Deep in the roots of an old pine tree live the children of the forest. Playing hide-and-seek with the squirrels, snowballing in the winter, each season brings it's own adventures. As they move through the year there are lessons to be learnt about the animals they share their land with, how to be helpful in their home life by participating in seasonal chores and of course how they play together in the forest, letting nature be their guide.
We are a huge fan of Elsa Beskow's series of children's books. If this is the first time you are hearing of her work I highly encourage you to browse her stunning selection. Elsa was born in Sweden in 1874, she wrote and illustrated all her own books capturing the hearts of many childhood memories from then till now. Her work is adored by those in the Waldorf education as she speaks to children through storytelling and imagination, keeping her stories sweet and simple. The relate to the earth and our relationships with adult and with animals. Always learning, always giving, always dreaming.
We like to come home from school and read. However, first she loves to play, she comes home after a long day of learning and wants to get right into her imagination. Once she is done, she is tired and it is a great time for us to bring that imagination play slowly back into reality with a cozy story. So we sit with tea, cookies and a book, together we read. Someday she will be reading to me these same books. I also wanted to share this delicious vegan cookie recipe with you, see below.
Vegan Thumb Print Cookies
2 cups whole almonds or other nut like walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts
4 cups old-fashioned oats ( I use gf oats)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
Assorted jams of your choice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the nuts until they are chopped into smallish pieces. It's OK if you have a variety of sizes, just don't grind them to a flour. Transfer the chopped nuts into a large bowl.
Using the same food processor bowl, grind the oats with the salt into a coarse meal. Transfer the oats to the bowl with the nuts, then add 1 1/4 cup of flour, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup.
Pour the oil into the bowl, followed by the maple syrup. (Doing it in this order, and using the same measuring cup, means that all the maple syrup will glide out effortlessly.) Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. If the dough seem runny, add the additional flour but don't worry if it is too soft, as it will stiffen up a bit as it sits. I usually let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Form the dough into rough balls about the size of a whole walnut. The dough will be slightly wet but surprisingly not too sticky. The cookies can be fairly close together as they don't spread much. Using the back of a round 1/2 teaspoon measure, make an indentation in the top of each cookie. Wipe the spoon clean and use it to fill the indentation with your jam of choice.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool further (they're a bit fragile when they first come out of the oven). Enjoy.