Thursday, July 12, 2012

HEALTHY Cookies... I'm Not Even Kidding

When I discovered I had a problem with dairy, my friend bought a bag of some hoity-toity expensive chocolate chips from a health food store, because I. LOVE. CHOCOLATE.  Well, I didn't stick with the chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips from Hy-Vee for about $3.79/bag), but the cookie recipe on the back was ahh-mazing!  I made it for a healthy pre-k snack on a regular basis, and one kid liked it so much that he asked his mom to start making them at home.  All the moms eventually got the recipe.  They are a huge hit for parents and children alike, without fail.  

I have already listed this recipe on here once, but here it is again: 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies

1/3c almond butter or peanut butter
2T canola oil
1c sugar
1/3 c milk substitute
1t vanilla extract

1c whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda 
1/2 t salt
1c rolled oats
1/2c chocolate chips
1/2c chopped macadamia or walnuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oved to 425F.
2.  Whisk together first 5 ingredients till very smooth.
3.  Combine flour, oats, soda, and salt, then add to wet mixture with chocolate chips and nuts.  Stir to combine. 
4. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet (I use parchment paper).  Bake for 8 minutes, or just until they crack (or just a touch less).  
5.  Let cool on sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

In case you weren't already enjoying that slice of heaven, there it is!  And here are some modifications to make it suit anybody's tastes and dietary needs...

*If you're avoiding peanuts or tree nuts, try sunflower seed butter.  To make your own, leave sun flower seed kernels in a food processor longer than you think you should ever leave anything in a food processor, and it will eventually begin to look like peanut butter.  Add oil and/or honey, if you want. You don't have to. It's good. Or... just buy some. 

*If you're gluten-free, use oat flour instead of wheat flour (make sure they're certified gluten-free oats).  This might require you to throw in another small handful of oats.  No biggie.  Oatmeal is fantastic, nutritionally speaking.  Wait, what's that?  No oat flour?  Process a cup of regular oatmeal in the blender or food processor until it looks like flour.  Yes, that easy!

*If you want to give it extra texture and nutrients, throw in a big handful of shredded coconut.  Y-U-M.

*More dried fruit/nuts makes them even more nutritious.

*You can replace at least half (that's all I've tried so far--more might work) of the sugar with honey or agave nectar.  This also might require throwing in some extra oats or coconut flakes to thicken up the batter. 

*You can cut the sugar down to 3/4 c without noticing a difference.  I've been meaning to try brown sugar in its stead.  I bet that would add some nice flavor, and you could probably use even less.

*Of course, if you love and/or tolerate dairy, you can use dairy milk and butter instead of milk substitute and oil. 

*Coconut oil would be a good replacement for the canola, and applesauce is a great substitute as well. 

If you think about it, these can be breakfast (cutting the sugar down or replacing it helps).  And the healthier versions do often become breakfast at our house. It's also a fast and easy recipe to crank out, with a single bowl left to wash, if you're craving something sweet late at night.   Which is what happened last night at my house, and they were here for breakfast in the morning.  That's why I decided to share it with you today!  


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