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Natty bakes without butter. Gasp!

March 22, 2010

Taken by the lovely Devon Proudfoot

Before I get to this shockingly butterless recipe I’d like to address the issue of my previous post’s title and how it may have implied that there would soon be a “Natty bakes Breakfast Part 2″… sigh. I know, I know, I’m sorry. I’m highly aware that for months now, the entire internet community has been waiting with bated breath for the continuation of my breakfast post. Unfortunately I’m going to have to keep up the anticipation even longer because I want to first share this simple snack recipe.

You may wonder why I would post a vegan cookie recipe when I’m so accustomed to reveling in classic, rich and satisfying dishes. This winter I’ve made many big-booty friendly basic dishes such as Martha Stewart’s oreo cheesecake cupcakes, the kitschy and delicious magic cookie bars, beef tenderloin with roasted shallots, spicy molasses cookies, shortbread cookies, meatloaf (yes, meatloaf…I have a strange obsession with tacky 50s dishes, cookbooks, housewife stuff  and the like) a strawberry trifle, coq au vin (inspired by a great dinner my friend hosted), a hearty beef & mushroom stew, a yummy chilli, pineapple upside down cake, gingerbread muffins, pioneer woman’s yogurt-marmalade cake, pioneer woman’s prune cake (don’t ask! Just make it and see…), sesame-peanut noodles, mixed paella etc…Okay, are you feeling hungry yet?

The thing is lots of my staple meals, the dishes which I have made multiple times and continue to make on a regular basis, are less rich but still just as satisfying and delicious, not to mention more nutritious. Some of these Natty favourites include:

  • A warm and spicy slaw
  • Spiced red lentil dal
  • Quinoa with a bit of pesto and cherry tomatoes
  • Chicken adobo
  • My aunt’s recipe for bulgur salad
  • An amazingly flavourful and veggie-based asian noodle salad

I’m also just a big fan of healthful yet filling snacks such as hummus with grainy-crunchy crackers with tomatoes and/or red peppers, roasted almonds (I will share my recipe in a future post), yogurt with a bit of honey & my homemade granola (and may I add that I really hope Canada will one day carry fage total, this amazing yogurt that I became obsessed with for the year that I was in the UK), a bit of smoked salmon on some greens with a squeeze of lemon, finn crisps spread with peanut or almond butter and now, the newest addition to my snack repertoire: jae’s maple-flax cookies. So, as you can see as much as I enjoy the “bad fats” I am also deeply committed to the “good fats”. Just call me Fatty Bakes! Actually, maybe don’t.

Well, my aunt (the same bulgur salad aunt) is the one who directed me to the very vegany & fellow Torontonian jae steele and I found this recipe on her blog. Jae also has a cookbook but I must confess that this is the only recipe I have tried of hers so far. I really love it though. These cookies are a very quick and pretty wholesome snack to bake up. There are only six things on the list of ingredients and they are all whole foods, including even the sweetening agent, maple syrup, which apparently has more nutritional value than sugar due to minerals like magnesium and zinc bouncing around in there. I already had the oil, pure maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in my house and then I got my flax seeds and spelt flour from Essence of Life Organics, a great health food store in Kensington Market.

I just love the inclusion of flax seeds in these cookies. In the prep process they help to bind the batter together and then after the cookies have baked they contribute to the nutty flavour and crunchy texture. Another pleasing aspect about flax seeds is that they contain ALA, an essential fatty acid that belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids which we’ve all heard has lots of great health benefits. As a side note: ALA actually needs to be converted by the body first in order be beneficial for our bodies. The already converted, more efficient forms of omega 3s are DHA and EPA and are found primarily in fish…oops, sorry vegans, omnivores win again.

I usually halve this recipe and it still yields a decent amount (9-10 larger cookies and 16-18 medium sized ones). The only other modification I have made is that I sometimes add some Chinese five spice or the pumpkin pie spices to make the cookies even more flavourful though of course the simple maple-flax cinnamon combo is great on its own. It is also worthwhile noting that since flax seeds contain a fatty acid they can apparently go off if you don’t store them properly. I store mine in the fridge.

Jae’s Maple Flax Cookies






  • 2 cups spelt flour (you could try other flours too but spelt is good as it’s pretty nutritious and contributes to the nutty flavour)
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt. Pour in syrup and oil and mix just until all the flour’s been absorbed.
  • Allow the dough to sit for 5-10 minutes before rolling into walnut-sized balls (or slightly larger) and placing them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
  • Press down on each ball gently with you index and middle finger – they’ll flatten and you make this wavy pattern in the cookies
  • Place in the oven and bake for 13 minutes.
  • Wait for them to cool (they are a crunchy type of cookie) or eat them warm with some almond/soy milk if you feel like being all vegany–I love almond breeze original or vanilla.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sabrina permalink
    March 22, 2010 11:14 pm

    I can attest to the fact that these maple flax cookies are delicious and very satisfying and they look easy too make too. I enjoyed reading your nutitional information.
    Love you lots xx

  2. Evelyn permalink
    March 29, 2010 4:39 pm

    My mouth is watering from all the delicious and nutritious meals you cooked over winter! I cannot wait to read about your summer dishes… mouthwatering light and refreshing no doubt!! You have motivated me to make those cookies as they do look simple to make, a very tasty treat! I look forward to reading up on more of your cooking adventures!

    Warmest wishes and a big cookie monster hug… xoxox

    Love Evelyn

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