Before veganism, or the term anyway, I was macrobiotic for at least 10 years. Maybe it’s a right of passage to renunciate at some point in our evolution and stick to it.

I dove in and became a medicinal cook. Using food as medicine, I was able to consider the energetics of the food I was preparing, I knew the healing properties from a Chinese medicine point of view and would take great joy in knowing what was needed to prepare a healing meal for someone. I still rely on those skills to this day.

One of my favorite things to make was a cookie with only two ingredients. Ground almonds and rice syrup. No dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no flour. The nutty goodness is chewy, crunchy and highly satisfying. It’s an alternative cousin to a classic Florentine, just a little more hip. Since I also live in Florence half the year, I like to rif on it.

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3 cups of whole almonds

1 cup of Lundberg’s Sweet Dreams brown rice syrup ( Barley malt is ok, but not the same taste.)

Grind nuts in a food processor. Pulse the nuts until you get an even grind, but not too fine. You want them a tiny bit chunky. look at the picture.

Add the rice syrup and stir with a wooden spoon. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon around a three-inch ball onto the sheet. (Set a cup of water near you to dip your spoon in if it gets too sticky.) Press with a fork.

Bake at 350F for 5-7 minutes. Keep your eyes on these cookies so they don’t spread too thin. They can be as thin as a normal Florentine, but I like them a little more dense. Let cool. Use a spatula to take them off the paper, to put on a platter. Drizzle chocolate if you like.