Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maybe I’ll just make a chocolate chip cookie using every nut butter. I’ve already done peanut butter. Cashew butter? Pecan butter? Walnut butter? Soynut butter (…ew…)?

Well if we keep having rainy 65° days in the middle of JULY that inspire me to both wear pink wool socks and turn on the oven, I just might.

And I mean… if they come out tasting like these… I don’t see why not.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Pink of Perfection; makes 13-20 depending on size

1 cup almond butter (256 grams–if possible, measure right into the bowl using food scale! So much easier than measuring cups.)

3/4 cup raw sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt plus more to sprinkle on top

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60%)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix everything but chocolate chips until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place on parchment-paper (for easy cleanup) prepared pan, drop by rounded tablespoon or roll in balls and place. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of each one.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (I actually went like 15, but I think mine were a bit bigger).

Allow to sit at least 15-25 minutes to cool (firms them up).

Crumbly, melt-in-your mouth; the bottom firmed up nicely for some chew. The chocolate chips just brought them to the next level. Also, they are super-satisfying and will quench any craving for chocolate. All-in-all, a success!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If super-soft, rich-tasting, oozing with chocolate peanut butter cookies are your thing, look no further.

If all of the above is necessary, plus the healthy factor, well, you’ve just hit the jackpot.

If you are craving chocolate, in cookie form, but don’t want to make enough to feed five bake sales, this recipe is perfect.

And if you like ice cream with warm chocolate chip cookies… wait, why did I even write “if” in that sentence? There’s no question!

Above, the cookies with vanilla banana soft serve. Perfect pairing!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Texanerin (for more round, exact looking cookies, follow her recipe! Below is more like drop-cookie style)

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, if unsalted also + 1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup-ish chocolate chips/chunks, homemade or Nestle

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine everything but chocolate chips. Get it super smooth.

Remove to a separate bowl and stir in chocolate chips.

Dollop about 2 tablespoons worth onto a parchment-papered cookie sheet.

Bake 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Makes about 12 cookies.

So if you’ve actually read this far, you will have noticed that chickpeas are the secret weapon here, much like in these blondies and this chocolate chunk cookie cake. Chickpeas are mild in flavor but lend a rich-feeling texture when pureed–and match well with whatever sweetener they are imbued with and are especially delicious with chocolate. The batter was wetter than I wanted it to be, but I should probably have dried off the chickpeas like the original recipe told me to… and I just totally didn’t even see that step.

These are super dense in the middle, soft and good warm or cold. The whole tray was gone in less than 24 hours. Plus, with minimal sweetener, chickpeas, peanut butter and heart-healthy cocoa, I wouldn’t mind calling these more of a snack than a dessert! But of course, they’re delicious either way.

Raspberry-Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

I saw this exceedingly cute little recipe while surfing the blogosphere and had to make it. Raspberries in the banana ice cream were inspired by a reader comment.

Raspberry Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

Adapted from this recipe

Unbaked Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies:

1 1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)

200 grams dates

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons agave syrup

1 tablespoon water

Grind oats in the food processor until a flour-like consistency. Add cocoa, pulse to mix. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Food-process the dates, peanut butter, agave and water until blended. Add the oat flour/cocoa and mix until the dough comes together (it’ll become a huge ball).

Lay out a piece of parchment paper, and place the ball of dough on it. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough, and roll it out. My cookies were a little too thick, so I would say less than 1/8 of an inch. You want them thick enough to stand up to ice cream, but not too thick to overwhelm, since they are denser than your average cookie. Cookie-cut and then freeze for at least 1 hour.

Raspberry Banana Ice Cream

Frozen bananas (2 or 3?)

2 tablespoons unsweetened Silk soymilk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup frozen raspberries

Fresh raspberries for garnish

Using the same method as in Strawberry Greek Yogurt Banana Ice Cream, food-process the frozen bananas with a bit of Silk soymilk until the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Process in the bananas and frozen raspberries until the raspberries are all broken up and the ice cream is pink.

