A few weeks and multiple batches of cookies ago, my beloved sister Tehya Sky sent me this gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe from California, where she has been making and demolishing them with equal joy and fervour for her household and her friends. She even sent me a photo of the empty cookie jar which had been replenished only a few hours before. In fact, this cookie escapade has increased our transatlantic communication tenfold. For what better wisdom is there to pass down and refine than that of the perfect cookie? In the throes of pregnancy hankerings for something sweet, nuggety and healthy, they landed at the ideal time and the truth is that they have never hung around long enough to photograph or measure. Sometimes we have even eaten them for pre-breakfast – don’t judge us.
I’m not sure where the recipe came from and even since landing in my lap it has undergone a few replacements and adjustments… truly, this feels a little like bakery folklore and I pass it on as a happy keeper. They cookies are wonderfully simple, and yet with quality organic ingredients (organic eggs and a good vanilla paste are vital), and the bitter crunch of pure, nourishing cacao nibs, they need nothing more. I recently added in some chopped dried apricot (make sure to look for the dark, unsulphured ones) and this was delicious; you can play around with the options as the base is solid and versatile.
Unable to find ground almonds, I recently tried using my own, ground from whole nuts in the Vitamix. It didn’t work and the texture was a little off so stick to store-bought ones if you can.
There’s not much more to say apart from that these have rapidly become a household staple for us and finally, after many trials and quests, I have inherited the knowledge for a good healthy cookie that not only rivals but surpasses its beloved refined predecessor.
And judging by the reactions of those who have received them I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with pregnancy cravings.
2 cups / 150g ground almonds
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium egg
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp coconut oil (at liquid temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or natural vanilla extract
optional squirt of maple syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients; in another bowl, beat the egg and then add the rest. Mix thoroughly before combing the two bowls to form a dough-like mixture. If you don’t mind having a little raw egg, you can have a taste and see if you’d like to add a little more sweetness – if so, add a squirt of maple or liquid sweetener of your choice. (I like to keep them relatively balanced with just the coconut palm sugar and a little salt).
Roll into balls (roughly the size of conkers) in your hands and flatten onto a baking tray with greaseproof paper (or a non-stick tray). Place in the oven for around 9-11 minutes – they cook quickly so keep an eye out. You want them to be just beginning to brown on the top before taking them out and leaving them to cool thoroughly on a rack. Too long and you will lose the bite and texture.
Once cool, they will become chewy in the centre but still remain robust. Should they hang around, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days.