Location: Dieppe

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies from Linda Chiasson

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies from Linda Chiasson

What do cookies have to do with ArtsQuest? Quite a lot actually. While Gary and I traveled across Canada our senses were aroused as we met so many incredible artists who took the time to share with us their creative passions. On some occasions our sense of smell and taste were treated to the culinary arts of some of the artists. I thought it would be fun to reintroduce these artists, show you what art they have created since we interviewed them, and pass on the recipes of the wonderful goodies they shared with us. I am an avid recipe collector but also discerning; no recipe finds its way to the pages of my book unless it is something I would make over and over again.
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Our first recipe takes us to Dieppe, New Brunswick where Gary and I met a wonderfully enthusiastic lady named Linda Chiasson. Linda handcrafts Teddy Bears from recycled fur coats. More recently she has designed and crafted other furry critters such as Hannah the bunny and Kito the puppy. You can see Linda’s full interview by clicking this link.
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Click on the thumbnail images below to see a larger aspect.

When we first arrived at Linda’s home she ran out to the van to greet us with camera in tow, snapping pictures like we were the ones being interviewed. Talk about a warm welcome! That morning she had baked a batch of Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies. Now, I have tried a few gluten-free baked goods and honestly, I haven’t been that excited about them. These cookies are fantastic! Soft and deliciously tantalizing. They were definitely a candidate for the pages of my book. I was flabbergasted when I heard what the main ingredient was. The idea would never have occurred to me to make cookies out of Chickpeas. I guess I can be grateful for all the pioneers out there who said to themselves one day, “I bet Chickpeas would make great cookies!”. Then there has to be people like Linda who decide to test the recipe first hand and discover that it is wonderful enough to share, and hence that is how it ended up in the pages of my book.
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I made a batch of these cookies the other day so I could include a couple of photos. Oops! I forgot to use parchment paper and burned the bottom of them. Funny thing was the smoke detector didn’t go off so I didn’t notice they were burnt until after I took them out of the oven. I refuse to waste food, much to Gary’s chagrin at times, so I decided to taste one. If you burn them don’t throw them out because they don’t taste burnt at all. They were kind of caramelized on the bottom which gave them an added chewy part. One other piece of advice; if you have people in your life who are not open minded, I would suggest you let them eat a couple first before you reveal the ingredients.
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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup of canned Chickpeas, well rinsed and patted dry
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking powder (if you want 100% gluten-free sub the baking powder for 1/2 tsp cream of tartar + 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp arrowroot powder)
1 pinch of salt if the peanut butter is unsalted
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (don’t leave these out as the cookies are not quite the same otherwise)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor except for the chocolate chips.
3. Process until very smooth.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Mix will be very thick and sticky.
6. With wet hands, roll 1 1/2 inch balls and flatten slightly with a fork.
7. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in a standard size oven and about 5 -6 minutes in a toaster oven.

Yields approximately 14 cookies.

If you would like this recipe for the pages of your own recipe book, I suggest copying and pasting the text into a Word Document and then printing it off. Unless, of course, you prefer the old fashioned pen and paper method like I do.

Enjoy!

The Bear Necessities with Linda Chiasson

The Bear Necessities with Linda Chiasson

This story began back in 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States, was invited by the Governor of Mississippi to attend a bear hunting trip. As bad luck would have it, President Roosevelt was unable to nab a bear, so his loyal assistants captured a black bear with the help of some dogs and tied it to a tree in order for the president to shoot it. Theodore Roosevelt refused, but ordered it to be shot by someone else to end its suffering. Shortly thereafter an idea was born; the “Teddy bear”, named after the president’s nick name and to commemorate Theodore Roosevelt’s sportsman like behaviour toward another fellow creature. Here we are 110 years later and good old Teddy is still going strong.

Linda Chiasson and friends

Who hasn’t fallen in love with a Teddy bear at sometime in their life? Gary and I had a chance to meet and interview Linda Chiasson who was smitten 15 years earlier when she spotted a handmade Teddy bear made from recycled real fur at a local market. With a strong background in sewing, and a love to create everything from the clothes in her closet to the curtains that embrace her windows, Linda confidently decided she could handmake her own darling bears, and she has been doing so ever since.

“Willem”

“Dusty”

When we arrived at Linda’s home and studio, the first thing she did was run out to Arty to greet us and take our picture. We felt a bit like celebrities! She invited us in, sat us in her living room, offered us these fantastic gluten free, chocolate chip, peanut butter cookies (the surprising secret ingredient – chick peas!) and began asking us all about our endeavours. I really thought it was wonderful how she took an interest in what we were doing since we were there because of our interest in her.

“Nikki”

“Cookie”

Linda’s bears are nothing less than exquisite. Over the years she has perfected her techniques and uses only the most pristine once loved furs, and it shows in the superior quality of her bears. A testament to that quality comes from the many delighted collectors from all around the world, some of them anxiously waiting for the newest bear to show its face. Because of the work involved Linda doesn’t make many bears in a year, but when she does they come as a result of everyday occurrences in Linda’s life. She may see an article of clothing like a scarf which becomes the spark for the glint in the eye of a new bear. Her bears are heirloom worthy and easily come with a life long commitment on the part of the new bears owner.

“Lovey”

“Liam”

When our time with Linda was over she sent us on our way with the rest of the cookies, a care package from her vegetable garden and a foam knee pad for Gary to use while he shot video coverage (it has come in handy for many things since then). It is easy to see why someone could become so attached to one of Linda’s bears; they are as sweet as the lady who makes them. PS: She made me miss my mom just a little bit less. Thanks Linda!

Check out our interview with Linda as she shares more about her furry friends and go to her website Bear in Mind Collectibles to see more of her work.