Friday, August 14, 2009

Roasted Nut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday my daughter said, "Mom, do you know those cookies you made? You have to make some more. They were so good!" That was quite a compliment, considering she's not diabetic and can eat any kind of dessert or cookie she wants. (To view recipe, see my earlier post Vanilla Sugared Almond Cookies.) But instead of making the same recipe, today I decided to experiment with other ingredients and the fabulous result is only 5.3 net grams of carbohydrate per cookie...and that includes chocolate!

This recipe was inspired by all the delicious roasted nut butters available nowadays. I could have used almond butter, cashew, sunflower, pumpkin seed or hazelnut butter, but my daughter's all-time favorite is peanut butter. It's classic to combine chocolate and peanut butter, but I invite you to get adventurous and try this recipe with other, more exotic flavors. The almond flour is made from raw, blanched almonds and is mild enough not to compete with the more intense flavor of a nut butter. The nice part is that it will add oil to the dough, so you can get by using less dairy butter, which means less saturated fat and more fiber and protein. I suggest using 73% cocoa or higher dark chocolate chips because they bring a big chocolate taste (and less sugar) to this cookie, even though there's only ½ cup in the whole recipe. I purchase mine at Whole Foods or rough chop a dark chocolate bar, which may be more readily available in your grocery. Look in the candy aisle or the displays near the register.

Roasted Nut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes 32 cookies)

1 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup Splenda, granular (not baking blend)
5 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup nut butter (Choose your favorite. If natural, stir before measuring.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips (73% cocoa or higher, rough chopped or use mini chunks)

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and Splenda together with a handheld or standing mixer until sugars combine with butter. Add the nut butter of your choice and beat until mixture is creamy and light. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes until well incorporated and slightly thickened.

4. All at once, add the dry ingredients and, with a wooden spoon, stir until flour is well incorporated and a soft dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or not quite level small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with hand, bottom of glass or criss-cross with a fork. Bake until set and beginning to brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies will not brown much, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Remove immediately to wire rack and cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 80.4 calories, 6.3 g carbohydrates, 5.4 g total fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 1 g fiber, 1.8 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this compare to a traditional Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie? My recipe is much lower in calories and carbohydrates, lower in fats and higher in fiber and protein. For comparison, the average nutritional information for the same size cookie made from a traditional recipe is 134 calories, 18 g carbohydrates, 7 g total fat, 0.5 g fiber, 1 g protein.

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