Chocolate chip cookies are everyone's favourite treat. Your average chocolate chip cookie is loaded with refined sugar and wheat flour. This yummy version with it's crunchy outside is not only packed with healthy dark chocolate but you get a nutty crunch from pecans too.
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Preheat oven to 150c (fan-forced). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Add the almond meal, arrowroot, baking soda and salt to a food processor. Process for 6 - 8 seconds to mix and aerate the dry ingredients.
Add the coconut oil, honey, almond butter and vanilla. Process until well combined and you've reach a moist dough, approximately 20 seconds. Remove the blade and mix the chocolate and pecans in by hand.
Scoop out a tablespoonful of dough into your hand. Squeeze the mixture together, then form it into a cookie shape. Place onto the prepared tray and slightly flatten. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden. Turn the trays while cooking for an even colour (keep an eye on them as almond meal can brown very quickly).
Allow to completely cool on the trays and the chocolate has set (the cookies will firm up more as they cool).
Store in an airtight glass container. These cookies freeze well.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Almond butter may also be called almond spread. It is finely ground down almonds to a texture resembling a paste. In my cookbook I have a recipe for roasted almond butter, which has extra flavour due to the roasting and a little organic salt added. If purchasing a commercial almond butter in a jar, make sure it's 100% almonds.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.
Pecans are a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.