A long time friend of mine who is on a strict diet for an auto-immune disease, made the comment once that she liked how I had all different kinds of recipes on my website. I’ve included my favorite normal recipes from decades ago and also new normal recipes because while I am on a very strict diet most of the time, I’ve learned that for special occasions and holidays, if your health allows you to veer off momentarily, it’s psychologically healthier to be able to eat like everyone else and have the traditional normal foods and new recipes for celebrations.
In my previous Easter post, I did a normal traditional chocolate dessert that has a lot of sugar. For this post I’m going the opposite direction. It’s a ‘dessert’ for in-between celebrations. These kinds of foods are something you go through a process of learning to appreciate when you have only known normal food. I remember trying cheesecake made with soaked cashews turned into something cream cheese-like. At first it was strange, and then it became a real treat. There are thousands of recipes like this for every kind of restriction and in this case the cashew cream cheese was a dairy alternative.
The most recent recipes addressing a dietary need involving removing inflammatory foods, and to cut down on carbs to lose weight, have been the grain-free recipes. And in the dessert section of these recipes, you also find the new alternative sugars which add a lot of recipes to your diet plans that is very blood sugar friendly.
These cookies are in this category of recipes where problematic ingredients can be left out or substituted with something else. They are a great dessert-like snack, lightly sweetened with dates, when you are on a strict diet and you’ve reached that place where you just need to ‘cheat’ a little without falling completely off the wagon. If you would like them a little sweeter, you can add 1/4 cup of xylitol and erythritol mixed 50/50 together. Like chocolate, both of these sugar alcohols have health benefits but too much of either of them can cause gut issues.
Other substitution you can make is switching out the 2 chia eggs (chia and water) listed in the ingredients or you can exchange chia seeds with crushed flax seeds and water making flax eggs, or use real eggs. Oats are naturally gluten-free so these cookies are completely gluten-free if you use oats that aren’t processed where gluten grains are processed. If you are avoiding certain nuts, change the ones in the recipe to nuts you are okay with. Same with rice flour. Use sorghum or millet instead.
Coconut flour was the healthy first grain free flour but an equal amount acted so differently in recipes that it wasn’t something you could just switch out with flour for in recipes and required developing separate recipes. Cassava root flour is the latest in healthy grain free flours and you can switch it out in a recipe without having to make adjustments.
Jim’s Chocolate, Vanilla and Almond Cookies
- 1 cup (5.5 ounces) almond flour
- 1 cup (5.5 ounces) rice flour
- 2 tablespoons each of xylitol and erythritol for additional sweetness (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 cup coconut oil (melt in saucepan on low if solid and let cool to just barely warm)
- 2 1/2 cups dates (16 to 20 ounces), pits removed and cut into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or part almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) oats
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa nibs
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Mix the almond flour, rice flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Make chia eggs by mixing the chia seeds and water in a small container and let sit 15 minutes to gel.
Place the dates, coconut oil, chia seed mixture and vanilla in a bowl and mix with a fork separating the date pieces.
Add the date mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Add the oats, cocoa nibs and walnuts and mix well.
Form round tablespoons of the cookie dough and place on the parchment lined baking sheet and press them down. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or until they are starting to look toasted and are golden brown on the bottom.
Pictures taken at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America in Washington, D.C.