coming clean

by Patricia on April 22, 2010 · 11 comments

Cookies and milk

Welcome back, I missed you so much! Okay, fine. I’m the one who hasn’t been around blah blah blah, but I still missed you. Let’s catch up over cookies and milk.

Since confessing my sugar sins, I’ve been thinking a lot about food. I haven’t been cooking as much as just thinking (and eating, of course. A girl’s gotta eat, after all).

My thoughts have gone something like this: I eat too much sugar. I should eat more vegetables. That bacon sure smells good. Do people really give up all refined flour and eat only whole wheat? Even pasta? Whole wheat pasta is okay but… Oooo, look pudding!

Well, you get the idea. I want to be healthy but I still like bacon and pudding (and chocolate and butter). Anyway… so I’m adopting what I like to call the Benjamin Franklin Diet or BFD for short, hehe. – All things in moderation… including moderation.

All this means is that I eat healthy most of the time but I’m not going to count or measure or nitpick over details. I know when I’m way out of balance (like when I eat 5 brownies in 1 day) and I know when I’m doing well. And generally doing well to me means I’m not starving or worse: hangry (hungry + angry = hangry. A term I picked up from reading not martha).

The truth is I like food. And worrying too much about making sure every little thing is the right little thing to be eating stresses me out. I H-A-T-E stress. Have you read French Women Don’t Get Fat? Mireille Guiliano takes a similar approach. It’s about balance. I like balance.


In my search for the right approach to food (for me), I’ve been reading Ellie Krieger and Clean Eating magazine. I even started paying closer attention to the recipes in Runner’s World. I’ve learned a little from all of them.

Clean eating seems like a pretty straightforward approach… it’s not far off from what I am trying to do anyway: eat whole/real foods, reduce refined flour and sugar, increase whole grains, etc. But even though my thoughts were already mostly in line with the philosophy behind clean eating, I was still waiting for the other shoe to fall. You know? Like: “No desserts! Ever!” Or whatever.

Then I saw the cookie recipe on the last page: almond butter chocolate chunk cookies. I thought, hmm… sounds promising. Then I read the recipe and saw that it called for sucanat.


Good question, Raven. I’m so glad you asked. Sucanat is a non-refined cane sugar. And the name is a contraction of “Sugar Cane Natural”. So basically it is sugar with all of the molasses left in tact.


So then what’s the difference between sucanat and brown sugar? Brown sugar is refined but a little bit of the molasses is left on it (or added back… which is how you can make your own). Sucanat is drier than brown sugar, more grainy than crystalline. But you can substitute it for brown sugar in recipes.

Looking at the nutritional content for both, they are the same (calories, grams of sugar, etc. per teaspoon). So I suppose the only difference is the amount of refinement. Knowing that now, I would not have made the trip to Whole Foods for Sucanat.

cookie dough

With or without Sucanat, I would make these cookies again. They are gluten free. Have only 6 ingredients. They can be mixed by hand and come together in about 30 minutes (including baking and the mandatory cooling time. Yes, mandatory. I tried to sneak one fresh from the oven and it fell apart and I had to snort up the hot crumbs to hide the evidence which isn’t as pleasant as it sounds).

Cookies and milk

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from Clean Eating, March/April 2010)

Not overly sweet. I used my 1 1/2 tablespoon Oxo scooper and got 22 cookies. Be sure to let the cookies cool completely. These will fall apart if you look at them funny before they’ve cooled for at least 5 minutes. Trust me on this.

Makes 24 cookies.

1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
3/4 cup Sucanat (raw sugar or brown sugar would be fine as well, though I’d use less because Sucanat isn’t as sweet)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I would up this to 1/2 teaspoon next time or sprinkle a little on top before baking to give it a little more oomph)
3 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in the chocolate.
  3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. (Mine took closer to 12 minutes).
  4. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. (Don’t skip this. The cookie will self-destruct if you try to skip this). Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 more minutes (this you can fudge a little).
  • Per cookie: 110 calories, 8g fat (1.5g saturated), 10g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3g sugars, 2g protein


1 Jessica January 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thank you for this recipe. I used Ideal brand brown sugar sweetener instead for even less sugar. However, I used the extra salt and I can’t even eat them. They are way too salty. I think they would have been perfect without the extra salt.

2 Angel April 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

The cookies were a hit!

3 Angel April 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Making these for my kids tonight!

4 Sam May 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I’ve been buying Clean Eating magazine since the very 1st issue a few years ago and I can say that the issues are better than any cookbook you can get, besides the two Clean Eating cookbook’s out there maybe! I just made the sweet potato brownies yesterday, the ones mentioned in the previous comment, and I love them. So did eveyone else I gave them to at the gym I work at. Maybe the previous person who commented did not make them properly. So delicious! Clean eating is definately not about “no desserts ever”. Everything in moderation along with regular excersize. The clean eating lifestyle is more about repecting our bodies and making sure that only premium ingredients are put into them for fuel, like with sucanat instead of refined sugars as displayed in this blog. Clean eating has changed my life and I will never go back.

5 Veronica M. April 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm

I love you for sharing this recipe–it’s perfect for my friend’s son, who is allergic to everything, and who I love to bake for since he doesn’t get to eat a lot of yummy treats. No gluten, no peanuts, no dairy–thank you! Anyway, it sounds like you’re making a smart decision. And I love the Benjamin Franklin quote (and the fact you’re naming your diet after him–lol). I have read French Women Don’t Get Fat and loved it. I have read another book which I can’t recall the title of which basically taught learning to trust yourself/your body when you eat. Eat what makes you feel good and eat until you are satisfied and stop. I am a Clean Eat mag fan as well but don’t have a subscription yet–just got the free one so far! I love their recipes. But DON’T TRY THE SWEET POTATO BROWNIES! DON’T DO IT! I tried them, a friend in WA tried them, and we both agreed that they are the most vile thing we’d ever tasted. Just don’t do it. If you want a laugh, check out the photo I took and read the comments below, starting from the bottom up:

6 Ari April 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

Ooh these look delightful, I wonder if substituting some natural PB would work also? For a bit different flavor.

7 Patricia April 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

Natural peanut butter (or any nut butter for that matter) should work (they’re all the same consistency).

8 Kirstin April 23, 2010 at 6:23 am

This is definitely a subject I’ve thought a lot about lately. I love to make sweets and desserts and all sorts of tasty dishes, but trying to keep my sugar habits in check can be difficult! And you’re right, moderation is key. Great post!

9 Luna April 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

OMG! I have almond butter in my cupboard. And its already got chocolate in it! Woot!

Guess this is on my list for the weekend. Big smoochies girlie and thanks for the post!

10 hannah @ thepastrykook April 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm

i’ve learnt that moderation helps me keep in shape! haha. but i still have some to lose before i can really eat in moderation :P
those cookies look incredible, by the way ;)

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