Saskatoon Juice – and How to Clean Your Saskatoon Berries

saskatoon berry juice, and how to clean your saskatoonsI’m at the tail end of our saskatoon picking – with purple fingers and purple lips most days. The crop has been wonderful, but now we’re getting down to the sweet, very ripe, sometimes shriveled berries that are still full of flavour but not so juicy anymore.

saskatoon juice, and how to clean saskatoon berries

Andreas, pulling down a loaded branch to get at the berries

It’s time to make juice.

The weather is hot and after a few hours of picking, it’s so refreshing to guzzle a glass of cool saskatoon juice.

If I’m lucky, I rope the men in the family into doing a spot of picking for me. . .

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

Raymond likes to thread his belt through the bucket handle, leaving both hands free for picking – smart guy

We’ve picked a few . . .

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

so it’s time to stop for a cool drink.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berriesLuckily I cleaned some of yesterday’s berries and made a batch of saskatoon juice which is chilling in the fridge.

Here’s the handy dandy way my mom taught me to clean saskatoon berries (or any other berries you’ve picked.)

How to Clean Saskatoon Berries

Saskatoons can be full of leafy bits, twigs, shriveled berries and unwanted little critters that hitched a ride into the pail.

To clean my berries I do a two-step process: first I pick them over, then I wash them.

To pick them over, I set up a picking station like this.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

see, that old phone book comes in handy

At the table, I take a large cookie sheet or tray, and lay it with the short end facing me. I then prop the far end up on a book so it’s elevated one or two inches. The slant should be just enough that the berries don’t tumble down the pan by themselves, but roll easily when nudged with your fingers. I have a small bowl on my right side for the duds, and a large bowl ready to hold the cleaned berries.

I carefully pour two or three large handfuls of saskatoons onto the high end of the cookie sheet, then with both hands gently roll some of the berries down toward me.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

Raymond is the hand model here for me – it’s good practice for him to clean a few berries, too

As they roll down the cookie sheet, I pick out all the duds, gimpy berries, crud, and critters and put them into the dud-bowl (I get little stinkbugs that like to come along for the ride, and sometimes ants, etc.). It’s easy to see what I’m doing, and I don’t miss any berries with this system. (My mom is so smart.)

I then dump the cleaned berries into the big bowl and pour another load of berries onto the pan. This process actually goes quickly, and I can get through a pail of berries in quite a short time.

When I’ve cleaned a large bowlful, I fill the kitchen sink with cold water, and pour the cleaned berries into it. I swirl them around with my hand a few times to clean them, then wait a few seconds for the water to stop moving. Then, either with my hands or a strainer, I fish out all the berries floating on the top of the water and place them into a colander to drain.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berriesThe berries that float at the top are usually the lighter, drier berries that aren’t so great for freezing. The heavier, juicy ones sink to the bottom of the water. I fish out the heavy ones and place those into another colander to drain.saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

Once they’ve drained for an hour or so, I place them into heavy zip-top bags and label them, then freeze them to use in desserts and smoothies.

The lighter berries that I’ve fished from the top of the water are great for making juice, since they are full of concentrated flavour, even if they are a little drier or more shriveled. (Think of them as saskatoon raisins.)

Below is the recipe for making juice, but feel free to use it just as a guideline - I often don’t even measure the berries, just fill a pot about ¾ full of berries, then add water to barely cover them, cook, drain, add lemon juice and sweetener to taste, and dilute with water to serve. This method works with all berries.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

How to Make Saskatoon Berry Juice

  • 4 cups (1 litre, about 600grams) cleaned saskatoon berries
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • honey to taste (about 3 tablespoons) or other sweetener of choice

If I’m making big batches of juice to can, or make saskatoon jelly, I use my three part steam juicer (on the left) but if I just want to make a small batch of juice for drinking, I cook the berries in water in a saucepan (on the right).

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berriessaskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

Place the saskatoons and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover the saucepan. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Pour into a colander set over a bowl to catch the juice, and let drain until cooled to lukewarm and no more juice drips out – an hour or more.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berries

Add the lemon juice and honey or other sweetener, and whisk until the honey is dissolved. Remember that the juice will be diluted to serve, so it will taste sweeter as a concentrate.

