Whole Life Nutrition's Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, vegan, sugar-free)


I've had a totally inappropriate urge for chocolate chip cookies lately.  Part of it, of course, is seasonal - this time of year just CALLS for baking.  But part of it because my sweets cravings are a little out of control.  After getting the Lyme diagnosis six weeks ago and dealing with some added financial and emotional stress, I totally fell off the anti-Candida diet wagon.  It's  not like I started eating straight up cane sugar or anything, or even using a ton of sweetener.  But I certainly started indulging more than usual in sweet stuff and starchy stuff.  Tasty baked goods, homemade pumpkin pie, sunflower cacao fudge, black bean fudge, that amazaké, lots of squash and roasted beets, general overeating...the list goes on...and on...and on....

 Accordingly, my pants are a little tight, I feel fat, and I'm pretty sure that Candida I was having issues with before are back in full swing.

Damn it!  What am I DOING?!  Seriously, where did all that self-restraint and control go?  I think I used it all up last year.  I need to find it again.

Anyway, despite all this, I made cookies not all that long ago.  I was invited to a Holiday Cookie Party, and just couldn't help myself.  My compulsive urge to bake overtook me, and I fell prey to an amazing looking cookie recipe on the Whole Life Nutrition blog.  After meeting great success with a variation on a millet muffin recipe from their cookbook earlier this week, I had decided to make a cookie recipe from the book for this party.  But when I saw this recipe for chocolate chip cookies on their blog, I knew I had to do it: no gluten, vegan, no flour or binders or starches.  A high protein cookie using quinoa flakes and ground nuts and nut butter.  What?!?!? It sounded too good to be true.  I wanted to try it. I needed to try it.  Well okay, not really, but it sure felt like it.

So, I made a few tweaks.   I baked the dough.  The toasty tasty smell while they baked was truly magnificent.  Plus, the extra heat from the oven was a real treat in my chilly apartment.   Then I removed them from the oven, let one cool a little, and tasted it.  Holy crap.  Then I let it cool completely, and finished it off.  This cookie was like a real, bonafide cookie.  The best cookie I have eaten - by FAR - in over a year and half.  Chewy in the middle, crisp on the outside, rich and sweet and flavorful.  Awesome.

Ali, you rock my world. 

Ali's original recipe is posted HERE.  I made the following changes:

  • used 1/2 cup pitted deglet noor dates instead of medjool dates, probably about 12 of them
  • substituted 1/4 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • substituted 1/4 cup honey with 1/4 cup rice milk and 1 tsp stevia extract powder
  • substituted mini chocolate chips with 1/2 cup finely chopped Ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate
  • substituted almond butter and almond meal with 1 cup cashew butter and 1/2 cup ground cashews 
  • baked 14-16 minutes instead of 10-12
Okay, I know the unsweetened chocolate sounds weird. Let me explain: the intense and bitter flavor totally works for me, especially when combined with something just a little sweet.  So, I think it is perfect in these cookies; the sweet flavor from the dates and stevia counteracts the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate, providing a rich and appealing flavor combination, a lot like dark chocolate.  No one that ate these cookies guessed it was unsweetened chocolate - seriously, they all thought they were dark chocolate chips.  You could also use store-bought carob or chocolate chips (Enjoy Life makes a vegan, soy free chocolate chip, but it has can juice), raw cacao nibs, or make your own carob or chocolate chips - it's easy!  Go the bottom of this post for a homemade carob chip recipe that will make your day.  I shouldn't even be eating chocolate.  But again, I just couldn't resist.

Next time I think I will also reduce the amount of oil; I think that 2 T oil might cut it, with a couple extra tablespoons rice milk.  I think it would make the cookie just a little lighter.  I'd also like to try the recipe with Sunbutter and ground sunflower seeds.

This recipe is a winner!  Everyone that tried them at the cookie party really like them, honestly.  The texture was wonderful; dense, chewy, soft, not at all crumbly or grainy or sandy like GF cookies can be sometimes.  They stayed tender and chewy. I froze part of the batch, and was thrilled how well they thawed - and how delicious they were frozen, actually.

Anyway, I just finished off the last ones a couple days ago, and will probably make a batch for the holidays. Then I have to take a serious break from all this cookie business.    Once I start antibiotics in a couple weeks, I really need to be super careful about the sugar - long-term antibiotic use aggravates Candida big time, and I've already got issues.  That road will be rocky.  At least I was enjoying these cookies in the meantime, for better or worse...

When I finally decide to stop eating these slightly cheaty foods, I have an excellent place to turn: Ricki, from the wonderful blog Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, just published her Anti-Candida Feast e-book!  I bought my copy last night, and you can be sure I'll be trying out some of the wonderful sounding recipes!  Some of them need some tweaking to fit with my allergies, but it is full of inspirational, healthy, and TOTALLY ACD-friendly food.  Leave it to Ricki - she is a wonder woman!