Sunday, January 20, 2013

Double Chocolate Cookies (Grain Free, Vegan)

The other day I was taking a walk at our local lake while my kids were in school. It had been very cold (for the Portland area) so the lake was partly frozen over and it was snowing. It was beautiful and quiet walking around the lake. My checks were cold but I was staying warm. As I wandered I took the occasional photograph. This is one thing that I have been enjoying now that I have both of my children in school at the same time once a week. 

Here are some photos: 

When I got back to the car I went home and decided to have a hot cup of tea to warm up. I started browsing Pinterest and ran across a recipe for Healthy Double Chocolate Cookies. They looked great but for some reason I didn't repin them, which was much regretted for the next few days as I tried to find them again. 

I never did find them but I found a different recipe here. I did not have all of the ingredients and I needed a vegan recipe, so I changed the recipe a bit and came up with these: 

These are really intense dark chocolate cookies and they are not too sweet which in my book is wonderful. They are chewy which I love. I am not ashamed to say I have actually had them for breakfast two days in a row. :) 

They are great with my morning cup of English Breakfast tea and even better with my evening (decaf) cappuccino which I will have to tell you about another time because I have a new and wonderful espresso maker (Nespresso). 

These cookies are a lot like Lara Bars but taste and texture are way, way better. They could be shaped into bars and used in the same way a Lara Bar is (like a snack bar or quick pick me up).

On to what you have all been waiting for the recipe:

Double Chocolate Grain-Free, Vegan Cookies:

1/2 cup Almond Meal
1 cup ground cashews (place about 1 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews in a food processor and grind until very fine, measure to make sure you have 1 cup)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flax seed in 1/4 cup boiled water (let sit until thick)
1 medium ripe avocado
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/4 cup chopped medjoul dates
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (we use a version with no alcohol) 

Handful of chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips.

In a medium bowl mix the first 5 ingredients (almond, cashew, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) with a fork or whisk. 

In a food processor add in the avocado, flax seed with the water, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and chopped dates. Process until very smooth. Add in the dry ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time and mix until just incorporated. (After two thirds of the dry ingredients my food processor was out of room due to its very small size so I switched to my mixer but I recommend sticking with the food processor) 

Add in a hand full of chocolate chips and any other extras you like. Suggestions are dried fruit like cranberries, dried coconut, or chopped nuts. 

Get a piece of parchment paper and move the dough onto the parchment paper and then roll into a log shape that is about 1 foot long. Roll the parchment paper around it and place in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

I suggest lining a cookie sheet with parchment. Take the log of cookie dough from the fridge and cut 1/4 inch pieces so they are circles. Place this on the cookie sheet. The knife with get sticky so you could wash it or just be prepared to reshape the cookies by hand into evenly flat circles. These cookies do not change shape while baking. Continue cutting cookies from the log and place on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 9 minutes and remove from the oven. Move to a cooling rack very gently. Once cool make sure to store them in an airtight container. 

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