Perfect for a dinner party with friends, these gluten-free and vegan cookies have a soft and chewy center with a crisp exterior. And they're not just tasty: sesame tahini bulks up their protein and calcium counts.
I used coconut sugar in these cookies, which I like to use in most baking. It's low-glycemic with a GI of 35 (compare that to honey of 75, agave nectar of 30, pure maple syrup of 54, or sugar of 95).
Also called coconut palm sugar, coconut sugar is made from the dried sap of coconut palm blossom. The taste is mild with molasses undertones, and the flavor pairs well with most spices. Coconut sugar can be substituted for brown or white sugar 1 for 1 in baking.
Orange flavoring is different from orange extract; it's simply orange essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. It can be found in the baking section at your local health food store. I use Grade B pure maple syrup because it's less processed than Grade A, richer in nutrients, and cheaper, too!
Sesame-Orange Anise Gluten-Free Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
1 ½ cups brown rice flour, spooned and leveled
½ cup tapioca flour, spooned and leveled
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp anise seeds
1 cup sesame tahini
½ cup grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
½ cup Grade B maple syrup
½ cup coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, or maple sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp orange flavoring
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and anise.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the tahini, oil, maple syrup, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, and orange flavoring.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the dough thickens. Form dough into balls and place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Gently flatten with the bottom of an oiled drinking glass.
5. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve with spiced tea, such as this favorite from Yogi.
Tip: The cookies become soft after a day stored in an airtight container. Crisp them in an oven for a few minutes.
Ali Segersten and her husband started a nutrition business, Whole Life Nutrition, to assist people in achieving greater health through nutrition counseling, meal planning, cooking classes, and health food store tours. Their bestselling cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, has helped thousands of families eat a healthier, gluten-free diet. Ali started a gluten-free, whole foods recipe blog, Nourishing Meals, to share healthy, gluten-free meal ideas for families. Ali, Tom, and their four children live in Northwestern Washington and enjoy hiking in the mountains, gardening, yoga, and harvesting wild herbs and berries.