Saturday, February 06, 2016

Quest for a (healthy) chocolate almond butter cookie

Nothing like a perfect unplanned weekend, well not the whole weekend (so far!) anyway, at least Saturday...
I once ate Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter cookie and when I woke up this fine (but gloomy) morning, for some reason I realized that there's a a big hole in my life... it wasn't until a few moments of deep self contemplation did I realize what it was... a hole inflicted by that very cookie I had devoured, something only a perfect homemade healthy chocolate cookie could fillAnd that's how began the quest to bake my own.

After some Googling I found a recipe that was closest to what I was looking for.  Best part was it was egg-less and didn't have anything that I wouldn't normally eat or couldn't pronounce, so very unlike the one I ate.  With tweaks of my own already playing in my mind I was swaying between: organize-n-clean the house(it's in total disarray!), clean the kitchen (barely any space on kitchen platform to work), cook lunch, go to office, oorrr.... bake a cookie!
I don't have to tell you who won... it was that chocolate crazed hound living inside of me, that's who!  (And to tell you the truth, it was totally worth skipping lunch for it!).  I had to go office though, couldn't skip that.

With mind set on the goal, I called upon my good'ol companion, Vividh Bharti.  Vividah Bharat was playing non-stop old melodies, a perfect setting for job at hand.  I needed no more encouragement, I knew I had made the right choice.

In the process, I discovered a few new (old!) songs that I hadn't heard before... that is the best part of listening to music on "real" radio, you always find a gem or two you haven't heard before.  And since this was non-stop gapless program, there were no radio jockeys, no adverts nothing, just pure unadulterated music.  Just me, my radio and cookie, perfectly Zen-like (though there was nothing Zen about it!)My appreciation for behind-the-curtain engineers at the radio station who make this happen grew a bit today, but deepest heart felt thanks to people at AIR who finally made Vividh Bharti officially available over-the-web!

Just about to go into the oven
Let's not digress too much.

There was but one hurdle in otherwise perfect quest for a perfect cookie...  I was short of 2 very important ingredients: oats flour and buckwheat flour.  I wasn't in a mood to go out and shop, lest then I would have to finish other (boring) outdoorsy chores too.  I obviously had some buckwheat and oats at hand, so I put them in my good trust NutriBullet, for I knew she could handle it in a jiffy and indeed a few zaps later I had perfect oat and buckwheat flours!  Problem solved.
I followed the discovered recipe pretty much to the word, only change I made was to add molasses and almost double/triple the amount of nuts and cocoa powder.  'Nough histroy, let's get to baking...

First, My Personal Tips:

  • Always roast the nuts.  Make sure you give enough time to cool them down, an hour maybe (you can always roast and keep some in airtight container for later use).  If you use them warm they become too soft and take away all the fun of having crunchy nuts in the cookies.  You can use almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts or any other nut you love
  • If the honey and/or coconut oil is solid (like it always is in the Pacific Northwest) don't microwave, rather just put the required amount in a small bowl, place the bowl in a larger one and add hot water to the larger bowl (on general principle, I avoid microwave if I can).  In a few minutes you'll have them nice and flowing.
  • DO NOT, PLEASE DO NOT use store-bought run-of-the-mill cocoa/cocao powder.  For the perfect umph, use really high quality minimally processed raw cocoa powder.  Ever since I have discovered this ingredient, my kitchen-life hasn't been same again.
I know the list of ingredients looks a bit long for purportedly simple recipe, but trust me, this is a very very forgiving cookie (again very zen-like) and very simple to make.  Doesn't turn out bad if you don't proportion a few ingredients right.  You'll have to take my word on it for now.
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup each of: buckwheat, oat and whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I used way more than that!)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds & walnuts, chopped and toasted (or any of the nuts you love)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (optional)
Cooking Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/175C
  • Whisk together the honey, coconut oil, almond butter and vanilla in a bowl
  • Add the next five ingredients, rolled oats, cocoa and 3 flours; mix until just combined
  • You are not looking for the regular perfect smooth blob of dough, so don't try to mash it into one!
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and (cooled down) nuts
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie
  • Flatten into a circle—they will not spread once they start baking but they will break, so you'll have to muster some skill
  • Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the tops look dry
  • Remove and let it cool completely before serving, lest you'll burn your tongue from the still lava-hot choco-chips hidden inside (don't ask me how I know this!)
That's how mixed ingredients should look like

What would I do differently:
  1. Add more blackstrap molasses
  2. Experiment adding some more variety of grains
  3. For a small batch I made, I would rather use a small counter-top oven versus the huge cooking range one
Out came scrumptious Chocolate Almond Butter cookie!