For the past few weeks, I’ve found myself really craving sweets – specifically chocolate chip cookies. I believe (that is, I’m telling myself) it’s because I’m burning more calories. I spend several hours each day chasing our daughter through the house. And lemme tell you, crawling around after her is the ultimate functional workout! Here she is causing havoc on the dog’s bed.
But I digress, the point is I’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies. Since we’re not actively doing #WHOLE30, cookies are (currently) an acceptable indulgence. But not wanting to throw away all the progress we’ve made since transitioning to a more #WHOLE30 Lifestyle, I set out to create a #paleo-correct version without grains or dairy.
I’ve successfully made grain-free gluten-free cookies before and found that unsweetened applesauce was a great addition to the recipe, providing moistness without extra fat or sugars. So, I had it in my mind to use applesauce in this recipe if possible. But I’ve never made cookies with nut flour or tapioca starch (which are considered #paleo-correct baking options). I worried these tricky ingredients may result in a tougher or overly dense cookie, so I consulted the all-knowing Internet for guidance. As I researched paleo-correct chocolate chip cookies, I encountered several chocolate chip + pumpkin recipes, so I figured I might substitute applesauce for the pumpkin. But I found that the pumpkin versions looked pretty yummy too!
So I tried this recipe both ways. I admit that I prefer the applesauce version. But if you’re into pumpkin + chocolate chips, go for it! If you do go with pumpkin, make sure you’re not accidentally purchase (or use) canned pumpkin pie mix which has additional (not very healthy) ingredients. You want pure pumpkin. And you may want to add some pumpkin pie spice (say 1/4 tsp.) to the dry ingredients before you sift, just to really enhance that warm pumpkin-y flavor. With either version, you may also consider adding 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts along with the chocolate chips for a truly decadent (and I might add, deeply satisfying) chocolate chip cookie experience.
The recipe below produced the best cookie I’ve had in years. Hubs even said these were as good as and nearly identical in texture to “The Chewy” from Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. High praise from Hubs since Chewies are his all-time fav cookies! I hope you and your family enjoy these little treats as much as we are enjoying them.
• ½ cup paleo-correct almond butter I like this one from Maranatha brand)
• 1/3 cup organic no-sugar-added applesauce or canned pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 1 cup coconut sugar
• 1/4 tsp. pure stevia extract, e.g. this one from Sweetleaf
• 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 3/4 cup almond or coconut flour (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour)
• 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
• 1 tsp. baking soda (not baking powder)
• 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
• 1 – 1.5 cups dairy-free chocolate chips (I like these Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Mini Morsels)
• Measuring cups + spoons
• Large + small mixing bowls
• 13 X 9″ baking pan
• Nonstick spray or coconut oil (if using aluminum foil to line baking pan)
• Aluminum foil or parchment paper
• Electric hand or stand-up mixer
• Silicone spatula
1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius). Line a 13″ X 9″ baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If you use aluminum foil, spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick spray or wipe it down with coconut oil to prevent cookies from sticking.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well (mixture will still be lumpy). I use a fork for this initial combining.
3. Then using an electric hand or stand-up mixer, beat wet mixture on MEDIUM setting for a couple minutes to thoroughly combine and produce a smooth batter without lumps. Set mixture aside.
4. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients (protein powder, almond flour, sugar, baking soda and salt). This step can be completed quickly by using food processor to sift. It’s quicker and less messy than traditional sifters. Plus, Alton Brown recommends it as seen in this discussion here.
3. Add sifted dry ingredients to wet mixture in 2 separate additions, again using electric hand mixer or stand-up mixer on MEDIUM setting to blend mixtures together. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula after each addition.
4. When batter is smooth with no visible lumps, stir in chocolate chips by hand.
5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and using the same spatula, spread mixture evenly in the pan.
6. Bake cookie bars in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cookies comes out clean. In my oven, the cookies required 19 minutes bake time. But times will vary based on your oven.
Wisdom for the Day:
On this mountain the Lord of Armies will prepare for all people a feast with the best foods, a banquet with aged wines, with the best foods and the finest wines.
~Isaiah 25:6 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.