Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Updated: Jan 31, 2020
Now this may seem like a crazy statement for some, but yes….nutritionists have cravings too!!
And over the weekend, I was in serious want of a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Not the oaty, nutty, fruity type (which are still delicious btw), but that real dense, chewy, fatty, chocolate-ly type! You know the ones I’m talking about: the big, round American-style cookies which are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle? The ones with large chunks of smooth chocolate dotted generously throughout...? Ooh yes, that was the kinda cookie I had on my mind.
Now, while I could have made a beeline to the nearest M&S bakery (if you are a cookie fan, then you know what I am talking about); the thought alone made me feel sick. While the M&S cookies were a firm favourite of mine back in the day, knowing what I know now about food and the body means that indulging cravings just isn’t worth the food hangover; blood sugar spikes and the inevitable 2-3 day recovery until I start to feel well again.
I am very much an advocate of indulging food cravings – but you shouldn’t need to choose between nourishment, pleasure and feeling well when deciding what to eat. However, there is a loving way to indulge and there is a self-destructive way.
Yes, there are occasions when we choose that brownie that looks oh so delicious when catching up with a friend at a café. Or when we consciously decide to order those triple cooked chips at a restaurant – that’s fine, it is part of living within the rhythm of your environment…but again, there is a healthy and an unhealthy approach.
‘There is a loving way to indulge and there is a self-destructive way.’
The most loving way to indulge your cravings is to create the food that you desire. Not only does this mean you can create the most nutrient dense version of your preferred treat, but by putting time into preparing something from scratch, you are giving your body the gift of care; of consideration and most importantly (in this day and age) the gift of time. In an age where almost everyone and everything is switched on 24/7, it seems that time has become one of the greatest commodities and as such one of the sweetest gifts.
‘time has become one of the greatest commodities and as such one of the sweetest gifts.’
I created this recipe with all my ladies and their lovely hormones in mind and so you will see that a little maca has been added. Maca is a root vegetable and a powerful hormone supporting agent. As an adaptogen, it can essentially help your body to ‘adapt’ to stressful situations which might otherwise deplete your body’s capacity for hormone production. As such, it can support your whole endocrine system, aiding hormonal balance and reduction of symptoms, especially anxiety and low mood.1
I have also kept the sugar quite low (I mean, what else?) as I feel that with the chocolate chunks, it really isn’t necessary. Choosing salted chocolate in particular brings out the sweetness. Almonds, peanut butter and coconut oil provide a nice mix of healthy fats to balance those sugars. While I work with my clients to establish a healthy ratio of omega 3:6 fats; and so, the peanut butter adds a nice boost of protein to support the adrenals. If you currently consume quite a lot of omega 6 rich foods and/or suffer with menstrual cramps, I suggest switching the peanut butter to walnut butter for a higher dose of omega 3 instead. You could also add 1-2 tbsp of shelled hemp seeds for added protein and crunch. Finally, oats are a very soothing and anti-inflammatory grain, providing a more nourishing carbohydrate option. Make sure to choose certified gluten-free oats if making these for someone with an allergy or intolerance.
2 cups rolled oats, ground into flour
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut or organic cane sugar
1-2 tbsp maca root powder
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup aquafaba*
90g salted dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (I used Green & Black’s)
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
*You can add 2 flax eggs to your dough as an alternative to the aquafaba
Pre-heat your oven to 180c and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a blender, blitz your oats into a fine flour. Add your almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon (if using) and pulse a few times until mixed. Place your dry mixture into a large bowl.
Add your peanut butter and coconut oil to a pan and gently melt together over a low temperature. Switch off the heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Add your vanilla and whisk together.
Add your peanut butter, coconut oil and vanilla mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well. Add your chocolate chunks and aquafaba and stir again until thoroughly combined.
Scoop out 2 tbsp of dough at a time onto your baking sheet. Spread into a circular cookie shape with your spoon, allowing at least an inch of room between cookies. This recipe will make about 6 extra-large cookies or 12 medium ones.
Bake for 12-25 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes.
You can either eat these straightaway or allow to fully cool and store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
Food tastes better when it’s shared so why not wrap up the rest of the cookies and surprise a friend with a special delivery or bring them into work to share with your colleagues?
1. Brooks, N. A. et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause 15, 1157–1162 (2008).