Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies

  Well folks, I back from a lengthy hiatus due to this precious little gem that joined our family on April 16th:

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Little Ben totally lights up my life and is such a bundle of joy.  Our family praises God for such a precious gift and we are all totally in love.   But, as much as I’d like to think you came to drool over the baby, I’m guessing you’re here for the food.  So let’s talk cookies!

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   Now and again I have a craving for a really good cookie.   You know the kind I’m talking about…chewy, moist and loaded with chocolate.  The problem is that most of the cookies I’ve tried that use gluten free flour have been sort of lackluster, dry and grainy.  Little did I know that the secret to a delicious gluten free cookie was not to use flour at all!  Instead, a base of almond meal creates a chewy and totally satisfying morsel of goodness.  I’ve made these cookies twice and my kids loved them.  The second time I made them, we shared them with friends and got equally rave reviews.   And a giant bonus is that they contain no dairy ingredients and are sweetened only lightly with honey.  It’s one of those rare healthy-ish foods that doesn’t taste healthy.  It’s also a flexible recipe and you can adjust the add-ins to your tastes.  These are definite winners in my book!

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Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies (makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour, sifted

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp salt 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the chocolate chips and cherries.  In a separate bowl, stir honey, coconut oil and vanilla together (you may need to microwave for just a few seconds in order to get them to liquefy).  Add the egg and whisk until combined.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Scoop the cookies into tablespoon size balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Gently flatten them with your hand.  Bake for 15 minutes and cool for at least 5 minutes before enjoying.  

 

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Vegan Espresso Fudgesicles

Ok, it’s really hot.  I can’t even stand to be outside unless there is a giant body of water available for me to immerse myself in.  When it’s this hot, I am all about finding recipes that require no cooking so I don’t have to make my house an inferno by turning on the oven.  My mom was coming over this week for dinner to celebrate her birthday and there was no way I was going to turn on the oven to bake a cake.  I found a recipe for espresso fudgesicles, that also happened to be vegan, and I felt like I’d pretty much hit the jackpot.   The only thing I had to do was track down those popsicle molds I bought a few years ago to make my picky little eater delicious and healthy yogurt/fruit popsicles (she, of course, thought they were gross, so the molds ended up in a drawer and my kids love playing with them and leaving them on the floor for me to step on).   Shockingly, I found all but one of the molds and I was all set to start on my journey to popsicle deliciousness.

These little gems did not disappoint.  Rarely do I find a healthy version of a classic that lives up to the original, but these were amazing.  Rich and creamy like the fudgesicles I remembered as a kid with a more grown up taste from the bittersweet chocolate and espresso.

Start with bittersweet chocolate, some ground up espresso powder and coconut milk.  Melt together over a double boiler until the chocolate is nearly melted.  Then stir in a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.

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At this point,  you will want to let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then pour the mixture through a strainer to strain out the espresso grounds.  My husband actually likes the added crunch from the grounds so I skipped this step.  Next, pour the mixture into your molds.

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This step is key…you will want to freeze the popsicles overnight.  I tried to freeze them for 6 hours before dinner and we ended up eating them out of the molds with spoons.   I tried again in the morning and the popsicles came out much easier.    Just run the molds under warm water for a few seconds and pop them out.   Share them with your friends or eat them all yourself because they are just that good.

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Vegan Espresso Fudgesicles

Ingredients:

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (you could use milk chocolate if you are making these for kids, but they won’t be vegan anymore)

1 14 oz can coconut milk

1 tbsp ground espresso (coarsely ground if you want to strain it out, finely ground if you want to keep it in.  You can also leave this out if you aren’t a fan of the mocha flavor.)

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Directions:

Melt chocolate, espresso and coconut milk in a double boiler until the chocolate is almost melted.  Add the vanilla and salt and allow the mixture to cool and the espresso to steep for 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a strainer if desired and then pour into popsicle molds.   Freeze the popsicles overnight and then enjoy!