Ironically, since quitting grains it’s been much harder for me to give up “healthy” sweets (like oatmeal cookies). I was never much a fan of “vegan desserts” in the conventional sense. I have always disliked cake; I would eat the frosting and leave the other part behind (or pawn it off to my younger brother). Vegan chocolate cake? Whatever, I could take it or leave it. But oatmeal cookies? Now that’s another story. In high school I worked in the bakery & juice bar department at the local natural foods store. Of all the delicious vegan treats we served, my favorite was the peanut butter-banana-raspberry-Rice Dream-protein powder smoothie, followed by (at a close second) the vegan gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies. They were amazing. Best cookie I’ve ever tasted. Upon experiencing an intense feeling of nostalgia, I decided to re-create the favored cookies of my youth. I don’t remember the recipe specifically, but I do know that it involved rice flour (for which I substituted almond flour…and freshly ground flax meal for the oats). I also omitted raisins and went with (sugar free, stevia-sweetened) chocolate chunks instead (I don’t know about you, but when it comes to giving in to dessert cravings I choose chocolate over dried fruit every time). And come to think of it, I always picked out the raisins anyway.
If you’re short on time, you can substitute a dark chocolate chunks or a dark chocolate bar broken into chunks. I’ve resorted to store-bought chocolate many a time (when I needed it for a recipe and did not have the time or patience for the homemade stevia-sweetened version) and in these situations I prefer to buy organic and fair-trade– not only because it’s better for workers (and for the planet in general) but also because the organic and fair-trade variety tends to taste better. Cacao content also factors into my store-bought chocolate decision making– I strive for something above 80%. Keep in mind, however, that the higher the cacao content– the less sweet the result will taste. So if you are a stickler for convention (in terms of the way traditional cookies taste) you may want to add some stevia or your preferred sweetener to the cookie dough ingredients. On that note I recommend the following fair-trade, organic chocolates, all of which are 80% or more and also available in most natural foods stores: Endangered Species 88%, Green & Black’s 88%, and Theo 88%.If shopping at a natural foods store is impossible or inconvenient, Lindt 85% is my go-to option. It is vegan in the sense that it contains no meat (obviously), dairy products, or eggs– but depending on your level of veganism i.e. if you do not eat sugar because it may contain animal bone char, then skip this brand. I avoid food products with “sugar” on the ingredient label as much as I possibly can, yet looking at one and seeing nothing the least bit offensive apart from “ingredients: sugar” has initiated a few purchases* on my part regarding dark chocolate. *Note: I do not consume anything with animal ingredients, but the mention of “sugar” on an ingredient list does not always deter me from making a purchase (especially if it’s at a bodega in Latin America aka convenience store in the States).
Lindt 85% can be found at most big-box stores such as Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer / Kroger, H-E-B, Target, Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens. If you live in Mexico or are traveling there– I have found Lindt 85% primarily at Superama, as well as Sam’s Club, H-E-B Mexico, Soriana Mercado, City Club, City Market, Bodega Comercial Mexicana, Fresko, MEGA, Sumesa, Bodega Aurrerá. *Note: Superama also exists in Guatemala, Peru, and Ecuador.
*Disclaimer: these cookies are so good you’ll want to eat the whole batch.
This is a two-step process. You’ll want to make the chocolate in advance.
3/4 cup dutch process cocoa or raw cacao powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
4 Tbsp stevia crystals (6 packets) or 3/8 tsp pure stevia extract
1/4 cup almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
Heat coconut oil on low until melted. Add stevia, stirring continuously until thoroughly blended. Stir in cocoa powder until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour into an ice tray and freeze until solid.
Once solid, remove chocolate from ice tray as you would if it were ice. Set food processor or blender to “chop.”
*Note: the chunks will not be perfectly uniform–but strive for relatively equal-sized pieces. Set aside.
2 cups ground flax seeds or flax meal
1 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons stevia crystals (3 packets) or 1/2 tsp pure stevia extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 ounces chocolate chunks
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add coconut oil and chocolate chunks. Mix well.
Place spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet or pan (whichever you have on hand). Flatten slightly. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!
Makes about 16 cookies.