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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
(soy- and oil-free)
Makes about 19 cookies

I’m in baking mode with the snow everywhere and the Christmas album my two guys put together for me, complete with songs like The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball and Johnny Cash singing Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. Even Agnostic Pagan Jewesses with Buddhist leanings can get in the holiday spirit when there’s fresh snow on the ground, great music and, frankly, a lot to be thankful for in the world. If you feel like you’ve been overindulging lately with too much junk, these soft cookies will hit the spot without causing too much caloric damage.

These cookies feature my favorite trick these days: puréed sweet potatoes. Sound like something you’d only can imagine being fed a Gerber baby? Well, I can see that, but when you bake with it, puréed sweet potatoes offer a silky, voluptuous texture to gluten-free sweets (so often dry, crumbly and sad), and it also heightens the sweetness without adding refined sugar or overwhelming flavor. The most important thing to me when I am baking my gluten-free and oil-free vegan treats is that they are still treats. I don’t want to feel like I’m doing anything too virtuous but I still don’t want to break the bank in terms of empty calories. Using the purée and the old trick of applesauce, I can have my cookies and eat ‘em, too. Of course, chocolate chips never hurt, either. (I never said I was a perfect angel.)

They are easy to make, turning into cookies that are a little crispy on the outside, domes of billowy chocolatey goodness on the inside. Please factor in refrigeration time when baking these babies.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 1/2 cups gluten-free or regular flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 T. arrowroot flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 . salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup puréed sweet potato
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Combine the maple syrup, puréed sweet potato, applesauce, and vanilla in a small bowl with a whisk. Pour into the larger bowl with the flour, and mix with a spoon until integrated. Add the chocolate chips and fully incorporate.

Transfer to the ‘fridge and let it sit there, covered, for at least an hour. This makes it easier to shape the dough into balls and will reduce the spread on the baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using about one tablespoon per cookie, roll into balls with your hands and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. To create a pretty little snow-dusted effect, roll each cookie on a plate with some confectioners’ sugar before placing on the baking sheet. Bake for eight minutes, turn 180 degrees to ensure even baking, and bake for another eight minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for five minutes and then let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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