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.
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).
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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in the chocolate.
- 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).
- 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