By Frances
I'm trying to perfect my raw cookie recipe, making it as simple as possible so you can easily use alternatives if you have other ingredients on hand. These went down a treat with our toddler so I'll be making more.

1 c raw cashews
1 c buckinis (buckwheat groats sprouted then dehydrated - they give a nice crunch)
1 c sunflower seeds, soaked for a few hours
1/2 c or more dessicated coconut
1/2 c natural sweetener - use more or less to taste (I used mix of date paste, rice syrup and honey) [to make date paste soak a cup of dates in water for a few hours, then blend to make a thick paste]
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch salt

Whiz the cashews, buckinis and sunflower seeds in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients and mix well. It should be a sticky, tasty dough.
Press dough into a brownie or baking pan (mine is 34 x 23 cm). Use a smaller tin if you want chunky cookies or a bigger tin if you want thinner, crispy cookies. Place in fridge for 20 min or so to firm up. Remove from fridge and cut into whatever cookie shapes you desire using cookie cutters or just cut into rectangles/squares.
Place cookies in a dehydrator at 41-45C and dehydrate for 6-8 hours depending how chewy or crispy you like your cookies. If you don't have a dehydrator you can put them in a low oven for a while. Or you could simply freeze your cookies now and let defrost a bit before you want to eat them.

* Cashews, sunflower seeds and buckinis can be replaced with almonds, hazels, pumpkin or sesame seeds, walnuts. Don't use too many brazil nuts though (you only need 3 a day to get your full quota of selenium)
* Instead of coconut you can try 1 Tbs ground ginger, 1 Tbs fresh grated ginger and 2 tsp cinnamon or all spice
* If you want a 0 glycemic index sugar use stevia. From low to high some natural alternatives to processed refined sugar are: agave, fructose, brown rice syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar, barley malt syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses
* You can add chopped dried fruit but lessen the sweetener. Too much dried fruit is not good for you, it contains so much more sugar and calories and is hard to digest. (Beware of cranberries - they are usually more than 50% sugar). If using, soak the fruit for a bit, chop finely and add sparingly.
* Another thing with dried fruit, I try to avoid giving it to our 2-year-old by itself. The sugars stay in the mouth and can cause tooth decay. Best to have dried fruit in a muesli bar or with porridge or other fibrous foods to help break down the sugars. Even better, stick to fresh fruit. All those little boxes of raisins given to us by aunties? I hide them so she doesn't 'see food and want it'. Once she's got that sweet taste in her mouth she just wants more and more. But I was pleasantly surprised that she liked these cookies and bounty bars with minimal sweetener, so I am trying to wean her off the overly sweet foods she may be given when I'm not around.