Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weaknesses.

Almond Butter Cookies 1

We all have them. Some, more than others.

Perfectly juicy medium-rare cheeseburgers. Thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies. A good book to get lost in. The PERFECT dress that is on sale.

Justin Timberlake. (Forever and ever, JT <3)

But one MAJOR weakness of mine? PEANUT BUTTER.

The past few years I’ve made a lifestyle change to live a healthier life. Between eating better and moving more, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. Girl talk: there are still days where I feel like a cow and days that I do have my indulgent moments. It happens. Then, I move on.

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I seem to have pretty good will power. Throw some cupcakes in my face, and if I’m focused enough, I won’t touch them. But if I have a jar of peanut butter in the cabinet? All bets are off. It’s my drug. It’s my trigger food. One little taste and I’m off the wagon. And I’m sure you’re thinking “But Deanna. Just don’t have a taste.” HAHAHAHAHAHA no.

I seemed to have my pb obsession under control. I was able to pass by it in the grocery store without buying it. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, the world put other kinds of nut butters in my face. Trader Joe’s. Curse you, Trader Joe’s. I went shopping one weekend, and passed by their wall-o-nut butters. Cashew butter?! Sunflower butter?! Almond butter?! I wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t resist.

Cashew butter was up first. Yeah, hello lover. Between me and my fiance (basically, just me) that jar didn’t last a week. Spoonful after spoonful, I couldn’t stop. Next victim? Sunflower butter. Oh, Nelly. It’s literally a dream (and a life saver. Seriously, who has the time/patience to properly peel and eat sunflower seeds? I just eat them with the shell. Because I’m a child).

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Then, I somehow got control of myself. I went about 2 weeks without buying or consuming any kind of nut butter. Then, last week happened. I was at Trader Joe’s by myself (never any good), and I realized I hadn’t tried their almond butter. $7.99 later, I was home with spoon in hand. Good heavenly Lord. I was in trouble. I went into panic mode and tried to figure out how I could get myself out of this situation.

Then it dawned on me. I remember seeing recipes for almond butter cookies! Yes, yes. This had to happen. The less almond butter in the jar, the less I would eat. Time to get baking!

I came across this recipe and fell in love for 5 reasons. 1) it only has 7 ingredients in the entire recipe (including baking soda and salt). 2) it’s a one-bowl recipe; no KitchenAid mixer! 3) no dough-chilling. Straight from the bowl to the oven. 4) almond butter. 5) almond butter.

Bonus reason: it’s gluten free because there is no flour!  (I know this is my 2nd straight gluten free post. I do not follow a gluten free diet. However, I do know people who have a gluten allergy. Also, it just happened to work out this way.)

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So here’s the dealie with these cookies. Everything gets mixed into one bowl. It’s a thick dough, so be prepared to use those arm muscles. As mentioned above, there is no dough-chilling (score!). However, once the batter is mixed, and the longer it sits, the dough will become oily. That oil is from the almond butter. Don’t be alarmed. If you want to lessen the oil, here is what I did: I scooped out the dough and then squeezed/blotted it with paper towels to remove the excess oil. It won’t dry out the cookie completely, nor do you want it to, but it does help.

I actually never really use parchment paper when I make cookies. I usually find I like how they bake up better without. I don’t even like using the coveted silicon baking mat (gasp!). It’s usually a little non-stick spray and that’s it for me. With these, because I saw how oily the dough was, I took a chance and used parchment. And it actually worked out wonderfully. I thought these cookies would spread in the oven without chilling the dough first, but they stayed nice and thick!

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I LOVED these cookies. L-O-V-E-D. This recipe uses dark brown sugar (instead of light) to add a richer flavor, which is just the bees knees. If you only have light brown sugar, that’s totally fine, and you can absolutely use that instead. But, if you can use dark brown sugar? YES.

I also added mini chocolate chips instead of regular sized chocolate chips because, well, mini means more. #math And hello, nut butter of ANY kind and chocolate of ANY kind?! Yeah, enough said. It’s just the BEST FLAVOR COMBINATION IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE. I’m shouting, and I apologize. But not really, because that combo is amazing.

Because there are so little ingredients, the almond butter really shines through. Which is amazing, and the worst. Because even though there is less almond butter left in the jar, now I have a bunch of cookies that taste just like it. HELPPPPP.

