cookie dough bites
From quiet Alabama mornings with my Nana's chocolate chip cake to baking these magical grain-free and vegan chocolate chunk cookies on rainy days, I've always had love for the classic, all-American combination of a sweet vanilla base punctuated by rich bursts of cacao. That's right: it may not be as exotic as butterfly pea flower tea or pistachio, where dessert flavors are concerned, but the truth is that I am a chocolate chip Cookie Monster. Big time.
And, like many others, I enjoy the dough of a chocolate chip cookie even more than the finished product. A pinched-off corner (or four or five) of Nestle Toll House cookie dough was a longtime favorite after-school snack. Once I began flirting with the dairy-free life, I happily discovered Eat Pastry vegan cookie dough, which I would carry home from healthy-foodie-heaven Alfalfa's in Boulder, Colorado to snack on by the spoonful while I devoured my law school tomes. Since adopting the VLGL eating philosophy in pursuit of a clear complexion and overall better health, I engineered these little spheres of deliciousness to serve as a virtually effortless means to achieve that beloved cookie dough satisfaction without suffering an inflammation-causing blood sugar spike.
Using a nut butter base, these little bites are loaded with protein and "good" fats, making them a sustaining and satisfying treat that can be enjoyed at breakfast, for dessert, with coffee... really any time that necessitates a pick-me-up. This recipe is also incredibly customizable, providing the opportunity (but not strictly mandating) to utilize wellness-boosting ingredients like omega-3 and antioxidant-rich flaxseed and/or energy-boosting maca root in addition to anti-inflammatory cacao. Coconut oil, (the benefits of which are widely hypothesized though not totally confirmed by research), is included to provide a soft, dough-like texture, though it can be omitted for less-soft but still-delicious results.
A final note on this recipe and its versatility: I provide the option to use vanilla bean powder (for a smoother, more elegant vanilla bean taste) or liquid vanilla extract (for a more authentic off-the-spoon-at-a-high-school-sleepover flavor). There really is no wrong answer. However you choose to customize your cookie dough bites, I just urge you to make some as soon as possible... you won't regret it.
RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
(makes approximately 10 bites)
- 1/2 cup of almond butter (*or nut butter of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons softened, but not completely liquified, coconut oil (*reduce or omit if your nut butter is very oily)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light agave nectar OR 1/8 tsp powdered stevia extract (*increase oil by 1 - 2 teaspoons if using powdered stevia)
- 1 teaspoon liquid vanilla extract OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + a few shakes for topping
- 3 tablespoons chopped, low-sugar dark chocolate chunks (aim for 5 grams or less of sugar per serving -- I used Lindt 90% Cocoa here) OR cacao nibs
☼ Optional Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon ground maca root powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine the almond butter, sweetener, vanilla, salt, flaxseed, maca, and cinnamon, and mix with a metal spoon until completely smooth, fluffy, and integrated. Gently fold in the chocolate and nuts.
- Roll approximately tablespoon-sized drops of the dough into spheres. Arrange on a plate, and sprinkle with additional salt.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or devour immediately for extra-fluffy cookie dough pleasure. Store uneaten cookie dough bites in the refrigerator.
Serve with love... sweet, sweet cookie dough love.