake. Since my first day owning this book I’ve filled it with a thick wad of cute post-it notes; some shaped like butterflies, others like polar bears; it makes the recipe perusing experience all the more fun. One of the first recipes that had me head over heels in awe was the chewy gingersnap cookies. Molasses and ginger plus butter and dark sugar equals a divine revelation.

Ptak’s recipe calls for white flour and brown sugar, but I made my usual swap and used whole wheat flour and coconut sugar. Why whole wheat flour? Well, it’s packed with a whole lot more fiber and protein. And that means a whole lot more good stuff for your gut. I prefer using coconut sugar in place of most granulated sugars for less factual reasons; some people tout coconut sugar as a superfood or something worthy of consuming everyday, but I stay clear of that pseudoscience. Besides providing a hint of delicious butterscotch (which is honestly the main reason I purchased it), coconut sugar isn’t a whole lot better for you than brown sugar. Let me break it down in the most un-scientific way possible: brown sugar is a teeny bit more nutritious than refined white sugar (because of the molasses used to color it) and coconut sugar is a teeny bit more nutritious than brown sugar, so that leaves us with coconut sugar at the top of the granulated sugar food pyramid, but only by a teeny teeny bit.

Simply put, coconut sugar isn’t as processed as conventional white sugar, and thus, it isn’t stripped of its minerals and vitamins. Just as real maple syrup contains a bit of manganese per serving, coconut sugar contains zinc, iron, and calcium (1). Sure, using a sweetener that contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins is better than one that contains none at all, but that doesn’t mean you ought to start eating coconut sugar by the spoonful. Keep sugar low, always. However, when the chewy gingersnap cookies come a-calling, toss in the whole wheat flour and coconut sugar (or brown sugar!) and happily munch away. I don’t eat cookies because they are a health food; salad and roasted veggies reign supreme in that arena; cookies, on the other hand, reign in my heart and soul. Let’s keep it that way.

Makes 12 large or 16 medium cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar (plus more for rolling the cookies; or light brown sugar)
1/2 cup unsalted pasture raised butter
1/3 cup & 1 tbsp dark molasses
2 tsps ground ginger
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch or two of paprika
1 tsp baking soda
Scant 1/4 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 tsps boiling water