I DO seem to be harping on about food rather a lot at the moment, but that’s because we really are coming up with some great healthy dishes and snacks. This morning’s little treat from my very own personal chef (yes, yes, I’m a lucky girl, I know) was Peanut Butter Cookies made with spelt flour. Now before you start screaming calories, sugar and fat I just want to point out that these little gems contain none of the above. Well, there is some fat of course, but it’s the healthy kind and I did lie a little about no calories, but we all need energy and these will definitely give you a nice little morning boost.
So, what’s so special about these? Well, although the humble peanut gets a lot of bad press for not quite living up to its nutritious distant cousin’s (almonds or walnuts) reputation, it still has a place in a healthy diet. Peanuts are technically a legume rather than a nut because they grow under the ground and not on trees. Studies have shown eating peanuts can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease without promoting weight gain. Researchers found regular peanut consumption lowers triglyceride levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, by as much as 24 percent, and study participants had no significant change in body weight.
As peanuts are high in fat they are often viewed as unhealthy, but as researchers point out, they contain healthy fats that can contribute to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Along with monounsaturated fatty acids, peanuts also contain magnesium, folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine and fibre, all of which have cardiovascular disease risk-reducing properties.
There are few pitfalls here though. Peanuts are often heavily sprayed with pesticides so buying organic really is better in this case. Some of the cheaper peanut butters can contain a carcinogenic mould called an aflatoxin. But if you stick to good quality, non-hydrogenated, organic brands you should be fine.
Spelt Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes around 24 cookies
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Handful of sesame and pumpkin seeds
Pre heat your oven to 350F. Mix one and half cups of spelt flour, the baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter, tahini, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the flour mix and fold together until combined – try not to over-work the dough. If it is too loose, add some more flour. Place heaped tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets and press down on each one gently with the back of a fork or press into biscuit shapes using your fingers. Sprinkle with a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds. It’s a loose batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes, don’t over-bake or they will be dry. Let them cool for few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Adapted from the Green Kitchen
- Peanut Butter Lovers Rejoice: 5 Tasty Recipes to Try (news.health.com)
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- Peanut butter and honey cookies (sarahbautista.wordpress.com)
- Go nuts for National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (miamiherald.com)