You should have about 3 cups of saskatoon juice concentrate (it depends on how juicy your berries are).

To serve, mix 1 part saskatoon juice with 2 to 3 parts water or club soda, to taste. You can mix it up in a pitcher or refrigerate the concentrate and mix up individual glasses as you need them. Will keep for one week in the fridge.

*Use club soda and add a shot of vodka for a fun summer cocktail.

saskatoon juice and how to clean saskatoon berriesGuten Appetit!

You might also like:

Saskatoon Rolls or Cobbler and How to Freeze Saskatoons

Saskatoon Preserves and How to Can Saskatoons

Saskatoon Ice Cream

Pork Chops with Saskatoon and Green Apple Chutney

Posted in Drinks, How-to-Basics, Saskatoons | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Saskatoon Ice Cream Made with Homemade Saskatoon Jelly

saskatoon ice creamHow can you tell I’ve been on on ice cream kick lately?

I blame it on the hot weather – some days I could gladly ladle spoonful after spoonful of cold, smooth, homemade ice cream into my mouth, several times a day, letting the deliciousness cool me down from the inside out. If it wasn’t so sticky, I’d rub it on the back of my neck and let it drip down my back, smear some on my sweaty forehead, maybe slather it on my hot feet.

saskatoon ice cream

Enough fantasizing, I’ll just eat it instead. Those flavours are too good to waste.

Last week’s vanilla ice cream was wonderful – who says vanilla is boring? I think it’s rich and complex in flavour. Then there was the pina colada one I made, which went so fast, I never got photos of it, or the recipe posted. This week’s version is a delectable saskatoon ice cream, because, well, look at those bushes. . . they were begging me to turn them into something worthy of celebrating summer.

saskatoon bushes loaded with fruit - for saskatoon  ice cream

Every year I’m lucky to get a big box full of all kinds of homemade jams and jellies from my mother-in-law. It’s a special gift of sparkling summer preserved in jars.

I was in too much of a hurry to eat some tasty saskatoon ice cream, and I didn’t want to fiddle with making and cooling juice from my saskatoon berries. So I used one of those jars of shimmering saskatoon jelly. My mother-in-law uses the recipe that comes with the pectin packages – get the recipe here. I’ve made it before, too, and it’s a great basic saskatoon jelly. And somehow, the jelly made the ice cream super-smooth and luscious. I think the secret ingredient might be the touch of pectin that is in the jelly.

saskatoon bushes loaded with berries - for saskatoon ice cream

This ice cream has a rich, creamy, dairy-free base dotted with little bursts of chopped fresh saskatoons – it really is the taste of summer heaven in a bowl.

saskatoon ice cream

Kitchen Frau Notes: The drop of almond extract in the recipe is just enough to enhance the natural undertone of almond flavour in saskatoon berries, but not overwhelm the ice cream with it.

Arrowroot starch (also sometimes labelled arrowroot flour) helps prevent ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream made with non-dairy ingredients.

I imagine you could use saskatoon jam instead of jelly here, or even blueberry jam or jelly (with fresh or frozen blueberries, then, too – just omit the almond flavour.)

This ice cream is the right amount for a 2 quart/litre ice cream maker. If using a smaller machine, fill as high as the manufacturer recommends, and use the extra creamy berry mixture to make popsicles.

I do love my 2 quart electric ice cream maker with the freezable liquid-filled canister. Summer would not be as fun without it!

saskatoon ice cream

Saskatoon Berry Ice Cream 

(gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

  • 2 cans (14 oz/400grams) premium full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) saskatoon jelly (recipe here)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (240ml) fresh saskatoon berries (or frozen ones, partially thawed)

saskatoon jelly and fresh saskatoonsPlace the liquid-filled canister from the ice cream machine into the freezer at least 24 hours before planning to churn the ice cream.

