Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Loaded Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites

These delicious, little cookies pack a serious chocolate punch and are loaded with good-for-you ingredients. When I planned out the recipe for these cookies, I was thinking about the chocolate-cherry flavors of a Black Forest Cake. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The combination of almond flour, oatmeal, flaxseed meal, cocoa powder (with only a small amount of white flour) gives them the taste and texture of chewy, deep chocolate brownies. The flaxseed meal is a good source of fiber and Omega 3's and each cookie provides 133 mg of Omega 3! Honestly, if you like the taste of brownies, you'll love these cookies. With only 5 net carbs each, you don't need to feel guilty about eating chocolate anymore.

Loaded Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites
(Makes 36 cookies)

½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal
¼ cup flaxseed meal
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons zero trans fat buttery spread (I use Smart Balance)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup skim, almond or light soy milk (original flavor)
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, measure flours, oatmeal, flaxseed meal, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir with a fork to break up any lumps in the almond flour; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and buttery spread using a standing or handheld mixer. Cream in the sugar and Splenda (¼ cup at a time) until well blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.

3. Add ½ of the flour mixture and beat until blended. Add the milk and continue beating with the mixer until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir until incorporated. Fold in the dried cherries and chocolate chips.

4. Using a small cookie scoop or drop by rounded teaspoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes (do not over bake). Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 48.1 calories, 5.9 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 45 mg sodium, 0.8 g fiber, 1 g protein. (Also, each cookie contains 133.3 mg Omega 3.)

Original Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

How does this cookie compare to a brownie made from a mix? This recipe is significantly lower in calories, carbohydrate, fat and sodium. For comparison, the nutritional information for one brownie (1/20th of a batch made from a mix) is 170 calories, 23 g carbohydrate, 9 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 0.5 g fiber and 2 g protein.

Added 6/15/10: After several days, when my leftover cookies were turning a bit stale, I used them to make a Fresh Cherry Chocolate Crisp and it was unbelievably delicious! Pit 4 cups of cherries and place into an 8-inch square baking dish. Toss cherries with 1-2 tablespoons of Splenda and 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Crumble about 6-8 cookies into a large bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cold butter and blend with a pastry blender or cut in with two knives until mixture is the size of small peas. Spoon over cherries and bake in a 350-degree preheated oven for 50 minutes. Serve warm.

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