Monday, June 23, 2014

Gluten-Free Hibiscus Jelly Cookies

Just recently, I read an article that discussed the health benefits of consuming flowers.  Maybe they didn’t mean you should eat your flowers in cookies or scones but…the thought of cooking with flowers seemed like a fun idea. 
 So this week, I challenged myself to make a gluten-free and sugar-free cookie that uses hibiscus as the floral element.  I hope you enjoy!

 You’ll need the following…
  Thumbprint Cookies:

 Makes about 15 cookies

 1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour

1/3 Cup Almond Meal 

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

3 tbsp Honey

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1 tbsp Ground Chia Seeds 

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

 In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot, almond meal, and coconut flour.  Set aside until needed
  In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer cream together ghee*, honey, applesauce, almond extract, and ground chia seeds.  I buy the milled ground chia seeds from Nutiva.

 *In case you are not familiar with Ghee, it is a type of clarified butter traditionally used in Indian cuisine and has a long history of being used medicinally in traditional Ayurveda medicine.

 Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
Roll the dough into balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Use your thumb to create an indentation in each cookie and fill it with the hibiscus jelly.

Hibiscus Jelly

1 Cup Hibiscus Flowers

1/3 Cup Water

2 tbsp Chia Seeds

¼ Cup Xylitol

2 ½ tsp Arrowroot Powder

1 tbsp Tapioca Starch
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the water and hibiscus flowers. Once brought to a boil, lower temperature medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  
 Allow to cool and strain out the hibiscus flowers so you are left with a hibiscus tea.  Then add the chia seeds to the flower water and set to the side for 30 minutes, which will allow the chia seeds to absorb some of the liquid and become gelatinous.

 In a coffee grinder, grind the xylitol to a fine powder and then add it to the chia/hibiscus combination. I have found that not all xylitols are made the same be sure to find birch tree sourced xylitol not only is it healthier for you than corn sourced, I also have found it grinds into a powder texture much better with no grittiness left unlike others I have tried.

 Stir in the arrowroot and tapioca starch.  Place on the stove over medium heat and stir the mixture continuously, slowly raising the heat until the mixture begins to thicken and develop a thick, gummy texture.
Remove from heat and spoon a small amount into the thumbprint indentations.
As another option, if you’d like to make this to use as an regular jelly instead of a filling, you can just eliminate the arrowroot and add in only the tapioca starch then cook it on a lower heat so it won't turn as gummy.

 Bake for approximately 15 minutes but watch them carefully after the first 10 minutes.

 Let cool, serve and enjoy!  Let us know how they turned out for you by leaving us a comment!

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