In a large saucepan, whisk together one can of the coconut milk, the arrowroot starch and the salt. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly until bubbles just start to rise to the surface and the mixture thickens. Do not let it come to a full boil.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the saskatoon jelly until it is completely melted. Stir in the remaining can of coconut milk, the almond extract and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.

Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Chill the saskatoon berries, too, if using fresh ones.

pouring the saskatoon ice cream into the ice cream maker

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream maker, and churn according to manufacturer’s directions, about 20 to 30 minutes. About 15 minutes into the churning time, chop the fresh or frozen saskatoon berries, trying to make sure there are no whole berries – this is a little trickier with the frozen ones.

chopping saskatoon berries for saskatoon ice cream


I recommend you wear an apron when chopping the fresh berries since the occasional splat of saskatoon juice does fly your way – I speak from experience. Add the chopped berries to to the ice cream. Churn until it is as firm as a good soft-serve ice cream. Serve immediately or freeze for several hours until more solid.

Makes 1½ quarts/litres.

saskatoon ice cream

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Saskatoons, Saskatoons, Every Which Way (How to Can Saskatoons)

Saskatoon Roll and Saskatoon Cobbler, and How to Freeze Saskatoons

Pork Chops with Saskatoon and Green Apple Chutney

Cherry Ice Cream

Saskatoon Juice and How to Clean Saskatoon Berries

Posted in Ice Cream & Cold Things, Saskatoons | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dîner en Blanc, and a Honey Vanilla Ice Cream (that’s Dairy Free and Egg Free, too)

honey vanilla ice cream, dairy free, egg free

Have you heard of Dîner en Blanc? It’s a magical Dinner in White – a fun, but very elegant, huge group picnic where participants come dressed all in white. Read about it here.Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

It all started in Paris over 25 years ago, when Frenchman François Pasquier came home after being abroad for several years. He wanted to see all his friends again, so told them to each bring a friend, and to meet for a picnic at a certain location. In order that they might all recognize each other, he asked them to wear white. The event was such a success it was repeated and soon became a Parisian tradition. Within a few years Dîner en Blanc took off worldwide and has now been held in beautiful public places in over 50 major cities around the world.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

it’s all about fun and elegance

I first read about it in a novel (Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan), then looked it up online and was entranced. When friends invited us to attend the inaugural Dîner en Blanc here in Edmonton Thursday night, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to experience it. You bring your own table and white chairs, white linens, glass and silverware – no plastic or paper allowed. All accessories must be white and everything must be portable. The alfresco event goes rain or shine, so all extra gear must be white, too. Elegance and formality are required, white hats, gloves and even wigs are encouraged. What fun!

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014Diner en Blanc. Edmonton, 2014

You can also imagine Raymond’s reaction when I first mentioned it – much less than thrilled - We have to wear WHAT?!!! But he was a good sport, and I kindly kept him out of my endeavors to hunt down his wardrobe and all our necessary accessories (I figured that would lower my chances of him backing out altogether). A few judicious trips to sales racks and thrift stores and some good luck in borrowing a couple items, and we were both outfitted. His discomfort at looking like ‘the man from Glad’ was slightly dispelled upon seeing the hordes of other white-clad picnickers congregating at our prearranged meeting spot.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

We joined up with our friends, then piled into the rows of big white buses to be driven to the secret location for Dîner en Blanc, which turned out to be the lovely Chinese Garden at Louise McKinney Park, along the river valley just below downtown Edmonton. The air filled with a festival feeling and a flurry of white, as over a thousand chic picnickers set up long rows of damask-covered tables, laid out silver and finery, poured wine, and unpacked picnic baskets or picked up pre-ordered gourmet boxed picnic lunches (which we opted to do). The upbeat strains of a live band, playing French-themed music, kept our toes tapping in spite of the grey clouds and imminent rain looming above us.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

My friend, Christine, setting up our beautiful table – I was in charge of silverware and flowers, but she had the decorator’s touch for the rest. (Notice the people beside us covering their table to keep the rain off.)

And suddenly my reluctant husband and partner got into the spirit of it – how could he help it, with the fun and laughter fluttering all around us? We were in the midst of a flock of very elegant and fun-loving white doves, experiencing something utterly magical and out of the ordinary on a Thursday night in Edmonton.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

That’s Raymond, giving the ‘thumbs up’. He had way more fun than he imagined!

