Thursday, January 10, 2013

Almond Meal Cookies with Coconut and Cacao Nibs

I'm usually not a huge fan of sweets, but once in awhile I get a fierce craving, which can easily be satisfied by some good quality dark chocolate or a couple dates stuffed with almond butter or a mug of hot cocoa.  When I'm feeling particularly energentic, I'll even bust out some cookies.  Sometimes I'll go all out and make something like triple chocolate chunk cookies.. the kind with a pound of butter and entirely too much sugar.. Paula Dean style. Most of the time, though, I like to use more nutrient dense ingredients in my sweet treats so I can enjoy them with a little less guilt.

Whether it's using coconut oil, chia seeds or dates to replace butter, eggs and sugar I'm always looking for ways to make things a little bit healthier.  Eating a cookie with butter, sugar and refined flour is going to make you feel way different than a cookie made with almond meal, coconut, eggs and raw cacao nibs.  Sure, the latter of the two might not taste AS decadent but it also won't give you that weighed down, spaced out feeling that often accompanies eating sweets.

I ran across this recipe in The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook and instead of bookmarking it to make sometime in the near future I immediately preheated my oven and got to work. This was exactly my kind of cookie, mostly because I had everything in the kitchen to make it and it looked mad simple to throw together.

The base of these cookies consists of almond meal, an ingredient that is becoming more common in gluten free baking.  Almond meal is essentially finely ground almonds and when added to baked goods it adds a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.  Coconut flakes, muscovado sugar, coconut oil, an egg and some raw cacao nibs thrown in for crunch made these little cookies a great afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee.

Almond Meal Cookies with Coconut and Cacao Nibs (makes 20 cookies)
From The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

1 1/4 c. almond meal
1/4 c. cacao nibs
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt
1/3 c. muscovado sugar
1 egg
3 T. coconut oil, melted
1/2 t. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cacao nibs, coconut, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In another bowl, beat the egg very well until it is a uniform color and doubles in volume. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Add the wet to the dry and and mix until just combined.  Put the bowl in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using your hands, roll the chilled dough into balls no larger than one inch in diameter and place on a baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches of space between, giving them a gentle press on the tops to flatten just a bit. Bake until edges just begin to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

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