Battle at the Berries Cookies

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(Blueberry and Raspberry Cookies)

Prep time: 15 minutes.  Bake time: 10-12 minutes.

I often argue with friends and family about how skateboarding is not a sport; chiefly among the many reasons I take that stance is that it’s almost impossible to score.  Some of the contest circuits have it down to a science, but, inevitably, no matter how seemingly precise the scoring system is, there’s a healthy group of dissidents who think a contest should have gone another way.  Frankly, I think this is a good thing. One of the most intoxicating things about skateboarding is that it can’t be scored very well and is subject to vastly differing opinions.  I revel in the fact that putting any run on a ten-point scale is an exercise in futility.

That said, all that “skateboarding is not a sport” rhetoric goes out the window when Battle at the Berrics begins.  No need for a point system: save for a toe-drag or a redo here and there, scoring is straightforward, binary.  I’ve been a loyal follower since the first informal game between Mike Mo and Koston and now, ten years later, my wife and I spend every Saturday and Sunday morning watching the pre-game interviews before I skate and screaming at the TV or computer screen when I get back (she’s a keeper).  For an art that thrives on eschewing any competitive nature, it is immensely fun to watch skaters compete at flatground.  In a sense, it’s almost just like watching witty banter back and forth: the less seriously they take it, the more enjoyable it is.  Ten seasons in, it’s still my favorite of the Berrics’ “contest” circuits (I hesitate to use the word “contest,” because the Berrics’ other features—In Transition, 2up, etc.—operate more like a democracy).

While everybody has their perennial favorites, people generally agree that some battles were absolutely batshit crazy.  For instances, in BATB2, it was hard to fathom that anything would ever top the Cole/Busenitz battle.  A few seasons later, I was absolutely stunned at the Moose/PJ battle (triple flips, f/s full cab flips, full cab double flips- I still think it’s the best battle of all time – see below if you really need any convincing).  Then I, along with the rest of the world, was left trying to pick my jaw up off the floor when both Cody and Shane landed nollie gazelle flips (or nollie biggest flips?) in BATB7.  Invariably, my bracket predictions go to shit about halfway through the second round (and that makes the season a lot of fun), but this latest season (BATB10) all bets were off.

I won’t speak for anybody else, but for me, the most surprising battle arc this season was the Chris “Cookie” Colbourn/P-Rod/Malto/Tucker arc.  First, in a game for the history books, Cookie beat out P-Rod with a demon from the past: the b/s 360 kickflip.  The video was over six minutes, so I can’t imagine how long the unedited battle actually was.  Judging from past games, I knew Cookie would put up a fight, but I didn’t see veteran P-Rod getting out on the first round.  That surprise was further compounded when a nearly eight-minute game ended with Malto beating Cookie.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who almost fainted when they both landed front foot impossibles.  And then, out of the blue, along comes Tucker, knocking Malto out just before the finals with a nollie late flip.  Coming down to Joslin, Tucker, Shane and Sewa, it’s going to be a crazy finals night and I can’t wait to cozy up with my wife, bake some good snacks, and watch the insanity (and hilarity).

Speaking of snacks (and Chris “Cookie” Colbourn), this year, I’ve decided to make Battle at the Berrics-themed cookies.  Let’s be real: if you’re tuning in to the flatground event of the summer, you’re gonna want something to snack on, so it might as well be a delicious, healthy-ish (clean ingredients don’t make a cookie not a cookie) plate of blueberry and raspberry cookies.  When it comes to anything other than chocolate or nuts in cookies, I’m a little skeptical.  Raisins, despite adding moisture, are not welcome in my cookies.  Blueberries and raspberries, however, I can dig.  Originally, I was trying to decide which would go better (on the one hand, the blueberries keep their composure and provide a burst of flavor, but on the other hand, the raspberries break up in the dough and provide whole pockets of deliciousness), but then I decided that this occasion was perfect to include both and let the masses decide.  Fellow shredders, welcome to the Battle at the Berries.

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(Chris “Cookie” Colbourn may not be in the finals, but these cookies easily take home the trophy.)

In the spirit of the BATB series, I’ll forego my traditional verbose style of nutritional info and just read out the rules:

This is Battle at the Berries. 

  • This is plant-based only, but that doesn’t mean that anything plant-based counts.
  • That means no gluten. No vegetable oil. No refined sugars. No bleached white flour.
  • No stealing dough with your hands if your opponent (in my case, spouse) uses a spoon to steal dough.
  • Last to the table (only) gets two cookies.
  • Overcooking the cookies gets one do-over.
  • Undercooking the cookies has a bigger margin for error, but will ultimately be decided by the smell and gooiness of the cookies.
  • Let’s keep it clean. Let’s keep it lean.  This as Battle at the Berries and there’s only gonna be one recipe, so may God have mercy on your taste buds.

Let’s cook.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe banana (peeled and mashed)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Grab that ripe banana and mash it up with a fork until it’s a gooey mush. The fewer lumps, the better. Keep in mind that you want a truly ripe banana for this recipe (dark spots are ideal, no green).  Throw that banana mush into a large mixing bowl with the coconut oil (NOT melted), the almond butter, the maple syrup and the vanilla.  Using a fork or a whisk, mix it all up until it’s a consistent mix and there are no lumps or discernible separate ingredients.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, use a whisk or fork to mix up the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, flax seed and salt. Once that’s mixed up, start folding it into the almond butter/banana mixture little by little (try about ½ a cup of flour mixture at a time) until it’s all mixed in and you have a sticky dough. Next toss in the berries and mix them in. It’s ok if the raspberries break up and fall apart – this will allow them to permeate the cookies so that every bite gets some raspberry flavor.
  3. Chill the dough for 10-15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough is chilled, roll the dough into 16 spheres and line them up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. They’ll cook either way, but for a slightly more consistent and aesthetically pleasing cookie, press the dough down a bit so that you make more of a disc than a ball.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the outside is slightly golden brown and they smell like heaven. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a plate. Note that this bake time is going to give them just an ever-so-slightly crisp outside, while still leaving the inside temptingly gooey.
  5. Stack those cookies up, and go tune into the BATB10 finals starting at 7:00 p.m. (PST) at the Berrics.

Makes 16 cookies.  Per cookie: 135 calories, 10g fat, 10g carb, 4g protein.

Happy shredding,

Johnny

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