The repeated showers and cloudy dampness did nothing to dispel the party atmosphere threading twelve hundred, white party-goers into a cohesive, glimmering mass of happy humanity. Our shared experience was the umbrella that kept us dry (plus the very practical plastic rain capes we packed). Laughter, and toasts, shared chocolates, and laments over the weather turned strangers into the best kind of tablemates – wonderful new friends for the evening.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

people got quite creative in finding ways to outwit the sporadic showersDiner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014what’s a picnic without a little rain?

In my excitement, and due to the putting-on and taking-off of our plastic rain capes whenever rain showers descended, I completely forgot to take photos of our very delicious and elegant picnic lunches.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

I’m just putting away my silver plastic rain cape – hoping it can stay packed up, but no such luck!

Raymond and I shared two different menus, one with a chilled watermelon gazpacho for starters and one with rustic bread with two different zesty spreads. Our main courses were Tuna Niçoise - grilled, perfectly rare slices of tuna, with sauteed green beans and new potatoes in a mustard sauce, and flavourful roast chicken with a zesty red quinoa pilaf. Desserts were a lavender honey pannacotta and a lovely lemon tart. Deeeeeeelicious.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

We had lively music to entertain us . . .
Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

. . . and some guest acrobats

To end our Dîner en Blanc with a glow, we all lit sparklers to wave in unison and mark the end of a beautiful and memorable evening (less-than-perfect weather not even an issue.)


Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

I cannot wait to do it all again next year.

Diner en Blanc, Edmonton, 2014

packing up again at the end of a magical evening

*Raymond and Gilbert made it into a photo of the event in the Edmonton Journal! (They’re the two guys at the front, in the picture with the - tsk, tsk - red and blue umbrellas.)

honey vanilla ice cream, dairy free, egg free

In honour of the Dîner en Blanc, here is my version of a Dessert en Blanc – an ice cream that is so basic, yet so smooth, rich, and sumptuous, it is sure to become our new summer staple – especially now that the hot weather is due to return.

I made several renditions of this ice cream to perfect it, thinking I was so smart and inventive, then when I went hunting on the internet to see what other kinds of coconut milk ice cream were out there, I discovered I was not the first one to think of this (imagine that!) and there are several similar versions already out there. (But that’s okay – I’ll just remain a legend in my own mind.) Mine is a little less sweet and more vanilla-y, which we love. It doesn’t taste at all like coconut – just smooth, velvety vanilla – wonderful on its own or as the à la mode to any summer dessert.

Kitchen Frau Notes: Arrowroot starch is used to prevent ice crystals from forming in home-made ice cream, so this step will help make your ice cream smoother and creamier, without using egg yolks to thicken the base.

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract is equal to about one 2-inch piece of vanilla bean, so 1 average vanilla bean is equal to 3 teaspoons extract. Vanilla bean adds the lovely little flecks. If using extract, your ice cream will be a little more ivory-coloured.

You can experiment with all sorts of flavour variations by adding in pureed fruits or other flavourings before freezing.

I have one of those electric ice cream makers with a liquid-filled freezing canister, and I love it! I just keep the canister in the freezer in the summer, and anytime I have a craving for ice-cream, it’s a cinch to make my own. Even though fancy one-purpose appliances are often a waste of money and space, I consider my ice cream maker a very worthwhile investment.

honey vanilla ice cream dairy free, egg free

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

gluten free, dairy free, egg free (and you’d never know it!)

  • 2 cans (14 oz/400ml) full-fat premium coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons/90ml) honey
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)

ingredients for honey vanilla ice cream

24 hours before churning the ice cream, place the canister for the ice cream machine into the freezer to make sure it is frozen solid.

Scrape the contents of one of the cans of coconut milk into a large 2 quart saucepan. Whisk in the arrowroot powder and the salt.