Using the cookie cutter, place a frozen cookie back inside, and then scoop some ice cream on top. Place the other half of the cookie on top, and carefully push it through the cutter. Ta da! Ice cream sandwich. Put each in the freezer as you assemble the rest of the sandwiches, and allow to freeze for about an hour or so for optimal texture.

I got 6 sandwiches, with leftover ice cream. If you roll the dough out more… you will get more sandwiches.

These were so delectable and rich-tasting. The Silk, I have discovered, makes the banana ice cream fluffy and amazing–I just assumed it would make it melt faster. So, add Silk always at the beginning and in the middle of processing. But what are you eating? Whole grains, which mean fiber and protein (oats), healthy unsaturated fats (peanut butter), fruit which = fiber, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins (bananas, dates, raspberries)…

Chipwich? Scoff.

(I thought about rolling the sides in chocolate chips, but the cookies are so chocolate-y it’s totally unnecessary.)

This recipe is also vegan, easily made raw, and gluten-free (using gluten-free oats) for those of you interested.

Quinoa + Avocado, Tomato, Black Beans, Corn, and Lemon/Lime Vinaigrette

After three weeks of living here in NYC, I finally cooked!

An oldie, but a goodie.

I figure, in my ovenless, toasterless, food-processor-less apartment, start off with something I know that’s relatively easy. However, there are so many things at home that I just take for granted! Including big bowls, big pots, counter space…

But, made it work! Borrowed my roommate’s little pot to cook the quinoa in, which ended up being the perfect size. Rave reviews from said roomie as well!

And, okay, there’s more to this sudden motivation to cook… Lab barbecue coming up… “Everyone’s bringing something!” Hmm…

Quinoa + Avocado, Tomato, Black Beans, Corn, and Lemon/Lime Vinaigrette

Serves a lot of people as a side dish

Adapted from a couple of recipes

1.5 cups uncooked quinoa

3 cups water

Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Two 15-ounce cans whole kernel corn

2 avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lime

Zest and juice of 1 + 1/2 a lemon

Cook quinoa with the water according to package directions. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine beans, corn, avocado, and tomatoes. Toss with cooled quinoa.

Whisk together olive oil, citrus juice and zest. Toss with quinoa. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to let the dressing soak into the quinoa.

This was as delicious as always, especially when eaten out of my personalized bowl that my college roommate made me for my birthday (I love cows). I love the flavor/texture combination of … everything in this salad! The creamy avocado, acidity of tomatoes, lemons, and limes, slightly crunchy quinoa, sweet corn, and substantial-feeling black beans. It’s also a powerhouse of antioxidants, protein, healthy fats… you can’t go wrong.

Truthfully, I only juiced 1.5 lemons because my hands got tired of squeezing the lemons and limes. The recipe is pretty versatile. Go ahead and juice the rest if you have strong hands or better yet, a lemon juicer.

Also, this is a double recipe… so, halve as desired. Also, onion was used in the original recipe, but I hate the aftertaste of raw onion, so I just left it out. Cumin would be excellent, but, spices are expensive… Props to the fruit stand guys that line the streets of Manhattan for my cheap(er) avocados and tomatoes. Don’t worry, I scrubbed those suckers down until they sparkled.

6/28/2011: Update – my roommate “confessed” to me that she had been sneaking bowls of this salad–it is that good.

Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites (vegan)

Before you run away from your computer to bake these…

… I should probably tell you something.

Some need their desserts to be “sinful” to be considered a dessert.  If a dessert is prepared with healthy ingredients, it loses its allure and indulgence factor.

I am not one of those people. (!)

For me, when a dessert tastes super decadent but is secretly actually pretty good for you, its deliciousness skyrockets. This is amazing but healthy too? By golly, that means I can eat even more! What’s not to love?

So hold your breath… and continue reading.

Chocolate Chip [Chickpea] Blondie Bites

Adapted from this recipe

1 drained & rinsed can chickpeas
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
scant 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar
1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup [non-dairy to be vegan] chocolate chips … or more …!

