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.