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles just start to form and the mixture is thickened. Do not let it come to a full rolling boil or it will lose its thickness – though it will still be fine in the ice-cream.

cooking the base for the honey vanilla ice cream

Remove from heat and whisk in the honey until it is melted. Add the remaining can of coconut milk and whisk until smooth.

On a cutting board, slit the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and using the dull, back side of the knife blade, scrape out the fine vanilla seeds from each half. Make sure to scrape up any little bits of seeds left on the cutting board, too. Add these to the ice cream base and stir well (or add the vanilla extract, if using).

Pour the mixture into a container and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

Churn according to the ice cream machine manufacturer’s instructions. Eat immediately for soft-serve texture, or pack into a freezer container and freeze for several hours if a firmer consistency is desired. If  the ice cream has frozen really hard, remove from the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it soften enough to scoop easily.

churning the honey vanilla ice cream

Makes a generous quart/liter of luscious ice cream.

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Cherry Ice Cream 

Frozen Watermelon-Lime Ice (with a Tequila Option)

Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Diner en Blanc

Gilbert, the man from Glad, me, and Christine

Posted in Dairy-free, Ice Cream & Cold Things | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Curried Chicken Luncheon Salad

Curried Chicken Luncheon Salad

It is HOT outside! Summer has arrived for sure to the sunny north of Alberta. It’s lake weather and popsicle weather and lolling-in-the-shade weather.

Pippa, the black labrador, in the shade, whishing she was eating curried chicken salad

Pippa’s favourite shady spot on the lawn

garden arbour, summer 2014the garden, summer 2014strawberries in summer, 2014IMG_5364a

summer 2014, curried chicken salad

We work out in the garden as the sweat drips down, then come into the cool house where fans in every room keep the breezes moving.

a hot day in the garden, time for some curried chicken salad

I don’t feel much like cooking, but I have some hungry mouths to feed. As I stand basking in the cool cloud in front of the open refrigerator door, I take as long as I dare deciding what to make that’s quick and cold.

A glass container of leftover chicken chunks, from the whole one we roasted on the barbecue last night, jumps out at me, and I crave the curried chicken salad that is a summertime favourite of ours. Then I see some cored fresh pineapple I picked up at the grocery store, and the idea is solidified. Ten minutes later we each cradle a bowlful of curried chicken salad with a few chunks of pickled watermelon and peppers and a handful of almond crackers in one hand and a big mug of iced fruit tea in the other.

We take our bowls and sit in front of the fans.

Ahhh . . . . summer bliss.

flowers in the garden, curried chicken salad

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: I usually make this salad with canned, drained peaches, pineapple or mandarin oranges, then use a bit of the juice to thin out the mayonnaise. But the fresh pineapple is especially juicy and summery, if you have it. Fresh grapes, halved, or strawberries or diced melon, would be nice, too.

Sometimes I don’t have fresh basil, and I just omit it – the salad is still wonderful without it.

No leftover cooked chicken? Barbecue a few extra chicken breasts next time, or go the easy way and use a store-bought roast chicken.

The measurements are just loose guidelines, use more chicken if you have it – just add a bit more mayonnaise and thin it out to a looser consistency with whatever fruit juice you have. Use more or less fruit, add diced celery, or a handful of toasted almonds.

curried chicken luncheon salad

 Curried Chicken Luncheon Salad

  • 3 to 4 cups (450-600 grams) cooked chicken
  • 1½ cups (250grams) diced pineapple (about three ½-inch thick slices) or other fruit
  • small handful of basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • grinding of fresh pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or pineapple juice, or juice from canned fruit

Curried Chicken Luncheon SaladDice the cold, cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the diced pineapple or other fruit, mayonnaise, onion, honey, 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, and the salt and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice or fruit juice, and toss it all gently. If it seems a little dry, add more juice.

Taste and add more curry powder or salt if you think it needs it.

Serve with crackers or piled on top of lettuce leaves.

Serves 3 to 4 (depending how much chicken you use)

Guten Appetit!

