I am the definition of a chocoholic. And there’s only one thing I love more than chocolate – and that’s peanut butter and chocolate together.
I was raised on artificial sweeteners (sorry to call you out mom!) so my sense of sweet was out of whack from the get go. A few years ago I started to rid my diet of all artificial sweeteners. So I began taking in a lot more actual sugar to compensate for the excessive sweetness I was used to. Well that wasn’t gonna fly. My energy tanked and my waistline suffered. Onto the next challenge I went – reducing my sugar intake to as little as possible (within reason). I have a sweet tooth, I know myself but also believe food should be enjoyed. As I made all these changes (and it was a rough go the first couple of weeks) my cravings started to dissipate as I no longer reached for the processed artificial stuff. In the most shocking turn of events…I’m now satisfied by a small amount of the real thing, whereas before I could inhale anything low sugar, sugar free, or fat free and never feel satisfied. I don’t count calories and I trust my body much more than I used to.
My new go-to desserts may not always be the low calorie or “diet” fix that some are looking for. When I think of healthy I think of the fewest ingredients, the most natural ingredients, and as minimally processed as possible. The cookie recipe below is adapted from mywholefoodlife.com, a blog devoted to vegan, clean eating. And while I’m no vegan, I’m totally down with her story and point of view, not to mention the fact that I find her recipes absolutely delicious. And with these guys, a little really does go a long way. The natural sweetness of the dates and the filling factor of the nut butter are a winning combination. And of course, they’re vegan, gluten free and have absolutely NO added sugar (should anyone ask). And on another note, they technically can be made lower calorie by making the cookies smaller. Just a little trick of the nutrition trade.
Flourless Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from mywholefoodlife.com)
- 1 cup cashew butter**
- 5 medjool dates (pits removed and soaked in water for 30 minutes)
- 2 T water
- 1 tsp ground vanilla beans or vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (you can add more depending on how chocolatey you like your cookies – I added a bit extra)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Drain the dates in the water.
- In a small blender or food processor combine the dates, sea salt and 2 T new water and mix until a caramel starts to form. Add a little extra water if needed.
- In a food processor, mix the cashew butter, vanilla and baking powder together.
- Add the caramel to the cashew butter mixture and pulse a few times.
- Lastly add the chocolate chips and pulse a few more times.
- Drop cookies onto a lined baking sheet. Using a cookie scoop yields about 9 big cookies. Feel free to make them smaller to get closer to 12.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. (May need an additional 5 minutes depending on your oven – mine needed extra time)
- Wait until the cookies are completely cooled before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze them for longer.
**You can buy cashew butter at the store, but you can also make it yourself in a food processor or blender (or a Vitamix for you high rollers). Just take 2 cups raw cashew pieces and blend them for 5 minutes. Feel free to use another nut butter or even sunflower butter in place of the cashew butter, but keep in mind it may alter the flavor slightly.