Saturday, December 14, 2013

Paleo Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I didn't actually have plans to write a post today, but I just had a kitchen experience so frustrating that I had to let it out. Have you ever got all excited to make something new, then once you start you realize that the recipe you are following is so elementally flawed as to not be possible? I had one of those today. And what made it even more frustrating, is that I was trying to bake my very first paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free cookies. 

I have been on the anti-inflammatory plan for about four and a half months now. I am feeling so much better, my allergies are gone, my joints don't hurt, my stomach doesn't hurt, I'm not choking, I'm not vomiting, my headaches are gone... and there is the tiny added benefit that I have dropped 42 lbs. So this form of eating is obviously working for me, and therefore I need to continue to expand my horizons in the kitchen with this type of eating plan.

So that said, I bit the bullet and bought some almond flour, some evaporated cane juice (since this is a form of sweetener that doesn't make me sick), and dairy-free, processed sugar-free chocolate chunks (I use the ones by Enjoy Life... love them!). Then I started looking for recipes. I have a couple of blogs I follow where I really like the recipes for Paleo and Gluten-Free, so that's where I started. I found a picture that looked good, and I dove in head-first. And then I got mad.

The recipe that I started with indicated that I add the ingredients into my food processor and pulse until they form a dough. My first clue should have been that there was no real liquid in the recipe. Two tablespoons of honey was not going to be enough to turn two cups of almond flour into dough. Never going to happen. So the dough part wasn't going well. Then it occurred to me that even if I added enough liquid ingredients to make a dough, it was going to need to be in my mixer and not a food processor, because the food processor wasn't going to be able to handle the amount of so-called dough that was going to be in it.

So I transferred the ingredients into my super-awesome Kitchen-Aid Kick-Ass Mixer (I think Kitchen-Aid left out the "Kick-Ass" part because they didn't want to gloat, but that's what I call it). Then I started experimenting. I added 2 eggs and beat them into the ingredients. That got me a bit closer. Then I added about 1/4 cup of So Delicious Coconut Milk Eggnog (but the Silk Eggnog, or even regular would work, or probably regular coconut milk, too). That got the consistency I wanted. Then I tasted the dough and realized that two tablespoons of honey wasn't enough to make that amount of dough actually taste like cookies, so I added 1/4 cup of Evaporated Cane Juice. That did the trick. Then I folded in 1/2 bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks. Then I crossed my fingers and baked.

 And this is what I got: Soft, cakey, light, perfectly flavored chocolate chunk cookies. I was so pleased with the result, I figured I had better share, because the other recipes out there are seriously lacking. You have to wonder if anyone ever tested them before posting them!

In any case, here is what I did:

Paleo, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes about 25 cookies

2 Cups Almond Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk EggNog
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice (Sucranet)
1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks

Take the dry ingredients and put them in a mixer; add in the Coconut Oil and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix in. Pour the coconut eggnog in and mix until combined. Add the honey and the extract. Add the Evaporated Cane Juice. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the Chocolate Chunks.

Drop by tablespoons onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes. Let cool completely before you remove from the rack.