Almond Joy Cookies [vegan, gluten free]

Almond Joy Cookies // Queen Smithereen.
I caught everyone’s cold this past week. I caught everyone’s cold. It was like hotdish, a hodgepodge of everything at once. Bits and bobs of everyone’s illness jumbled together and infiltrated my core just in time for two days off in a row. That first night, I awoke at three in the morning to the most severe, persistent pain in my ears. I could hardly breathe. My throat was daggers. And yet, I had no coffee filters, no eggs, no strawberries, and no soup. This is the point when I realized one of the greatest purveyors of mundane discomfort: having a cold in the wintertime when you live alone.

The last time this happened, I was in Munich. I told myself my symptoms were normal [spoiler alert: they were not]. Every block into the city felt a mile. The cold, damp air cracked through my bones. At one point, I ended up on the train with my friend Rob on the way to the hospital. When it lurched to a stop, I wobbled so hard he had to catch me. He sat next to me in the hallway, showing me his dissertation to distract from the wait. The doctor took my temperature, shook his head, and convincingly muttered, Schlecht! Friends, it wasn’t good. I left the country early…and promptly got stranded in New York City. For days.
Almond Joy Cookies // Queen Smithereen.
That’s how it is, I suppose. Nothing works out the way we intend it to at the beginning, and I think it’s because there are so many factors all the damn time. All the time. This time around, it feels like all of them converged into a killer cold: one man’s fever, another’s confusion, one’s nausea, with sore throat and congestion and ear pain.

This past Friday marks my first visit to the coffee shop near my apartment in which I did not share anecdotes with whomever made my Americano. Even my eyebrows were disheveled, the veins at my temples pulsing at the pressure they were housing.
Almond Joy Cookies // Queen Smithereen.
I likely shouldn’t have operated any heavy machinery, but desperate times, man. I don’t know why I put three kinds of coconut and mini chocolate chips in my shopping cart at Target, but I totally did. When I reached the cashier, I dearly wished for somebody to help me lift everything onto the belt. That night, I called my mom, and she got an earful before my own ears submitted to pain bubbles once more.
Almond Joy Cookies // Queen Smithereen.
Flash forward a day, and I have newfound energy. I am getting a breath of fresh air, and I like the way this building perks unassumingly. In the car, I have these cookies packed for someone, unsure who it is I will run into. I end up sitting across from my dear friend, Kirk. It will never not be surreal that we are in the same place again.

We break the cookies into pieces, discussing how we remember things and how we express them and how my ears seemed to close me off from the world for a bit [and how I think it was so I could think for a minute]. Sometimes, you need to come back to yourself. It can be quietly. It can be in a bubble. And there are cookies waiting for you when you return.

Thinking fondly of Almond Joys: these are crispy, crackly, crunchy, chewy almond-coconut rounds, speckled with dark chocolate and browned at the edges. They are vegan and they are free of glutinous stuff and they are that way because the ingredients combine that way to taste how I suspect might be best. And all of it together at once feels better again.

One Year: Classic Banana Bread
Two Years: Dark Chocolate and Grapefruit Cream Scones
Three Years: Salty Brown Butter Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Four Years: Garlicky Guacamole with Red Bell Pepper

Almond Joy Cookies
Makes about a dozen

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (solid)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp princess emulsion (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup large coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, beat coconut oil until smooth. Beat in maple syrup and princess emulsion. Beat in dry ingredients, then gently stir in all types of coconut. Gently stir in chocolate chips until just combined. Scoop in heaping tablespoonfuls, rolling the dough into balls and spacing out on baking sheet. Gently press each cookie down into a disc. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Allow to cool for five minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies are best when completely cool, and will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.



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