Everybody has a celebrity friend. It's the person you've decided is a buddy because the persona you've materialized in your head about them best fits your requirements for a lasting friendship. Basically, you pretty much think you'd have a shot of being their friend if they just had the good fortune to meet you. Ceri's celeb friend is Gwyneth Paltrow. For sure they'd be lifelong pals. Gwyneth would share Tracy Anderson with Ceri, and they'd laugh over their mutual appreciation for manners (that Madonna…oh, she's so crass.) Apple would be besties with Esme and Moses would show Julian the ropes around Primrose Park. They'd be pretty tight, I'm sure. It's why Ceri's going to be so pissed when she finds out Gwyneth and I spent a morning baking together.
OK, whatever. I didn't do anything with her but bake from her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter. What can I say, my celeb friend Jennifer Aniston isn't returning my calls. My Father's Daughter is a beautiful hard cover about her father's passion for cooking and how he imparted it within his adoring daughter. Filled with healthy, family dishes, Gwyneth surrounds the recipes with stories about their warm history within her family as well as frank dialogue about her personal nutritional decisions and preferences. It's a beautifully paced book filled with gorgeous images. You're also treated to old family photos and shots of her children assiting in the meal preparation. Paltrow shares a lot of the wisdom that foodie friends and celebrity chefs have taught her, so it saves me the airmiles and networking I'd need to create the card catalog of cooking acumen piled high in this book. All in all, it has me hankering to make her sweet potato ravioli, tuna and ginger burgers as well as homemade root beer floats. However, as soon as I cracked the spine, there was one recipe I was determined to make first: lalo cookies. I'd heard Paltrow talk about them during some of her interviews I caught while she promoted the book. I loved the idea that they were so healthy she fed them to her kids for breakfast.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Lalo Cookies from My Father's Daughter
Yeilds about 50 cookies
4 cups barley flour
3 cups raw whole almonds crushed in a food processor (about ten 2-second pulses)
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canola oil
1 cup real Vermont maple syrup
Your favorite jam (blueberry, raspberry, and apricot)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients except for the jam together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Form into tabespoonful balls and space them evenly on cookie sheet. Using your index finger, make an indent in each cookie. Fill each indent with a small spoonful of jam. Bake until cookies are evenly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool before eating.
A great treat for Scarlett and her friends after their weekly music class, we made the cookies one morning. They came together quickly since the recipe doesn't have a laundry list of ingredients. Scarlett loved making the little balls and then pressing her finger into the center. She got tired of filling the indents with the jam, but I was able to whiz through the process. I did think you could easily sub in sunflower seeds for the almonds if you wanted to make them suitable for children with nut allergies.
I cut the recipe in half, but later kicked myself for doing so. Everyone (moms, kids and toddlers) loved these cookies. And, as you could guess, we ate them for breakfast the following morning.