Thursday, November 1, 2012

Making Cookies a Little Healthier (an experiment gone right!)

Hey guys!
Every now and then I love to go back to my old recipes and revise them a little bit. About a month ago at Natural Gourmet we had a class dedicated to converting different ingredients in very traditional cookie and cake recipes. I particularly found this class to be fun, informative and fast-paced! A classmate and I made chocolate chip cookies, first starting with commercial ingredients such as: brown & white sugar, butter, eggs, semi-sweet chocolate chips and refined flours.
Throughout the day we replaced one ingredient at a time and each time we noticed a change in the texture, taste and shape of the cookies. One lesson I learned is the important role sugar makes in a cookie and that is: spreading. We thought it would be a good idea  to cut back on sugar and add more chocolate chips... But when the cookies were removed from the oven they looked unbaked and had not spread at all!  By the end of the class we had a delicious cookie that was completely vegan, 50% whole grain and free of refined sugar.

                                       ^ the original cookies with brown sugar
Now let’s get back to my revised coconut and chocolate cookies. The original recipe used refined sugar, and I thought it would be fun to make a healthier but still delicious coconut and chocolate cookie. When I first made these cookies I noticed they spread like crazy and appeared flat so, I revisited my memory from the converting class and cut back on the sugar. I also added oats for some texture, black strap molasses for color and removed the flax meal simply because I didn’t have any. As for someone who loves coconut, oats and dark chocolate these cookies make me smile a lot!
1 ½ unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup solidified coconut oil
½ cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (the almond will make the cookie taste like an almond joy candy, if that’s what you’re going for!)
1-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Whole almonds or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet pour coconut and toast over medium-low heat for about five minutes, or until the coconut turns golden brown. Try not to burn the coconut! Once coconut is toasted remove from heat and cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl sift together dry ingredients (except coconut, chocolate chips and almonds) and in separate bowl combine coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, molasses, almond milk and extract, blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until the batter is thick, fold in the cooled coconut. Using a melon baller or spoon drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Make sure the unbaked cookies are about three inches apart to avoid an overlap!) Press an almond in the center of each cookie and bake eight minutes, just until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to set on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring them to cooling rack.
The Chocolate Glaze: Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Stir until chocolate has completely melted, turn off heat and allow chocolate glaze to set five minutes. Once the cookies are completely cooled drizzle each cookie with chocolate, and if there’s extra chocolate dip the bottom of the cookie in the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow chocolate to harden before serving. To speed up the process you can place the cookies in the freezer for fifteen minutes!
I hope you all enjoy these cookies as much as I do, and you’ll stay tuned for more of my revamped and improved recipes!
Have you ever changed up one of your go to recipes out of curiosity?

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