I’ve never had a huge sweet tooth, but I’ve become more and more fond of chocolate over the past year or so – dark chocolate that is! My friend Erin, who has an appreciation for real food and sweets alike, shared this recipe with me, and I’m SO happy she did! It’s super easy, perfectly sweet, and FULL of real food! I’m a fan of everything in it. If you’re looking for a healthful treat for you and/or your family, I hope you give this a try, and I hope you like it as much as we do!
ON MY SCALE, THIS RECIPE IS A 10 OUT OF 10!
- Real Food – YES
- Gluten-free – YES (use certified GF oats)
- Vegan – YES
- Quick – YES
- Easy – YES
- Accessible Ingredients – YES
- Modifiable – YES
- Healthy Fats – YES
- Plant-based Protein – YES
- Full of fiber – YES
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:
- Unrefined virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil. When purchasing oil, unrefined is always best because it’s processed with minimal to no heat. This recipe calls for a little less coconut oil than the original because I was trying to reach a different consistency.
- Cacao Powder. Cacao is a pure form of chocolate that comes very close to the raw and natural state in which it is harvested. Cocoa, on the other hand, has been processed with high heat and is what we commonly see in supermarkets. The process used to create cocoa (applying high heat to raw cacao) destroys many of the beneficial nutrients. The well-known processed cocoa powder still has beneficial nutrients, but like many things, you need to be aware of the added ingredients.
- Pure Maple Syrup. Just like honey, pure maple is a natural sweetener, so I would opt for it over table sugar, HFCS, or ANY artificial sweetener. However, just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean we should eat unlimited quantities – everything in moderation. The fake stuff, on the other hand, should be avoided at all cost. If you’re not used to using maple, don’t get overwhelmed. The most important thing is to make sure it’s 100% pure maple syrup.
- Clean Almond or Peanut Butter. Whether you use almond butter or peanut butter, read the label. Your nut butter should NOT have a lot of ingredients. The ingredient list should be only the nut (e.g. almonds or peanuts), and maybe salt. While it’s easy to find clean almond and peanut butter, especially in health food stores, it’s not as easy to find them in a supermarket. And don’t let the word “organic” fool you. Just because something is organic, doesn’t mean it includes all clean ingredients, and for the increased price, it should! If peanut butter is a staple in your house and you need it to be affordable and accessible, check out Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter (Creamy and Crunchy). Compare the ingredient label to some of the other well-known household brands.
- Oats. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but because of cross contamination, most are not 100% gluten-free unless labeled that way. Other than race day and fueling recipes, I don’t really eat a lot of oatmeal, but because of races, it’s always in my house. The original recipe calls for quinoa and quinoa flakes, but I made them like Erin and used quinoa and oats. This blog is about finding Real Food for Real People, and quinoa and oats are more accessible. However, feel free to replace your oats with quinoa flakes.
- Dark Chocolate Chips. Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate has many health benefits and typically contains 70% or more pure cacao or cocoa, but there is no set standard. The darker it is, the more nutrient dense it is. As with anything else, moderation is still key! The original recipe that was shared didn’t include chocolate chips, but I added them for two reasons. You’ll notice the cookies are very soft and melt easily. The chocolate helps harden them a little, which is why I added some to the warm chocolate mixture. The second reason is because I like the texture of the chips, which is why I add more once the mixture cooled. And let’s be honest, the third reason is I just wanted chocolate chips in them. I already confessed to liking chocolate.
- Pink Salt. The original recipe that was shared sprinkles sea salt on top, but since I only keep pink salt, I mixed it, which worked perfectly. Chocolate and salt…yum!!!!
SELECTING THE EQUIPMENT:
- Small to medium size sauce pan (quinoa & chocolate mix)
- Measuring cup(s) and spoons
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet for cooling cookies
- 1/8 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 1/3 cup pure maple
- ½ cup clean almond or peanut butter
- ½ cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- ½ cup oats (I used instant gluten-free)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips ( ¼ for warm mix & ½ for after it’s cooled)
- ¼ teaspoon of pink salt
- Cook quinoa according to package. Don’t forget you’re using only a ½ cup of “cooked” quinoa.
- In a sauce pan, combine coconut oil, maple, cacao powder, and ¼ cup chocolate chips and allow to melt over low heat. Using a whisk, mix until creamy. Then add nut butter and mix until it melts and the mixture is creamy.
- Add the oats, dried coconut flakes, quinoa, and salt to chocolate mixture. Set aside until it’s completely cooled.
- Once the mixture is completely cooled, add the remaining chocolate chips (½ cup) and fold them into the chocolate cookie mixture.
- Using a spoon (or ice cream scoop) scoop small to medium size cookies onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Form the cookies however you desire.
- Place in freezer for 30-60 minutes.
- I like them best stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy!!!
HAPPY & HEALTHY