Win Your Holiday Party With These Crowd-Pleasing Cookie Recipes by Portland Pros

Our favorite bakers dish on their most delicious cookies—they’re allergy-friendly and healthy(ish), to boot!

By Tuck Woodstock December 15, 2015

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Image: Lacy Davis

Christmastime is here, by golly, and so are the endless holiday parties and cookie potlucks. But in Portland 2K15, communal treats are often expected to be vegan, gluten-free, vaguely healthy and yet incredibly delicious. Too much to ask? Don’t worry—Portland’s best bakers and chefs have your back. Read on for trail mix cookies, ginger spice stars, and miso tahini oat balls, oh my!

Holiday Trail Mix Cookies from Back to Eden Bakery [Vegan and GF]

This cookie is a take on a sugar free cookie we use to make here at Back to Eden Bakery.  It is so easy and fun to make and you can throw just about anything into it you want; nuts, dried fruit, chocolate etc.  In this version we chose seasonal cranberries which pair nicely with dark chocolate.  We use our house blend Gluten-Free Flour but you can use your favorite mix 1 to 1 and it should work fine!  You can also use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar to make the base of this cookie “sugar” free.  Happy Baking and Happy Holidays! 

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2½ c. Gluten Free Flour
1 Tbsp. Ground Flax
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt
1 c. Brown Sugar Sugar
2/3 c. Safflower Oil
2/3 c. Maple Syrup
½ c. Peanut Butter
¼ c. Non-Dairy Milk (we use flax milk)
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
¾ c. GF Oats
½ c. Cranberries
½ c. Dark Chocolate Chips 

  1.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if doing by hand) mix the brown sugar, safflower oil, maple syrup, peanut butter, non-dairy milk and vanilla until completely incorporated.  Add the flour mix in two parts mixing in between each addition.  Fold in the add ons with a firm spoon or spatula or your hands!  
  2. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop cookies onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes, rotating half way through.

Thumbprint Cookies by Prasad & Harlow [Vegan and GF]

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Image: Karen Pride

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds (or almond meal)
1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose baking flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
a few tablespoons of a delicious jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Briefly chop the rolled oats in a food processor until they become a coarse meal then place in a medium sized bowl. 
  2. Grind almonds into a fine meal by pulsing in the food processor for a minute or two. 
  3. Mixing by hand, combine the oats with the almonds, flour, salt, maple syrup and oil. 
  4. Shape into 3/4 inch balls (this is easier if your hands are wet). 
  5. Arrange balls with an inch of space between each on a cookie sheet that is greased or lined with parchment paper. 
  6. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each cookie and put 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each dent.
  7. Bake about 15-20 minutes, until light brown on the bottom. 

Ginger Spice Stars from Pure Simple Juice [Raw, Vegan, GF] 

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1 C fine ground rolled oats
1.25 C dates
1/4 nuts/seeds of your choice (we use pumpkin seeds or cashew)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated ginger (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 c molasses 

  1. Process oats in a food processor until they’re finely ground, add rest of ingredients and process until a sticky dough forms.
  2. Chill the dough for about an hour. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  3. You can then enjoy these cookies raw or dehydrate them to your desire level of chewiness. Enjoy!

Savory Miso Tahini Oat Balls from Super Strength Health [Vegan and GF]

While these oat balls baked, they filled my house with the most delectable smell. They are savory, hearty, a bit rich, and have a tiny touch of both sweet and spicyness to them. They are perfect for a pre-workout snack, or a few would be a sufficient breakfast on the go.

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Image: Lacy Davis

Serves: 10
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoons warm water
1.5 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water
4 chopped medjool dates (fresh)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Blend apple cider vinegar, tahini, miso and warm water, to make an even and smooth paste
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. Add all ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix well.
  5. Roll the mix into balls, just a little larger than a rounded tablespoon
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bottom sides of the balls are browned, and your whole house starts to smell awesome. My little dudes were perfect after 19 minutes, exactly.
  7. Let cool before moving off of cookie sheet, so they don't fall apart

Trail Mix Cookies from Blossoming Lotus [Vegan, Soy-Free option] 

These are a customer favorite, which we try to have on hand every day! They’re the perfect combination of salty and sweet, plus they pack a crunchy protein punch that will get you through your day!  

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yields: 1 ½ dozen large cookies

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 2 cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper for best results. In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 ¼ cups white spelt flour (5 ¾ ounces)
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt (if using salted peanut butter, reduce salt to taste)
½ teaspoon baking soda

Add to dry ingredients & stir together: 

1 cup & 2 tablespoons oats (5 ½ ounces)
½ cup raisins
½ cup chocolate chips (soy-free, if desired)
½ cup toasted peanuts
½ cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together:

½ cup organic cane sugar (4 ounces)
½ cup natural, unsalted peanut butter (5 ounces)
½ cup safflower oil (or any other neutral oil, such as canola)
¼ cup agave
¼ cup non-dairy milk of your choice (choose almond or rice milk for soy-free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the wet & dry ingredients into a thick dough. Portion out ¼-cup balls of dough & flatten them slightly, making sure to space them about an inch apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until lightly golden on top, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. Allow to cool before removing them

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Cayenne and Sea Salt by Of Roots and Blooms [Vegan]

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3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups high quality vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon large flake finishing salt (an infused large flake salt works great here, stumptown coffee salt from Jacobsen Sea Salt, for example)
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, vegan butter, coconut oil, water and vanilla extract together in a medium mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and sea salt then add to wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips and mix into soft dough.
  4. Spoon onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For uniform shaped cookies, roll dough portions into balls and flatten each one slightly. Makes 12 cookies.
  5. Bake in oven for 5 minutes, then remove and sprinkle each cookie with the finishing salt, cayenne pepper and turbinado sugar. Press lightly into the cookies, then return to oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes until edges start to brown. 


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