Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paleo-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Even though I don't really eat strict paleo (I love cheese and ketchup too much), I tried my hand at baking with paleo ingredients for the first time last Friday! I made some paleo-style chocolate chip cookies for a CrossFit friend's birthday, based on my friend Olivia's recipe - you can find the original recipe on her blog, Olivia's Palate. To make the cookies paleo style, I used almond meal, coconut oil and maple syrup instead of the flour, butter and sugar found in a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. The cookies didn't quite have the chewy consistency of my favorite Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, but overall they still tasted great!

My first batch of paleo chocolate chip cookies cooling off. 
**Note: if you don't know what the word "paleo" means, I highly recommend taking a glance at "The Beginner's Guide to the Paleo Diet" for a quick and easy breakdown. 

Here are the ingredients that you'll need:
  • 3 cups of almond meal or almond flour (I used almond meal from Sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (I just bought the Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups or 12oz of chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe's organic semi sweet chocolate chips, which I considered to be paleo but some people may be stricter about this)

This recipe made about 3 dozen small cookies, about 2 inches in diameter.

Cookie ingredients. 
To make the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F before you start mixing anything. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Note: I prefer to mix all the wet ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients. But the order of the ingredients really doesn't matter that much as long as you can get everything mixed together to form a cohesive cookie dough. 
3. Next, add in the salt and baking soda. 
4. Gradually mix in the almond flour until the mixture forms a batter. 

Almond meal has a different consistency than regular flour.
5. Measure out roughly 1/2 cup of the coconut oil. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it will need to be melted before you can add it to the batter. I simply melted my coconut oil by putting it in the microwave in a ceramic cup for about 1 minute, but I suppose you could also melt it on low heat in a saucepan on the stove. The coconut oil will turn clear when it is melted, and then you can measure out 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil and add to your cookie dough mixture. 

Solid coconut oil at room temperature looks suspiciously like lard, but it melts easily into a clear oil. 
6. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix the batter until it forms a sticky dough. 

This cookie dough turned out a lot stickier than I thought, perhaps next time I'll add a little more almond meal or less coconut oil. 
7. Spoon balls of cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about an inch apart. I prefer smaller cookies, so I used about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and flattened the dough a little bit into a circular shape. 

Don't forget to flatten the dough a little or the cookies will be too chunky. 
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the cookies turn golden brown at the edges. Remove the cookies carefully from the cookie sheet (as they may crumble if they haven't baked long enough) and let them cool before serving. My cookies didn't expand as much as I expected, but they were still tasty! 

Fresh out of the oven! You can see the grainier texture of the almond meal. 


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