Raven Littleone is my new best friend. To some I call her my half-guru (her partner Peter being the other half), or my mentor. She and Peter Steel, also known as Grampa Gnome, live in the middle of the forest, off the grid using solar power, and wood, and somewhere in a remote part of Ontario, Canada in a region called Nipissing. Up until now, this sounds a bit like a nuts story. But Raven and Peter are living a perfectly balanced and normal life in rural Ontario, with 2 dogs and 2 cats, where they steward the land and precious water around them.
While they don’t have a lot of company, if you come to visit, it is likely Raven will offer you one of her cookies and a big glass of spring water, they call Living Water. Peter will cover you in glitter. You can’t escape it. There is something so regular and good about Raven’s cookies, and don’t think for a second that Raven is like a grandmother or anything like that baking you cookies to make you feel cosy.
Yes she’s a nurturer, but she’s our contemporary. One of us. We are ageless. But we like to eat well, and with her cookies you get a nice snack or breakfast if you are on the run in the city, and even if you are in the middle of the forest or desert meditating. Forget about Soylent. Eat real food cooked by loving hands, your own or by someone who loves you.
After baking her cookies for the first time, and then taking a bite, I felt my spine align. Good things were happening in my body, and I listened to them. Can you prove it scientifically that Raven’s cookies are the bomb? Who cares. Read the ingredients below and make your own call.
Raven forages for mushrooms and greens and whatever her forest offers. That’s part of what makes replicating her magical cookie recipe so difficult. But even without her concoction of wild greens and mushroom flour, I still managed to make a pretty delectable cookie.
This is going to be a recipe I take with me to old age, tfu tfu tfu as we say in the Middle East. This is one that I have already printed out and stuck into a place for keeping things worth keeping. Normally I experiment when I bake, and the results aren’t always palatable. This week when I told my husband B that I had made Raven’s cookies he asked me if they tasted like falafel, because indeed the last batch of cookies I made (for a local mini-Burning Man a couple of weeks ago) tasted like falafel. I’d tried to use as little sugar as possible, by using a bit of silan, which turned out to be 50% sugar anyway, and they came out sort of bleh.
But Raven’s cookies taste buttery, crunchy, and with the cacao nibs, and toasted bits of almonds poking out, as sensually satisfying as a cookie can taste. Let’s do this. Bake with me. This recipe is for 15 cookies. Raven says she usually doubles it, as I did, and it makes about 26 to 30 depending on how you scoop it.
INGREDIENTS FOR RAVEN’S COOKIES – makes 15 cookies
(double this recipe to get 30 or so cookies)
1 cup almonds
1 cup oats or buckwheat
1 cup spelt flour
2 tbsp green powder (in-season dried plants like nettle & mix together to make green powder + dry wild mushrooms & powder.) *recipe turns out fine without this
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt or kelp
1 tsp liquid vanilla
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup almond oil or sunflower oil
¼ cup of cacao nibs
¼ cup of dried fruit (dates, prunes, tiny raisins, sundried tomatoes, currants…)
Chop almonds + grind oats into flour using a mixer, blender, or processor (I use a Vitamix), but Raven uses a hand grinder.
In large bowl add spelt flour, almond/oat mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients.
Quickly add the wet ingredients. Raven suggests losing less maple syrup (like 1/3 of a cup) and then add more if you need more wetness.
Add cacao nibs, and chop up dried fruit into sizes that match your nibs. Stir into mixture.
Scoop 2 tbsp of cookie dough onto oiled cookie sheet. Or use parchment paper. Raven says you can drop jam into the center of the cookie.
Cook at 350 degrees (about 175C) for 12 to 15 minutes. About halfway through the baking process, open the oven and flatten the cookies with the back of a wooden spatula to get some of the air out of them. When toasted to your liking, take them out and let them sit on the counter on the cookie sheet without touching. No touching or they will break apart. These cookies aren’t glued together with eggs or a lot of gluten so hang on a bit so they settle. When cooler to the touch transfer your cookies to a rack to cool completely. Once cool put ‘em in a jar. They won’t last long.
Raven serves them with a large spoon of homemade ghee (see ghee below). Can I say, pure heaven?
Want to reach out to Raven? Email her [email protected]