Rainy days are made for baking cookies… and eating cookies. Or to be exact, eating three cookies in a row plucked straight from the still hot baking tray. What…no, I would never do that! I always wait patiently for the cookies to cool before stuffing them in my mouth. Ha! Yeah right, I mean does anyone wait? Seriously, the person who can resist devouring cookies still warm from the oven is clearly a better person than me. There’s just something about the thrill of burning my fingertips on gooey melted chocolate and the roof of my mouth on piping hot dough that I simply can’t resist. Come on, what’s a few burned fingers when what you get in exchange is mouthful of amazing almond butter cookie mixed with a generous bite of dark chocolate? Clearly the reward far outweighs the sacrifice.These cookies did a fine job of brightening up what was otherwise a dreary rainy day. They also gave me an excuse to try out a new kind of sugar I recently discovered. It’s called Coconut Sugar and is made from the sap which drips from coconut flower blossoms! Pretty cool huh? This is a traditional sweetener that’s been used for years in southeast Asia. The process for making the sugar sounds similar to how we make maple syrup. A little cut is made in the blossom from which the sap flows out and is collected in bamboo containers. The sap is then heated over a long period of time during which the moisture evaporates until a thick paste forms. Sometimes you can find coconut sugar sold in this paste-like form, but it seems that the most common type has been cooked even further until it becomes a granulated sugar.This is the type I bought. It looks kind of like a cross between turbinado and brown sugar. Coconut sugar tastes pretty similar to plain white cane sugar except that is has a hint of caramel flavor reminiscent of brown sugar. I think you could successfully use it as a substitute for either white or light brown sugar. There’s several reasons why coconut sugar is all the rage these days. First, because it’s minimally processed (especially the brands labeled organic) and contains no additives or bleaching products. Second, it has trace amounts of minerals like zinc and iron. And third, it boasts a low glycemic index which is a safer alternative for those with diabetes because it doesn’t cause such a rapid spike in blood sugar. Of course, like every product that claims to be a “healthier” sweetener there are questions popping up about the true nature of this sugar and just how low the glycemic index really is. It’s my opinion that all sugars should be used sparingly regardless of what the GI number is, but what really draws me to coconut sugar is the fact that it hasn’t been processed to death or treated with bleach and other nasty things that I would rather not put in my body. For that same reason my favorite sweeteners lately have been honey and maple syrup. The problem is that it can sometimes be hard to use these liquid sweeteners in recipes that call for dry sugar. In these cases coconut sugar seems like a great alternative.
Speaking of maple syrup…I couldn’t resist including just a little. I suspected that the maple flavor would be the perfect compliment to the almond butter and the teaspoon of cinnamon that I added. Guess what? I was right.
This was my first time making almond butter cookies. Well, actually my second time because the first batch, while tasty, came out with a texture more like cake than a cookie. The solution was more butter-like twice as much butter. I had this theory in my head that since I was including almond butter I could use less regular butter. Not true. Almond butter does not act the same as butter made from a dairy product, at least not in these cookies. The almond butter has a very mild flavor- in fact, I couldn’t detect any almond flavor in these cookies at all. There is a slight nutty taste that is sooo good along with the cinnamon and maple flavors. This amazing combo makes these cookies pretty irresistible in my book. I also added lots of chocolate chips…because I could.
These are lumpy looking cookies that don’t spread much as you bake them. I smashed the first batch down with a fork like you would with traditional peanut butter cookies, but for this batch I decided to leave them as is in all their lumpy glory. If you want a thinner cookie go ahead and give them the fork treatment but be sure to reduce the baking time by a few minutes. Yum!
Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies
makes: 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut sugar or light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup raw almond butter
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
2. In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, or in a stand mixer bowl, beat together the sugar, maple syrup and butter until fluffy with the beater on high. Add the almond butter and egg and continue mixing on medium high until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixer in two parts with the mixer on medium-low. Beat until just combined. Using a wooden spoon fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will not spread very much so they only need a little space in between. I was able to fit 12 cookies on each 9×11-inch baking sheet.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheets once if they are on different levels of the oven. The tops will the slightly browned. Cool on wire baking racks.