Oven: 350°F.
Blend everything together except the chocolate chips with a food processor until smooth.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread out in an 8×8 greased pan, or use aluminum foil to line the pan.
Bake for 38-40 minutes, until the edges and top brown.
They will seem undercooked, but hey, it’s chickpeas, they won’t really “bake” like a normal blondie.
Plus, slightly undercooked = yum. Cut into little squares; mine didn’t hold together very well, so bite sized it was.
P.S. You could put in a full 3/4 cup of brown sugar and no agave. I just had a little itsy bit of agave left to use up so into the batter it went!

They’re made with chickpeas, but how can you sit there and tell me that doesn’t look tantalizing? The fudgey middle, the crispy, flaky edges, and melty chocolate. Truth? You can slightly taste the chickpeas in the finished product. If that doesn’t float your boat so well, try substituting them with white beans which have a milder flavor. When you eat these you’re not only treating yourself to something mouth-watering, but you’re getting plant-based protein from the peanut butter and chickpeas, and healthy fats such as Omega 3s from the flax.

But if you didn’t know that chickpeas were in them, you probably wouldn’t guess; you would just think they were the most moist, soft, chewy, perfect-warm-out-of-the-oven-and-underneath-vanilla-ice-cream chocolate chip blondies you’ve ever tried. If you can stop yourself from eating the entire tray, these taste even better the next day.

One (or four) of these plus some tea in my favorite Starbucks mug… scrumptious.

Okay I lied, I had five. But they’re bite size! So in reality I actually only had two. Nice how that worked out.

Eggplant Parmesan

I attempted making Eggplant Parmesan using a slightly unconventional recipe, using almond meal rather than breadcrumbs for the eggplant slices (e.g, gluten-free). Due to very fast replies, I was able to make it the same day as I asked via comment how many eggplants were used! Thanks a lot, Katie!

(I have 4 superfluous eggplants. This recipe used 1. That’s okay. Roasted eggplant here we come.)

The sauce was really good. I topped the whole thing off with Pecorino Romano, so I guess you could still call it “faux parmesan” as in the original recipe; said recipe called instead for pepper jack cheese, of which I had none.

First, you have to make the sauce.

adapted from Nourishing Flourishing’sBest Bangin’ Marinara Sauce

~3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

6 cloves garlic

2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes and/or chunky tomato sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon basil

1/2 tablespoon paprika

salt + coarse ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium. Add diced onions, and sprinkle a little salt on them, and stir occasionally. Add garlic when onions are translucent.

Add spices, stir, and then add tomatoes.

After tomatoes are hot enough to bubble a bit, turn heat to medium low. Stir occasionally and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Taste test and add more spices if need be!

Remove pan from heat, and allow to sit uncovered and cool, then refrigerate. (Or set aside to use immediately.)

Then you gotta do the eggplant.

Eggplant Faux? Parmesan

Once again, from this recipe

~2 cups almond meal  (just ground up almonds in the food processor. It worked out pretty well.)

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium eggplant

2 ethically sourced eggs

extra virgin olive oil

marinara sauce recipe (above)

pecorino romano

Slice eggplant into ~1/2″ thick rounds. Sprinkle with salt.

On a plate, add 1/2 C almond flour, and sprinkle with salt. Stir.

Whisk 1 egg in a wide bowl.

Heat a pan on medium, adding enough olive oil to cover the bottom.

Dip eggplant completely in egg, and transfer to almond meal, covering both sides.

Add to pan.

Repeat, flipping pieces when underside browns. Remove once both sides are browned, but make sure they are cooked through*. Use a paper towel to remove burny bits of almond in the pan.

Use eggplant slices to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking/casserole dish.

Cover with warmed marinara.

Layer leftover slices on top. Cover with marinara again.

Sprinkle pecorino romano all over.

Broil carefully to melt cheese. Serve hot… or cold, which is apparently really good too, according to my mom who had seconds later on.

I messed up on a few things with this recipe… and so will post my mistakes here so you won’t make them, should you try it!

*I didn’t always refill the pan with oil, so the eggplants slices did not always get cooked through even though both sides were browned. Make sure they are cooked! Or perhaps baking the casserole for a bit and then broiling the cheese on top would help avoid crunchy eggplant in the end product.

But, to end on a good note, this is a really good recipe and if not for my kitchen blunders would have been super amazing. I’m game to try it again.