White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!)

White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate

It’s been a heavy couple months. Does anyone else feel like that? Then again, the weight of the news, struggles with friends, and the heaviness of our own souls seem all too common. Grief, at least on some level, is always close at hand.

The Christian’s life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world.
— Francis Schaeffer

So what’s the point of little things like this? What’s the point of baking cookies or writing on a food blog or sharing ordinary pieces of our lives on the Internet? I’ve wrestled with this often over the years, and I don’t think there’s a simple answer. Sometimes, for me, I do have to set my creative work aside to deal with deeper heartache in front of me. But other times mixing dough and taking photos, moving our hands and tasting what’s sweet...sometimes that’s exactly what we need when the world feels dark.

A few years ago as I wrestled with the purpose of my own work, I came across Francis Schaeffer’s book, Art and the Bible. He asks, “Is the creative part of our life committed to Christ? Christ is the Lord of our whole life and the Christian life should produce not only truth—flaming truth—but also beauty.”

In the midst of grief, heartache, and a dark and despairing world, we have to be people who speak truth—but we also have to proclaim beauty. It’s not about conforming to the world’s standards of beauty but about reflecting the beauty of our Creator God through what we create.

No, it’s not always the time to bake cookies. It’s not always the time to take photographs or play around in the kitchen. But sometimes it is. Sometimes you have to stop and literally taste once again that even in the darkness, God is still good.

White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate

Most recipes I’ve come across that use almond flour or almond meal include it as a substitute for a traditional flour. Sara Forte’s “Almond Meal Cookies with Coconut and Cacao Nibs” from The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods is one of the first that actually celebrates almond meal. Rather than being disguised as a traditional flour, these cookies embrace the texture and nuttiness of almond meal.

My recipe below uses hers as inspiration, changing up the flavors a bit with ingredients like macadamia nuts and white chocolate.


White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!)
Yields about 12-14 cookies
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

1¼ cups almond meal
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
⅓ chopped dried cherries (optional)*
¼ cup chopped white chocolate
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, macadamia nuts, cherries (if using), white chocolate, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until it’s uniform in color. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375. Form the dough into balls, slightly smaller than a golf ball. Set them on a baking sheet about two inches apart. Gently press down the tops to flatten them slightly.

Bake for about 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Serve and enjoy!

*I made one batch with the cherries and one batch without. I honestly couldn’t decide which I preferred. The cherries add quite a bit of sweetness to the cookie, so if you want to tone down the sweetness, leave them out. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, go ahead and add ‘em!


Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

I’m switching gears for a minute and bringing you a recipe for cold process soap! I set this hobby aside while focusing more on food and writing (and chasing my kids around), but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. I’ve been using store-bought soap lately, and to be honest, it does not compare to the good, homemade stuff. I also feel like I’ve been in a creative rut with food and writing, and my temptation is often to forgo creating altogether. When I do that, though, I find I get “creatively stale.” I don’t know if that’s a real phrase, but I’m going to go with it.

To avoid getting stale, I have to switch to a different creative outlet—play music instead of write recipes, read fiction in between theology books, or in this case, make soap instead of food. It keeps me doing what I love—creating—but it gives my brain a break from the norm.

The beauty of soap-making is that you can make one batch, set your supplies in the closet for a few months, and return to it whenever you can. And most of the recipes I write yield 16 four-ounce bars, so you’re stocked for awhile (or you can use them for gifting!).

Soap-making is sort of like baking. There’s a chemistry to it, and you have to play by the rules in order for it to work. But within those rules, there’s so much creativity that can happen. I love experimenting with different base oils, using a variety of essential oils, or mixing in additives like vanilla. This recipe includes only the basic ingredients and not full instructions, so if you’re new to soap-making, be sure to read more about the full process here.

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap
Makes about 16 (4-ounce) bars of soap

This recipe is bright and refreshing. I used a mix of orange essential oil and tea tree oil, and the base oils include cocoa butter, making the soap feel extra luxurious. If you are new to soap-making, visit this post for more info.

Base Oils
16 ounces olive oil
12 ounces coconut oil
6 ounces cocoa butter
6 ounces avocado oil
3 ounces jojoba oil

Lye Solution
12 ounces water
5.75 ounces lye

Additives
Add 1.25 ounces of tea tree oil and 2 ounces of orange essential oil before the mixture reaches trace.*

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

*The scent may seem strong at first, but it will mellow as it cures.


