Rhubarb Cashew Cookies (gluten free, vegan)

I wanted to take a tasty treat along to the radio station for my big guest appearance on The Fresh & Local Show this morning. So, I decided to make a cookie using one of summer's best treats: rhubarb. My freezer is bursting with bags of chopped rhubarb I harvested from my parent's house earlier this summer. Their rhubarb is the stuff that dreams are made of. Seriously. I grows all summer long, and is the heartiest, healthiest rhubarb I've ever seen. The stalks are large, but still remarkably tender and crisp. And the leaves grow to be HUGE! This stuff looks like it was removed from prehistoric times. So, when I was home back in May, I harvested a ton to bring back to Minneapolis with me. I cleaned it up, chopped it all, and froze it in measured quantities for later. Later like NOW.

Back in the day, I used to make a very tasty rhubarb cookie, but had not tried to reproduce it under my current dietary circumstances. Melding that recipe and this recipe, and making a few adaptations, I came up with something new and fantastic. They are soft and moist, dotted with soft, sweet tart chunks of rhubarb. I made them last night and kept them in the fridge overnight, and this morning they were fantastic. The cookies were met with rave reviews, which I saw as a great honor! The Fresh & Local Show hosts - Susan Berkson, local food advocate, and Bonnie Dehn, the Minnesota herb lady - really know their food. And they loved my cookies! Bonnie suggested substituting the rhubarb with blueberries or raspberries, which I think is a great idea. I used a mix of brown rice flour and sorghum flour; if you try other flours, let me know how they work for you! Free of eggs, dairy, gluten, and refined sugars, these cookies are a hit!

Rhubarb Cashew Cookies

yield: 2 dozen 3" cookies

1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c sorghum flour
3/4 c quinoa flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice or cinnamon
1/2 c Spectrum shortening, or tolerated margarine product, or softened butter (I used shortening)
1/2 c raw cashew butter
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c finely chopped rhubarb

Heat oven to 350º F and prepare baking sheets with parchment.

Combine flour, quinoa flakes, salt, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, mix together shortening, cashew butter, agave, water, and vanilla until totally smooth. I used a hand mixer and thought it worked perfectly!  Bit by bit, add dry ingredients to wet, and stir until just combined. Add rhubarb, and stir again until combined.

Spoon onto baking sheets and bake for 14-18 minutes until dark golden brown and firmed up and slightly crisp on the edges.

Remove from oven, and let cool on pan for 10 minutes. Then gently transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in the refrigerator.