When life takes away your chocolate

Dan has this really crazy notion that I am a picky eater.

“You don’t eat meat,” he says.”That means you are picky.”

“That’s only part of a food group,” I counter. Plus, there is one category of food that I will 100%, always, forever love: sweets!

For better or worse, whenever I think about “sweets” the first images that jump to mind are of warm chocolate chip cookies, fudge-rippled Moose Tracks ice cream or decadent brownies. Notice a common denominator? Yeah, well leave it to me to go ahead and give up chocolate for Lent.

What am I supposed to eat now?*

Just so Dan doesn’t get an excuse to say, “I told you so,” I knew I had to come up with something still sweet, non-chocolate and totally delicious to eat. After all, the saying goes, “When life takes away your chocolate, make lemon cookies,” right?

Lemon, Almond and Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies


  • 1/2 C almonds, divided
  • 1/2 C buttery spread
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 T milled flax seeds + 3 T water (alternatively, one egg)
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Zest of two small lemons
  • 2 t fresh lemon juice, about half of a lemon (zest the lemons first!)
  • ~3 T blueberry all-fruit spread


  • Mix the flax-seed meal with water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, pulse 1/4 C almonds for 30 seconds. Add in butter. Pulse for another 30-60 seconds, until butter and almonds are well combined. Add in the sugar and brown sugar. Steadily mix everything until smooth.

  • Pour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the flax mixture and almond essence to the sugar mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Stir one-third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Once that is fully combined, add and combine another one-third of the flour mixture. Then add and combine the final one-third.
  • Cover the large mixing bowl and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Note: At this point, you could bake tablespoon-sized simple lemon cookies for 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you want thumbprint cookies, keep going!

  • Finely chop the remaining 1/4 C almonds. Place chopped almonds in a small bowl.
  • Working with tablespoon-sized balls of dough, gently flatten the dough into thick discs. Roll the discs in the chopped almonds, so that all sides are covered.
  • Place the almond-covered dough on a greased baking sheet. Using your thumb, gently indent the center of each cookie. Scoop 1/4 t of blueberry jam into each indentation.
  • Bake cookies in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly firm.
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for two minutes, then move to a rack to finish cooling.

I love that this recipe essentially has two different types of cookies built into it. That way, if I get lazy partway through baking, I can go with the still mouth-watering, simple lemon cookies. Or, if I’m going for the home run, I can make the jam-filled, almond-covered ones.

It’s a win-win situation!

I am also really, really happy with how prevalent the lemon flavor is. In middle school, my friends and I even had a “lemon club” because we loved that flavor so much!

If you feel like being really thrifty with the leftover lemon, cut them up and toss the citrusy slices into a cold glass of water. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?

More than anything else, I am just glad to know there is hope — I can make it through Lent without chocolate!

In other news, I got a special delivery today…

My wedding shoes! I may or may not be wearing them now for “breaking in” purposes.

Question: What’s your favorite non-chocolate sweet?

I was actually inspired to make these cookies from a sinfully delicious lemon oatmeal cookie I had, like, two years ago. Yeah, it was that good.

*I do eat things other than sweets. Most of the time.


8 responses to “When life takes away your chocolate

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