Aly and I have the same vices. It’s a problem. We can sit for hours playing video games. We both get grumpy without our morning coffee. We both have massive road rage when it comes to stupid – excuse me, challenged – drivers. We both can devour half a bag of chips and salsa in one sitting.
And we can do the same with an entire batch of cookies.
So, when Aly had his ankle surgery this past week, I knew I would have to reign in my willpower and not indulge him his every whim. Video games? Yes, alright, seeing as you can’t leave the couch. Coffee? I guess the doctor cleared it. Salsa? Who can argue with his mom’s homemade liquid gold?
But then he went too far. He looked at me sideways, a grin twitching at his lips and said in a near whisper, “….Cookies?”
I looked at him. He looked at me. I sighed. It was over. We are going to be the death of each other. In sickness and in health, til death do us part, right? Right.
I raided the fridge, the pantry and came up with this gem. My perfect cookie is a chocolate chip cookie that’s soft and chewy with a slight crisp on the bottom. It’s gotta have a slight buttery saltiness, and a deep, dark, chocolatey moment in each bite.
This. Is. The. Perfect. Cookie.
Now Aly has a thing for mint chocolate, so that’s what these are. You can change them to whatever your vice is: peanut butter chips, coconut flakes, dark chocolate, butterscotch, white chocolate.
I highly advise against eating them all in one sitting like we did. You know, if you’ve got the willpower.
Of course, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask you for a glass of milk…
Homemade almond milk. Sweet, creamy, and so damn good for you. Did you know just a quarter cup of almonds provides you with 50% of your DV of biotin, 40%DV of vitamin E, and 25%DV each of copper and manganese? Plus, making it at home means you control what goes into it – no artificial additives or preservatives, just good ole almonds and water.
- ½ cup coconut oil OR coconut butter (Earth Balance)
- 1 cup organic light brown sugar
- ¼ cup almond milk (use the milk from the recipe below!)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract OR 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
- 1 cup unbleached organic all-purpose flour
- 1 cup organic brown rice flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegan (mint) chocolate chips (Enjoy Life, Trader Joe's or Ghirardelli)
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- In a small bowl, whip together brown sugar and coconut oil/butter until light and fluffy.
- Stir in other wet ingredients.
- In a larger bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
- Fold in the wet batter into the dry ingredients.
- When the dough in thoroughly combined, add in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
- Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough on a baking sheet with about an inch and a half of space between them.
- Bake in the oven 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. They will be very soft initially but the edges will crisp up slightly as they cool.
- Don't skip the brown rice flour! This gives the cookie that beautiful crackled surface and crisp edge. It also reduces the gluten content.
- The baking soda and baking powder combined give this cookie it's signature texture. Skimping on one or the other won't yield the desired chewiness and crunch.
- The dough is a great cookie base. Add whatever you'd like to it; I think I'll try crushed pecans and desiccated coconut with chocolate chips next time for a "german chocolate" cookie!
- These cookies are obviously a dessert and so should be consumed in moderation as they do contain a high sugar and saturated fat content, even if the sources of the sugar and fat are good.
- 24 oz sliced, slivered, or crushed almonds, soaked for a half hour and drained
- 24-36 oz filtered water, as needed
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
- 1-2 dates soaked for a half hour OR 1-2 tsp maple syrup or agave (optional)
- pinch salt (optional)
- Soak almonds for half an hour in filtered water, drain, and add to your blender.
- Cover almonds with 24 oz filtered water.
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Add any optional ingredients, plus additional water to thin the milk out to your preferred consistency.
- Blend again on high until smooth.
- To strain the milk, set your nutmilk bag in a large bowl and pour the milk through the bag like a sieve.
- Gather the edges of the bag, holding it above the bowl.
- Twist and squeeze the bag, massaging the bulk of the ground almonds to release as much milk as possible. This may take a few moments. You should be left with a small ball of almond pulp.*
- Store milk in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one week. The milk settles, so give it a good shake before using.
- You do need a high-speed blender for this, but can use a regular sieve for the straining.
- If using whole almonds, soak overnight until plump. You can skin them or not to your liking. I left the skins on for additional nutrition.
- Add whatever you'd like to the milk (cinnamon would be nice) or keep it simple. I used all of the above mentioned optional ingredients, but I think plain is awesome too.
- *Don't toss the almond pulp! You can dehydrate it and turn it into almond flour! To do this, smooth out the almond pulp on a baking sheet to about a 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Set your oven on its lowest setting, about 170-190 degrees. Let it sit in the oven for a few hours until it breaks easily and has a distinct crunch. This means all of the water has evaporated from it. Break the pulp into pieces and add to your clean high-speed blender. Pulse a few times until it forms a fine flour. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.