It's Friday! How about we have a giveaway?

Happy Friday! After what felt like an eternal winter, I think we’re over the worst of the colds and sickness in our family. The weather has turned a bit warmer, my kids ran around outside most of the morning, and we’ve got a few more hours of daylight. I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this season. It always amazes me how much easier parenting can feel when the weather is good and kiddos stay healthy!

As the week comes to an end and the season changes, I thought it’d be a great time for a giveaway! Since I write about food, faith, creativity, and motherhood, I wanted to include items from each of those four categories in the prize bundle. So, we’ve got music, beautifully designed greeting cards, coffee and tea, and all kinds of books! I’ve provided links to all the authors, creators, artists, and food professionals in the giveaway description below, so make sure to check each of them out!

Click the button below to read more about the prize items, and then enter with your email address. Make sure to share with friends and family to earn bonus entries. Thanks to FreshGround Roasting and Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy, you’ll also get a little something special in your inbox just for entering.

The giveaway will close on Friday, April 12, so don’t wait too long!

P.S. I’ll be sharing more in depth info about a few of these items over on Instagram, so make sure to follow me there!


Products for this giveaway were provided to Sarah J. Hauser by the artists, authors, publishers, creators, and food professionals. All opinions are 100% my own, and I only promote products I truly love.

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

I peruse cookbooks, watch Netflix documentaries, and read food memoirs. I often find myself audibly saying, or writing in the margins, “Amen!” when I read something about food that I deeply resonate with. It’s usually because the words go much deeper than mere descriptions of ingredients, although those descriptions can be quite rich in and of themselves (see Robert Farrar Capon's chapter about an onion). It would be impossible to plumb the depths of all there is to know about food...but I intend to give it a shot anyway. 

Man invented cooking before he thought of nutrition. To be sure, food keeps us alive, but that is only its smallest and most temporary work. Its eternal purpose is to furnish our sensibilities against the day when we shall sit down at the heavenly banquet and see how gracious the Lord is. Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste.
— Robert Farrar Capon

When my husband and I sit down for a meal at night, especially if it’s a recipe I’ve toyed around with or an ingredient I haven’t cooked before, I drive him crazy with over-analyzing. I think through every bite. Was it marinated long enough? What would I do differently next time? How come it took longer to cook than what the recipe recommended? Does this need a little more spice? I’m sure it’s very annoying, I know, and I’m learning better how and when to express my thoughts about my obsession. 

But there’s something about food that intrigues me so deeply. Maybe it’s the fact that it involves all the senses - taste, smell, feel, sight, and even sound. You don’t get that in every creative outlet. You smell the familiar sweetness of sauteed onions. You taste the saltiness of smoked sausage and the slight bitterness of kale. You hear a soft crunch with every bite, see the pop of color from cherry tomatoes, and feel creamy melted cheese on your tongue. 

Maybe I’m a little too obsessive (or crazy). But when the perfect combination of flavors comes together to ignite all the senses, I get excited. We need food to live, but God didn't create merely for the sake of sustenance. God supplied Adam and Eve with variety in the garden, a feast of taste they could enjoy.

God in his grace does not bind us to mere necessity. He gives us nourishment, and he also gives us creativity, delight, and refreshment at the table.

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser
Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale
Yields about 8 servings

1 pound bowtie pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into ½-inch slices*
1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes
8 ounces chopped kale (remove any hard stems)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving a ½ cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Make sure you stir often to avoid burning the garlic.

Add the turkey sausage and cook for another couple minutes to brown the sausage. If the pot seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of oil.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot. Cook until the tomatoes soften and pop. Stir in the kale, chicken stock, kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes, until the kale wilts and the liquid reduces a bit.

Add the cooked pasta to the pot. Stir everything together, and cook for a few more minutes until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the liquid reduces to your liking. Alternatively, if you need to add more liquid, add the reserved pasta water 2-3 tablespoons at a time. (Pasta water is best to because it helps the sauce adhere to the pasta and adds additional flavor. Plain water will not achieve the same result!)

Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmesan shavings and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

*You can use any type of sausage you like, but note that for this recipe, I used smoked turkey sausage that was fully cooked to begin with. If you use a different type of sausage that’s not fully cooked, be sure to adjust accordingly. 


This recipe was originally featured at Lark + Linen.