My sister was the chef when we were growing up. She loved putzing around the kitchen trying out all sorts of concoctions. If she was in control of the remote, it was on Food Network. She's still deliciously creative with a spatula. I, on the other hand, made the occasional dish. I helped put together a salad or prepared the pecan pie for a Thanksgiving meal - though I will likely never live down the year I put 2 cups of flour into the pecan pie instead of 2 tablespoons. It makes a really big difference - who knew?
For me, cooking that was about more than following a simple recipe happened once I was out on my own trying to make healthy meals. But it really exploded when I started dating Navah, who had some eating restrictions. I loved playing the mad scientist with a recipe - figuring out what I could substitute and what I couldn't, trying to come up with a dish or a cookie or a cracker that tasted edible. In the beginning, it really was just that - edible. There were some failures. An almond meal pound cake comes to mind - the earth balance just sank to the bottom and made this gross gelatinous layer. Blegh. But over time, I started making things that were actually good.
These chocolate cookies are the result of dozens of batches made over the last few years. In the beginning, Navah couldn't eat whole wheat, and I was making them completely with spelt flour. We didn't know about the amazing grain-sweetened chocolate chips that we now use, so I made my own sugar-free chocolate chunks by melting unsweetened dark chocolate, adding stevia, refrigerating it until it was hard, and then breaking it up into little chunks with a knife. It was very labor intensive. But over time, I've developed a whole grain, sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate chip recipe that I think is pretty darn good. If you have other eating restrictions, I encourage you to play around with the recipe a bit and see if it can work for you.
100% Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup earth balance at room temperature
1 1/2 cup xylitol
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup shaved coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup sunspire chocolate chips
1. Beat earth balance with a mixer until creamy, about 30 seconds. Slowly add in the xylitol, making sure that it is thoroughly incorporated into the earth balance. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract mix.
2. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (minus the sugar, which you already added in).
3. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture, beating as you go. Once everything is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour.
5. Take the cookie mixture out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6. Drop the batter in spoonfuls 1-2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.
7. Remove the cookies and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!