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Monday, November 17, 2014

These almond flour Chocolate Chunk Cookies are hard to beat

When I was in junior high and high school I used to make chocolate chip cookies all the time. We're hosting a book club or Latin class or a potluck at our house? Chocolate chip cookies. We're going to any event ever and we need to bring a dessert? Chocolate chip cookies. I'm going over to a friend's house to hang out? Let's make chocolate chip cookies together! We just want a nice dessert? Chocolate chip cookies.

But wait... there's more to these cookies than meets the eye!

In our family of nine the process of making cookies took a bit of time... I had to double or triple the recipe, invite a little sister or two to "help", and deal with big ole fingers of three brothers and a dad who'd somehow pass by the kitchen so often when they heard those three magical words. Just scooping out three batches of cookies onto pans, baking them (without burning them!) removing them to cool and repeating at least twice was a handful, but I had the recipe and process down to a science. And my cookies were GOOD. When I went to college I'd often hear about mom making cookies and my little sibs complain how they just weren't the same. Recently my sister Maria has taken up the gauntlet at home and makes some pretty killer cookies, but I flatter myself saying she learned from the best. 

Given this background, imagine my dismay at 21 years old learning that I am allergic to wheat. Bread is hard to live without but cookies??? Seemed impossible. But for four years I managed the impossible and went without. Then not long ago the craving hit so hard that I determined to find a recipe that would work for me. A recipe with honey instead of sugar, with almond flour instead of wheat, and in which I'd cut up a chocolate bar into chunks since normal sized chocolate chips aren't being imported here for the moment. And, despite my conviction I wouldn't find anything remotely resembling what I used to whip up, I did.

These cookies are not only much healthier than the sugar/wheat variety, but I swear they taste better. They're richer and give you a pleasant sensation of heaviness due to the almond flour, meaning you really can't eat more than two at a time even if you wanted. Othman LOVES them too, and he's all about the sugar (and wheat) so that endorsement is a pretty weighty one.

So without further ado, here is the recipe I took from Wellness Mama  and adapted to meet my own needs. 

Almond Flour Chocolate Chunk Cookies

-2 cups almond flour
-1/2 t baking soda
-1/4 t salt
-1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
-1/3 cup honey
-1 large egg
-1 1/2 T vanilla extract
-up to 1/2 cup oats
-1 cup chocolate chunks OR 3/4 cup chopped chocolate bar chunks
-1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Put the first three ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork to separate any clumps in the almond flour.

In a separate bowl combine the butter or coconut oil with the honey and stir vigorously until it's totally combined and has a creamy consistency (you can use an immersion blender for this if desired).

Add the egg and the vanilla to the wet mixture and mix well.

Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. 

Add the oats until you've achieved the desired consistency, then add the chocolate and nuts if desired. 

Drop small tablespoons of dough onto a silicone baking sheet or well-greased conventional baking sheet, and shape slightly with fingers (they won't really spread or get bigger while baking). 

Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them! When you get them out be very gentle when removing them from the pan (this is why silicone is best) because they will be very soft. After about 5 minutes of cooling they'll be hard enough to pick up and eat!

Enjoy these cookies fresh out of the oven, or the Braga-Henebry way--frozen! Put them in a gallon ziplock bag and freeze them, and when you feel like a treat grab one and eat it straight from the freezer. So delicious. Enjoy!!

Note: to make these GAPS-friendly simply take out the oats, which are important but not essential for these to turn out well.

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