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Brain Food: Superfood Cookies

It’s cookie season, so we’ve got three Superfood Cookie recipes that have brainy benefits! Indulge your sweet tooth AND take care of your brain with these superfood cookies.

Up first, it’s Avocado Almond Cookies from I’ll Make it Myself! According to the Amen Clinic, Raw Almonds are the only nut to contain a significant amount of vitamin E, which may help to reduce cognitive decline, and avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for helping to maintain cognitive function.

Avocado Almond Cookies

Photo and recipe courtesy I’ll Make it Myself
Yields: 20 very small cookies
Time:
Active: 20-30 minutes (mixing, decorating, and baking)
Inactive: 1-2 hours (refrigerating)

Loosely based on “Almond Cookie Cutouts” on A Taste of Home

Ingredients
6 tablespoons avocado (about 1.5 avocados), mashed
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 Tablespoons ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Optional: Green food coloring
Decorations: Sliced or chopped almonds, sprinkles, etc.

Instructions

1. Wash the avocados, then cut lengthwise into half. Remove the pit and set aside. Scrape out the flesh with a spoon. Discard any off-color spots or stringy bits. Mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Measure 6 tablespoons of the avocado into the larger bowl. If you have leftover avocado, place it and the pit (or some lemon juice) in a small sealed container and refrigerate.
2. Add the sugar and mix well.
3. Add the egg, almond extract, vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, ground almonds, baking powder) and stir until incorporated.
5. Optional: add the food coloring. A small sprinkle of the powder or 1-2 drops of the liquid is usually enough; adjust to preference.
6. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. This will make the batter easier to scoop.
7. Preheat (yonetsu, ??) the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
8. Drop the cookies by rounded teaspoonful about 2 cm (1 inch) apart onto the cookie sheet or parchment paper. Decorate with sliced almonds or sprinkles.
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned but the tops are not. Slightly underdone is better than overdone with these cookies. Cool on a wire rack.
10. These cookies are best served warm and fresh, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for ~3 days.

The second cookie recipe in our lineup is Apricot and Green Tea Shortbread Cookies (also called Merunky Matcha Polvorones) from Spicie Foodie. According to the Amen Clinic, Green Tea (also called matcha) contains antioxidants and the metabolism-boosting compound epigallocatechin gallate; it also contains L-theanine, which helps you relax and focus at the same time. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee.

Apricot and Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

Photo and recipe courtesy of Spicie Foodie

Prep time: 8 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Yield: 12 very small cookies
Ingredients

½ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup melted unsalted butter
? cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp Matcha powder

6 whole dried apricots (or to taste), finely chopped

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180 c or 356f and line a cookie sheet with baking paper. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, matcha, and apricots until well combined. Pour the melted butter while stirring. Gather the crumbly dough and place on floured surface. Flatten out to an even level and use cookie cutter to cutout cookie shapes. Place on baking sheet and continue until all the dough has been used up.

2. Bake in center of oven for 8-10 minutes. Check after 8 minutes and do not allow cookies to brown. Allow to cool before scarfing down.

Our last installment is Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies from How Sweet Eats. Lucky for us, dark chocolate is considered healthy because of its high antioxidant content; the darker the chocolate, the better. Chocolate also has caffeine, which stimulates the brain increasing alertness and focus.

Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Photo and recipe courtesy of How Sweet Eats

YIELD: MAKES 24-30 COOKIES

PREP TIME: 4 HOURS (INCLUDE FRIDGE TIME)

COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet (mine was 60%) chocolate, chopped
2 cups dark chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark chocolate/dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
if desired: additional melted chocolate for dipping and chocolate sprinkles for coating

Instructions

1. In a large bowl, melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and 1 cup of chocolate chips. I do this in the microwave, beginning with 30 second increments and stirring until totally melted. Set aside and let cool completely.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, add sugar and eggs, beating on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and melted chocolate/butter, beating for another 1-2 minutes until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the whisk or beater attachment, then remove it and stir in the dry ingredients with a large spatula until thoroughly dispersed by just combined. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Cover the cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours (or even overnight!).

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper (or a silpat!) on an ungreased baking sheet. Wet your hands with water then begin to roll the dough into 1-inch balls, placing them about 2 inches apart. Do this quickly and if you are doing the cookies in batches, refrigerate the dough in between rounds. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top of each dough ball, then bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove, sprinkle a tiny bit of salt again, and let cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet. The should be completely cool before removing them! Once removed, place on wax or parchment paper to cool completely. Once totally cooled, if desired you can dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate then cover in sprinkles. These store pretty well but are fairly fragile.

[recipe from allrecipes with a few minor tweaks]