Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saint Herman of Alaska and Spiced Snickerdoodles

Father Herman with Northern Lights behind him.
Painting by Poppy and I, with a little clip-art monk.
    December 13th is one of the days that Orthodox Christians remember Saint Herman of Alaska, a Russian monk who lived among the Aleut people two hundred years ago. He settled on Spruce Island and cared deeply for the villagers there, sharing with them God's love and his very life. He taught them to boil salt out of the ocean water and preserve food for winter, and he defended them against corrupt traders who sought to exploit and abuse them and their land. He was greatly loved and respected by those who knew him. The Aleuts called him Apa, or Grandfather, and he did all he could to help, care for, and protect those in need.

Peregrine chose for us to paint the story of when a tsunami was coming and Father Herman placed an icon in the sand, praying to God to save the village. In faith he said the waves would come no further than where the icon stood, and they didn't.
Both paintings were inspired by the book North Star: Saint Herman of Alaska.

Our Playmobil advent calendar was transformed into a scene on Spruce Island today, complete with Father Herman, who was a borrowed shepherd from our nativity set, and a little paper church. It is said that the animals all loved Saint Herman and even bears would eat out of his hand!

Father Herman loved children, and would bake lots of biscuits and cookies to share with them. In his honor we made some cookies and all enjoyed them very much.

    These cookies are inspired by Glutenfreefix's Snickerdoodles recipe. I made several changes, and these are gluten free and also vegan. They are delicious, and still very healthy.  I'm really happy with the texture, which is just a little chewy in the middle but has a nice crunch on the outside. I added more spices than a typical snickerdoodle, and so these are more of a cross between a spice cookie and snicker- doodles. Enjoy! 

Saint Herman Day Cookies
Gluten Free and Vegan
1 C Coconut Oil, room temperature
1/2 C Honey
1/4 C Coconut Sugar or other granulated sugar
1 t. Vanilla

1 1/2 C Almond Flour
2/3 C Coconut Flour
1/2 C Gluten Free Flour of your choice (I use a blend)
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Sea Salt
1/2 t each Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger

Cinnamon-Sugar blend for rolling

 Mix Coconut Oil, Honey, Sugar, and Vanilla in a mixer until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. If the dough is too soft to roll into balls let it rest in the refrigerator for a half hour or so. Form into 1-inch balls and roll in Cinnamon Sugar to coat. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet. Press each ball gently to flatten just a bit. Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes. You'll know they're done when they've flattened, puffed, and just started to look a bit "cracked" on top. Take them out when they still feel pretty soft if you prefer a more chewy cookie. Cool for a few minutes on the pan before placing on a rack. 
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter and Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday


  1. Lovely post! I liked learning about Saint Herman and what you did to honor him. I also really like your paintings!

  2. I enjoyed this so much. Thank you for sharing it! You have taught me about a wonderful Saint today.

  3. Gosh I want to make these!!! Billy can't eat gluten. I have no oven though; know of a good no bake gluten free cookie recipe??

    Very interesting to learn about this Saint!!

  4. Elizabeth... I have a great no-bake recipe here, and I think you could find the ingredients in Thailand too!

    And here's another yummy treat that's frozen:

  5. We celebrate St. Herman tomorrow- I was googling for ideas and this came up- thanks!!!!! :)


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