In two days I complete my culinary school studies. Typing this feels SO good! It’s been an exciting, stressful, fun, scary, hilarious, nerve-wracking 6 months of learning how to cook, eat and work with whole, fresh, real, organic foods. I have enjoyed every minute of it, but it’s time for a rest. And by ‘rest’,I mean it’s time for ‘me-time’ spent with my very patient, very supportive friends, husband and this glorious city of New York. Studying full time has meant very little time in the ‘real NYC world’ for me… I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about, regardless of where you are in the world. Studying anything full time means you’re likely to spend a LOT of time in a classroom – or in my case, the kitchen throughout the day. Once you make it home at night – if you’re a good
nerd girl like me – you’ll use your time to get in a little study at night too.
Any social life you once had fades into oblivion and before you know it, you live and breathe (or in my case: cook and eat!) what you’re currently learning. All good, no issues there. Until exams rock around. And suddenly PANIC takes over. Not because you’re not capable of passing, oh no, simply because those four little letters mean a LOT in terms of your final mark. This week, I have two more exams to complete. One where I will be partnered with one of my chef mates to cook (Masterchef-mystery-box-style) a dish encompassing all the main elements: health-supportive carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vegetables. No worries. Pretty confident about this, especially if I’m partnered with one of my most favourite people in the world, Marisa, my ‘CPIC’ (Chef Partner In Crime).
The last and very final exam is one where I must cook a complete meal for my chef instructor that encompasses all the same elements as the partnered exam, but this time, I can choose from a list of supplied carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vegetables. The list is short, understandably, because our instructors want to see some creativity and thought.
So today, I’m experimenting… And with experimentation come a little procrasti-baking too 😉 My husband is at home with me today, so in between mixing, mashing, stirring and blending, I decided to take a break to bake him some of his FAVOURITE cookies: ‘Jammy dodgers’ – otherwise known as ‘Jam Drops’ here in New York City. I first made a couple of years ago when I began experimenting with baking. I made them over and over again until my husband was satisfied they were just the right texture and taste. Naturally, I had to make them healthy, so rest assured the recipe below is organ friendly! Buckwheat is one of my favourite gluten free flours. I love that it has no adverse effects for Celiac sufferers. Although I’m not a celiac, I have many friends who are. And they love this little healthy treat – I hope you do too!
Delicious Jam Drops
- 2 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts (you can also use ground almonds or walnuts)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (non-irridated is best, here’s why…)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2/4 cup 100% organic maple syrup (you can also use brown rice syrup or raw honey)
- 1/2 cup organic butter (you can also use coconut oil)
- 1/4 – 1/3 of my blueberry chia jam
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Place flour, ground hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and butter into a bowl and mix together.
- For uniformity, take an ice cream scoop and carve out equal amounts of the mixture. Use your hands to roll into balls and place onto baking trays – leave about 1 inch gap between each cookie. Use the back of a melon baller, or for a more ‘rustic’ look, use your thumb to make an indentation in the centre of each cookie.
- Fill the indentation with my blueberry chia jam and pop in your oven until they expand and become golden.
- When ready, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool and harden further.