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A Little Bit of Chocolate, Anyone?

If you want something sugary with just a bit of chocolate for this Valentine’s Day, you will love these Maple Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Glaze — gluten-free and vegan. Sometimes a little chocolate goes a long way, as it does perfectly when these cookies are drizzled with an easy vegan glaze. If you prefer, you can cover each cookie with chocolate frosting to match the Valentine’s Day mood. Either way, these Maple Sugar Cookies are quite delicious while they easily can be categorized as healthy (or at least healthier) comfort food.

How are they healthier than cookies made with white flour or even gluten-free flour blends? I make these cookies with organic almond flour and oat flour, both of which boast great vegan protein, valuable minerals, and complex carbs. Maple sugar is an extravagance, but is far superior to white table sugar because maple sugar is not refined. When eaten in moderation, maple products are considered strengthening, according to Ayurveda. You might choose coconut sugar, which is also unrefined and has a lower glycemic index than either refined white sugar or maple sugar. Besides, coconut sugar is less expensive than maple. Because maple sugar is so expensive, you may want to use confectioners’ sugar for the glaze, since it’s a small amount—and it’s the special occasion rule!

Moderation is also the best approach to chocolate, which is why this year I settled for just a drizzle! But I won’t spoil your fun this week with too many reasons why I did this. Let’s just remember that the marketers of the over-commercialized holiday called Valentine’s Day sometimes forget how important it is to love our bodies with moderation.

Enjoy these Maple Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Glaze (or frosting) as you splurge with full permission following the special occasions rule! On this Valentine’s Day — with or without chocolate — may we all remember to shower those we love with warmth, affection, and delicious foods that nourish both body and soul. And let your love ripple out to fill this anxious world with hope and light.

PS Food blog writers everywhere are pulling out their favorite all-chocolate recipes, and I also love to tout my vegan gluten-free recipes: a lovely heart-shaped Best Vegan Chocolate Cake, Gino’s Flourless Chocolate Cake, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate PuddingOMG Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies or Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, and even a Savory Sweet Potato Soup with Chocolate Swirl!



Preparation time: About 90 minutes, including chill time for dough
Makes 2 dozen small cookies or 18 larger cookies

These cookies are a little chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. The cookies will turn golden if you roll them in maple crystal, which is optional. If you really want to frost the entire cookie versus a ribbon glaze, you’ll find a delicious chocolate frosting here.

For the cookies
7 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 cup fine almond flour
1 cup oat flour
¼ teas xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon mineral salt
1 cup maple sugar
3 tablespoons almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
About ¼ cup rolling maple crystals or maple sugar (optional)

For the glaze
1ounce unsweetened chocolate
1½ tablespoons coconut oil
½ cups maple sugar (or, if preferred, confectioners’ sugar)
1 pinch mineral salt
2 to 4 tablespoons almond milk at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat. Set aside to cool. Whisk 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Remeasure the melted oil, pouring it into a separate bowl and returning any excess to its container. Into the oil, whisk the sugar, almond milk, and vanilla. Add the flaxseed mixture and whisk again.

4. Combine the oil and sugar mixture with the flour mixture and mix well with a spatula. If the dough seems dry, add one more tablespoon almond milk.  Cover the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer—and up to a day ahead.

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment. If you wish, pour some maple sugar onto a plate. Using a measuring tablespoon, roll in your hands 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie (or a heaping tablespoon for larger cookies). Form balls of dough, rolling each in the sugar. Place these balls onto the lined cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between them, as the cookies will spread. Bake 14 to 15 minutes. The cookies will have started to brown. The edges will have set; the centers will still be soft. If you like extra crisp cookies, bake them for another minute or two. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet; then transfer the whole parchment sheet with its baked cookies to a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool for an hour before adding the glaze.

6. For the glaze, slowly heat the coconut oil and chocolate in an uncovered double boiler on medium heat, or use a small, spouted saucepan on low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts completely. Then remove the insert pan from the double boiler or remove the saucepan from the heat source.

7. If using the double boiler, place the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, 2 tablespoons almond milk, and vanilla and whisk together. Pour the chocolate mixture over the sugar mixture and whisk well until creamy and just liquid enough to drizzle. Add up to 2 tablespoons additional almond milk, and more if necessary.

8. If using a spouted saucepan, slowly add the ingredients to the pan, whisking as you go until the glaze is the right texture to pour.

9. Place cookies on a sheet of parchment and drizzle the glaze with a spoon. Let the cookies cool another hour after glazing before storing them in an air-tight container. The cookies will be wonderful for up to three days—but in my house they never last that long.

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