Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gluten Free/Low Carb Chocolate Almond Cookies

The digital age is really something, isn't it? I mean, information galore is always literally at your fingertips. Just a quick combination of taps and you have access to almost anything you could ever want. Keeping digital recipes is a life saver too. See a recipe on the web that  you like? Just email it to yourself. Or better yet? Pin it.

Ahh, the "Pin". Who among us does not love the joy of Pinterest? I swear that site is like the Target of the digital world; I can literally scroll away hours perusing pin after pin, when I only sat down for "just five minutes". It. Is. Awesome. My recipe boards overflow-eth with scrumptious options to break the daily monotony of "What's For Dinner".

And it is all truly magical. Until you lose a Pin. Has this ever happened to you? Your favorite "Go To" recipe---the one you've learned to not be able to live without, but haven't exactly memorized yet, fails to open up when you need it. What? Where is it? Address Not Found. Cannot Display Page. What is that? What? Wait--NOOOOOOOOOO!!

Gone. Forever.

If you're lucky, another version of the recipe exists, but if you're not---you are out of luck, wandering in a desert of despair, trying to remember the collection of ingredients that once yielded such joy, but now simply refuse to be remembered.

Such was the sad fate of our family's most favorite cookie recipe. Low carb. Chocolatey goodness. Perfect. (And suddenly, it seemed, deleted from all the web-kind.) It's taken some time, but I've finally recreated a version of the recipe that we like even a bit more. It's based on a mixture of flourless chocolate cake recipes, modified to hold up as a cookie. Decadent. Delicious. (And no longer missing).

Best of all, there are choices to be had. You can make them as is, which will yield a sort of Mexican Hot Chocolate sort of heaven. Or you can sub out a few ingredients and make them into a minty dream. If you're feeling adventurous, I would imagine you could play around with the extracts and see what adding orange would do, although I haven't tried that out myself.

Almond Meal Chocolate Cookies (makes about 18 cookies, depending on size)

3TBS butter or coconut oil
3TBS honey
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (I sometimes use blocks that have almonds in them. Yum.)
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon (you should omit this if you're going for a mint version)
dash of cayenne (again, omit this for mint version)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup of almond meal

***If making a mint version, you'll want to omit the cinnamon & cayenne, and add about 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. If you like things really minty, you can push it up to 1 tsp.)***

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Place butter/oil, honey, and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Melt until smooth for 30 seconds. If mixture isn't fully melted (be sure to stir since chocolate will not lose its shape), microwave in increments of 10 seconds until you get a smooth consistency.

In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg until pale and a little foamy. Add cinnamon & cayenne (if using....and add extract if going the minty route). Add in salt, baking soda, and almond meal. Stir until combined. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and stir well. Place bowl in fridge to chill for about 10 minutes. This will firm up the dough a bit more.

After dough has chilled, drop by teaspoons (smaller cookies) or by tablespoons (larger cookies) about 2 inches apart on prepared sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies should be soft on top, but firm when gently lifted with a spatula. Allow to rest on the sheet for 10-15 minutes. They will firm up more as they sit.

***You can also add nuts to this, or for funsies, toss in some chocolate chips too. Yum.