Dark Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Date and Flax Cookies

This is an awesome recipe for (secretly) healthy cookies! It’s adapted from the blog Eat Good 4 Life, found here: http://eatgood4life.blogspot.com/2011/03/chocolate-chip-cranberry-flax-cookies.html.Ā  She has a ton of healthy recipes on there, from dinner entrees to desserts. Check it out!

So I’ve never been that big on baking, mostly because I try to stay away from sweets. But I’ve always liked the flexibility that cooking gives you, since you can adapt a recipe how ever you see fit. I’ve always seen cooking as more creative, or at least looser, than baking, since you can change a few things and typically not ruin the outcome. But with baking, you usually have to stick exactly to the recipe. I’m learning that while that’s mostly true, as long as you maintain the correct consistency, you can really play around with the ingredients. So, this is pretty similar to the recipe from Eat Good 4 Life, but I changed a few things.

First, I decided to use raw sugar rather than light brown sugar, since most brown sugar is typically just white, refined sugar mixed with molasses. Since I’m trying to avoid white sugar, using sugar in the raw was a good substitute and gave the perfect amount of sweetness. I actually cut the amount of sugar from 2/3 cups to 1/2 – sugar in the raw is pretty sweet, so the cookies didn’t lack any sweetness.

I've been really inspired by a Morroccan cookbook I got for Christmas, which has tons of amazing photos highlighting the piles of spices found at the markets.

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup oil. I upped it to 1/2 cup coconut oil, since I had a bit more dryness in my dough. I think this is because instead of one cup of dried cranberries, I used 1/2 cup coconut flakes and 1/2 cup chopped dried dates; the coconut flakes might’ve made it drier. So more oil! I really wanted to make sure they came out moist.

Coconut oil is really good for you, anyway. It’s actually a saturated fat, but is composed of mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which are easily absorbed by the body and used as energy. This is unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable oil which are harder to absorb, and therefore end up being stored in the body as fat. Plus, coconut oil benefits your hair, skin (both through cooking with it and using as lotion), immune system, digestion, improved heart health, etc. For more info on coconut oil, check out this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html

Ingredients:

Yield: 14-16 cookies

3/4 cup whole wheat or whole grain pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (same as flax meal)
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
a little less than 1/2 cup melted, cooled coconut oil (it will be clear when melted – you just don’t want to add it too soon after melting)
1/2 cup sugar in the raw
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup dried medjool dates, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Dash of cinnamon (optional)

After you get all the ingredients laid out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk oil, sugar, egg and vanilla (if using). I didn’t use vanilla in mine since I didn’t have any, and they were just as good since the coconut oil adds a lot of flavor. Add flour, flax, oats, baking soda, chocolate chips, dates, and coconut and combine. You can use a rubber spatula…or just get your (clean) hands dirty with a little cookie dough, can’t hurt! I’ll warn you, my cookie dough was pretty greasy, but they came out just right.

Drop rounded scoops onto a lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool in the cookie sheet for a couple minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

They came out very yummy. I think maybe next time I’ll add some nuts. Can’t even tell they’re good for you ; )

Enjoy!! Let me know what variations you try.


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