But for real. I never thought you could really improve a classic chocolate chip cookie. But it turns out, you can. Oh nut butters, how you have turned my life upside down.

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And the texture?! Ugh…chewiness for DAYSSSSSS.

***

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Recipe by: Two Peas and Their Pod)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Mix the almond butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  • Stir in the baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.
  • Shape dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie (I used my 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop). The dough will be a little crumbly, but just squeeze it together. Blot with paper towel to remove excess oil, if necessary. Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are starting to brown around the edges. Don’t overbake. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
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Black Bean Avocado Brownies (Gluten Free)

These brownies are not tacos.

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Nor are they burritos, fajitas, or quesadillas. But I know what you’re thinking. Beans? Avocados? Where are the chips, guacamole and margaritas? Full disclosure: if you wanted to enjoy these brownies with guacamole and a margarita (or 2. Ok, or 4), then I’m pretty sure we would become instant best friends.* Brownies, guacamole, and margaritas are 3 of my favorite words.

But alas, these little lovelies are, in fact, brownies.

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Can I tell you something about New York City apartment kitchens? They’re small. Like “do I really need to keep my coffee-maker out on the counter? because if I do, then I’ll run out of counter space” small. Being that coffee is literally my life line…the coffee-maker stays out on the counter. Less counter space for coffee? It’s a deal I make every.day. Trust me, it’s for your own (and my fiance’s) good.

But like anything life throws at me, I adjust. My counter-space (or lack there of) has actually really helped me while baking. It’s made me become extra prepared and uber organized. Instead of having 5839084035683 little bowls out containing all of my ingredients, if the recipe calls for all dry ingredients to be combined, that’s the first thing I do. Place them all in a bowl, and set it aside. Same thing goes for the wet ingredients.

And when all else fails? I’ve become a master a finding extra counter-space wherever I can. On top of the stove (which can be tricky if the oven is already heating up), the top of my garbage (don’t worry…the lid is closed and it is in NO WAY touching anything inside), that tiiiiiiiiny space between the sink and the stove (it’s incredible what you can fit in a 2-inch space), the coffee table in the living room, the dining room table. All surfaces that act like an extended counter-top. #resourceful

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Having a small kitchen has actually changed the way I’ve been baking lately. I now tend to make simpler things. Simple brownies, cakes, quick breads, muffins; anything that I can easily make without the hassle of multiple plates, bowls, and equipment. I still use my KitchenAid mixer (a lot), but if a recipe doesn’t call for it, I’ll gladly leave it unused. It’s making me go back to basics. And I like it.

So why did these brownies cause my small kitchen ramblings? Because these, my black bean brownie loving friends, are made in one bowl. And even better, you don’t have to do any of mixing yourself! Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend away! Can I get a woo-woo?! (so sorry..)

But it’s true. Everything gets blended together in the food processor, poured into your pan, and baked! Please don’t skip the chocolate chips. Because, well, chocolate.

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I know you’re looking at the ingredients thinking “what? how is this even a thing?” Well, it is. I promise with every fiber of my brownie-loving being, that you cannot taste the black beans. Because there is no flour in this recipe (making it gluten free!), there needs to be something that thickens up the batter. Enter: beans. It makes the batter nice and thick and brings it all together.

As for the avocado, being that there is no butter or oil in this recipe, we still need some sort of fat. But in keeping with this healthier brownie, we need to add something without adding 538058305 calories to it. Enter: avocado. It adds the buttery deliciousness without adding anything bad for you. WIn-win.

These brownies were such a lovely surprise. Rich, fudgy (like, to the MAX), and delicious. I definitely plan on making these again and again. It’s nice to have a dessert that tastes decadent, but I know won’t ruin my day of healthy eating. Oh, and having one cold out of the fridge? I can’t even handle it. Too good. Do it.

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*I’ll take my margarita(s) on the rocks with salt. Please and thank you.

***

Black Bean Avocado Brownies (Gluten Free)

(Recipe by: Ambitious Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 of a large extra ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips of choice, plus 2 tablespoons for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  • Place all ingredients besides chocolate chips into a food processor. Process until ingredients form a smooth batter. If the batter is WAY too thick and won’t process then add in a teaspoon or two of water (I didn’t need to do this). This batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. Add in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
  • Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 delicious squares. Store in the fridge!