 You might also like:

Simple Tuna Salad

Ham ‘n Egg Salad with Asparagus and Hazelnut Flax Crackers

Green and White Quinoa Salad

Bacon, Egg and Spinach Salad with Miso-Mustard Vinaigrette

peonies in summer, 2014

Posted in Chicken & Poultry, Salads & Dressings | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthy One-Cup Cookies – the Monster Cookies that Just Could Give you Superpowers

 healthy one cup cookies

CLASSIFIED ADS: Careers: Job Offers

Wanted: A candidate that can fill all the following positions; breakfast cookie, after-school snack, meal-on-the-run, road-trip nibble, camping goodie, coffee-break nosh, and healthy indulgence. Must be high fiber and use healthful fats, yet taste great. The successful applicant should be quick and easy to make. The candidate must also be adaptable to different diets and food restrictions. Pay will depend on how quickly said candidate is devoured.

“Pick me! Pick me!” says this amazing, super healthy, all-purpose cookie. It’s the cookie that has it all. (And yes, it did get the job.)

This cookie has quite a pedigree. The recipe comes from somewhere on the Canadian prairies, brought to us from my friend Judith‘s Aunt Muriel (who got them from some unknown person called Pat in Saskatchewan – that’s what is written on the stained old recipe card). Aunt Muriel was a single woman who recently passed away at age 90 (the stereotypical old maid aunt, but also a career woman with a dash of elegance). She was famous for these cookies, which she made for at least the last 60 years. The recipe was adapted and added to by Judith, then further tinkered with by moi, to become the super healthy powerhouse it is today.

healthy one-cup cookies

Don’t you just love a recipe that’s so easy? It’s basically one cup of every ingredient. I can handle that . . . and maybe even remember it without looking.

It’s hard to screw up this cookie recipe. And you know what else? It’s so delicious that every batch I’ve made has been devoured pretty quickly. I sent a batch to my daughter when she moved (it worked great as a bribe to get a bunch of students to help carry heavy furniture up six flights of stairs), and she lived off the cookies the first three days in her new place, until she could buy groceries. I took a large Tupperware container along to the annual Johnson family camp out, and they were gobbled up around the campfire in two evenings, with numerous requests for the recipe. I can hardly keep the cookie jar filled here at home, since they disappear at an alarming rate.

healthy chia seed one-cup cookies

I need to make another batch – AGAIN!

I’ve been making a lot of versions of this recipe lately, to see what ingredients I could play with. I’ve used butter, coconut oil and dairy-free vegan margarine. I’ve used different kinds and grinds of flaxseeds, different nut butters, oatmeal and quinoa flakes, different nuts, and different blends of gluten-free flours. I’ve tinkered with the size and baking time. And they always turn out.

Aunt Muriel’s original recipe was made with white flour and sugar, and didn’t have half the seedy and healthy additions of the present rendition (just oatmeal, coconut, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips). Judy uses whole wheat flour and added the ground flax and hemp hearts. I replaced the white sugar with coconut sugar and added the sesame seeds and cinnamon, plus replaced the flour with a gluten-free, and grain free flour version. I’ve also made batches with only half the brown sugar, for a slightly less sweet breakfast cookie version, and it’s been very tasty, too. In fact, I prefer them that way.

The chia seeds can sometimes keep you busy for a few minutes sucking them out of the crevices of your teeth after the cookie is done, but I figure that’s just a few minutes of free entertainment, and worth the addition of these super healthy and fiber-rich seeds.

healthy chia seed one-cup cookies

  • The above job position has been filled. No further applicants need apply.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes:  I find that with the gluten-free flour mix, the cookie dough mounds don’t need to be flattened before baking and they spread out nicely. The grain-free flour version, though, does need to be flattened slightly. Depending on what modifications you make, the texture of your dough will be slightly different. Bake the first pan as a test and decide from there if you need to flatten the cookies slightly before baking.

