Okay, I’m not going to mess around with you guys. I’m not going to lead off with a recipe for smoothies or stewed apples (even though those things taste great). I know that’s not what you’re looking for right now. If you’re jonesing for the comfort food desserts you’ve given up, you’re wanting more than just fruit.
I’ve got the fix for you. I’m talking chocolate chip cookies, people.
Now, this is not strictly speaking something I should be eating, because it does have sweetener in it, and some wheat. So this is a “special occasion and/or I’m-going-to-lose-my-mind-right-now” sort of recipe. Make it and eat one. ONE. Hopefully, a bite of something at least a little close to what you’re craving will help you get through the day.
This recipe uses Palm Sugar, also called Coconut Palm Sugar. I use it very sparingly, because it still affects my joint pain, but it’s much, much better for you than white sugar. White sugar has a Glycemic Index of 100, but Palm Sugar has one of 35. This means that glucose is released more slowly, preventing that spike in blood sugar (and inflammation-causing insulin) and resulting crash and hunger. (For a far better, and more detailed, explanation of these things and comparison of sugars, check out this site.)
Another reason I like Palm Sugar is that it is unrefined, full of vitamins and minerals, unlike white sugar which has none. It has a flavor similar to brown sugar, which is why I think it works well in this recipe. I bought mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it at health food stores. Be careful to read the ingredients, though, as some brands will put additives in their palm sugar that you don’t want!
I have read that there is an issue about the sustainability of Palm Sugar, and that it’s better to eat more sustainable sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup. I’ve also read that the low GI of palm sugar has been called into question by some. I don’t really pretend to understand it all, but I do know that this is better than white sugar, and so as a very occasional indulgence, and because of its phenomenal flavor, I like it.
I also use almond flour and a small amount of whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe. So it has no refined grain, but it does have a small amount of wheat. You could try it with all almond flour if you’re gluten sensitive. Whole wheat pastry flour is available in most grocery stores. Almond flour is harder to find. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it in health food stores like the palm sugar. You can also buy just raw almonds and grind them up in a blender or food processer.
Okay, on to the cookies!
The first thing you need for chocolate chip cookies, obviously, is chocolate chips. Which have sugar in them. I came across this recipe for making chocolate early on – I think the very first day when I was going crazy with the idea of not being able to eat sweets. I used this as a basis, but changed it up for my tastes. There is also this slightly more complicated version here that looks good, but I haven’t tried it. You can decide what you like to do and what works best for you.
I’m not saying these chocolate chunks are just like the things you buy at the store – they’re not, because they don’t have sugar. They’ll taste different, and won’t have that sugar punch. They’re also going to be more dark-chocolate tasting, so if what you really like is milk chocolate, then this won’t be that. BUT…they are a good approximation, and do the trick in these cookies nicely. I find that the use of the vanilla and alcohol ups the flavor a lot and reduces the amount of sweetener I need to use. You could also try different extracts like mint or almond, or different flavor alcohols like Triple Sec and Creme de Menthe. Alcohol is a strict NO-NO on an anti-inflammation diet, but don’t worry – the alcoholic part cooks out and just leaves delicious flavor behind. Play with it and taste it a long the way, until you find the flavor that works for your taste buds.
This is what I did for the chocolate:
Homemade Chocolate Chunks
- 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate (a good kind, like Ghiradelli, is best)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 + heaping Tablespoons of raw honey or real maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon kaluha (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
In a double boiler (or in a metal bowl placed over a pot of boiling water) place the chopped up chocolate, butter, and a shake or two of salt. Allow it to melt, and then start adding the sweetener until it’s sweet enough for your tastes. The recipe I found uses 1/2 tsp of Stevia, so you could try that, but I don’t care for the taste of stevia so I used honey. If using honey or syrup, I would start with 2 heaping tablespoons and go from there. Once it’s to your liking, turn off the heat and add the alcohol and vanilla. Stir completely, then spread in a tinfoil lined 8×8 pan and chill in the freezer until set. Once set, chop it up and store in a ziplock baggie in the freezer.
Now for the cookies. These cookies have a remarkable flavor, almost good enough even without the chocolate. They have a soft, crumbly texture to them that is delicious, but a little messy.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- a handfull of homemade chocolate chunks
Cream together the butter and sugar, then add in the egg and vanilla and stir completely. Add the flours, salt, and baking soda and blend thoroughly, and then add the chocolate. If desired, you can add some chopped walnuts or pecans. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 11 minutes.
I hope you enjoy these cookies, and that they take the edge off your cravings. Remember, though, these aren’t supposed to be everyday fare, but sort of “emergency” treats. Have one, and then put them away. Freeze them for a future emergency if you need to. Just the knowledge that you DO have an emergency stash, however, will possibly go a long way to helping you out psychologically.