I like to make these cookies large enough to be a substantial snack, that can do double duty as a stand-in for breakfast on the run. If you choose to make your cookies smaller, bake for 8 to 9 minutes. When making them as breakfast cookies, I often only use ½ cup brown sugar, or omit the brown sugar altogether. Freeze the cookies in individual baggies and they are a quick-to-grab, healthy, convenience food.

healthy one-cup cookies

One Cup Cookies

adapted from Judith‘s Aunt Muriel, originally from the unknown Pat

can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and grain-free, see below

  • 1 cup butter, coconut oil, or dairy-free margarine (225grams), room temperature (add ½ teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter or coconut oil)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (240grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (220grams), loosely packed (I like to use ½ cup)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (150grams)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup flour (140grams), gluten-free flour mix, or grain-free mix* (see below)
  • 1 cup ground flax seeds (100grams)
  • 1 cup oatmeal (100grams) or quinoa flakes (80grams)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (80grams)
  • 1 cup hemp hearts (140grams)
  • 1 cup sesame seeds (170grams)
  • 1 cup chia seeds (165grams)
  • 1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped – I like pecans or walnuts (110grams)
  • 1 cup raisins (150grams)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (175grams)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or greasing them.

Cream the butter or coconut oil with the sugars and peanut butter. Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the baking soda, cinnamon and flour of choice. Beat slowly to incorporate.

Add in all the rest of the one-cup additions, beating well after each one.

Let the dough rest for 15 minutes so the ground flax and chia seeds can absorb moisture.

one-cup cookie dough

Use a regular ¼cup ice cream scoop to make the cookies, packing the dough in well with your fingers. (Or use a ¼cup measuring cup and pack the dough tightly, then use a butter knife to pop the dough out of the cup and onto the pan.) Place the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Lightly press a piece of nut into the center of each cookie if you like.

use an ice cream scoop for the one-cup cookies

use an ice cream scoop to make the one-cup cookies

If using regular flour or a gluten-free mix, leave them the rounded shape of the ice cream scoop and they will melt and flatten to just the right thickness when baked. If using the grain-free mix or egg-free version, it’s best to press them down slightly with your fingers so that each mound is about 1 inch tall, as they will not flatten as much when baked.

one-cup cookies

you can be fancy and press a nut half into the top of the cookie before baking – these are flattened grain free ones

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be brown around the edges, but still be soft to touch in the centers. They will firm up as they cool. Leave them in the pans for 5 minutes to cool, then with a spatula, remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

one cup cookies

Store the cookies in a large sealed container in single layers with wax or parchment paper between the layers. May be frozen. (If using coconut oil, and it is hot in the house, store the cookies in the refrigerator, since coconut oil has a melting point of about 25°C.)

Makes 34 large cookies.

Feel free to play: Instead of either the chia seeds or hemp hearts, use poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Use dried cranberries instead of raisins. Use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips, almond butter instead of peanut butter. Add a bit more of your favourite ingredient or omit one you don’t like. Use half the brown sugar. Let your imagination bloom . . . .

healthy one-cup cookies

Allergy friendly versions:

Gluten Free: Use gluten-free flour mix of your choice, and use gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes.

Dairy Free: Use coconut oil or a dairy-free margarine. Make sure the chocolate chips are dairy-free.

Grain Free: Instead of the 1 cup flour, use: ½ cup (50grams) almond flour, ½ cup (65grams) arrowroot starch, and ¼ cup potato flour (50grams) (not potato starch). Also use quinoa* flakes instead of oatmeal, or substitute with another cup of ground nuts. Bake the grain free cookies about 1 minute longer than the regular or gluten free ones, 11 to 12 minutes.

*Quinoa is technically not a grain, but the seed of a plant in the goosefoot family (closely related to beets and spinach), so it depends if you choose to include it in a grain-free diet. Paleo diets do not usually include quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat seeds.

Egg Free: Omit eggs and add 9 tablespoons (½ cup plus 1 tablespoon/135ml) water when you add the flour. Leave the dough to sit for 30 minutes before you scoop out the cookies. Once scooped, leave the cookies to rest for 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before baking them.

This allows the ground flax to absorb the water and bind the dough. The resting time on the cookie sheets helps the cookies to keep their shape better. (This technique is the same as using flax eggs, which are made by mixing 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water and letting it gel for 15 minutes.)

***I have made these cookies with all four allergy adaptations combined in one recipe and they still turned out marvelously.

 Guten Appetit!

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