DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES (vegan, paleo) And a cute gift idea!

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Happy National Cookie Day 2015!

In honor of National Cookie Day, and all of the holiday baking that’s happening right now, I wanted to share my newest recipe with you all.  These Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies are rich, decadent, perfectly chocolatey, and they happen to be loaded with healthy fats and fiber, too!   A little crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they feature ground pecans in place of flour, maple syrup instead of refined sugar, and get their richness from coconut butter.  The ingredients are quite different from traditional cookies, but they are just as delicious, and I find them to be far more satisfying.  They are a fantastic way to treat yourself to something sweet this holiday season without that feeling of total sugar overload.

And if you are looking for a fun gift idea for friends and family, why not make an extra batch (or three!) to give away?  Once your cookies have completely cooled you can stack them in these adorable jelly jars, and seal them off with some cute fabric and a handwritten label.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love receiving a handmade, from-the-heart gift during the holidays- I know I certainly do!

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These are 8 oz quilted jelly jars by Kerr, which I found at the grocery store, and each fits 7 cookies. I cut a 5 inch circle of fabric with pinking shears, placed the round lid on the jar, placed the fabric over the lid, then screwed the cap on over the fabric to keep it in place. I didn’t have any holiday themed fabric, so I used a colorful batik print instead, which I think is appropriate year round in Hawaii!

 

Prep time: 20 minutes  Bake time: 8 minutes  Yields: about 20 cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup ground pecans, lightly packed

2 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup coconut butter or coconut manna (not coconut oil)

3 tbsp maple syrup, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

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This is coconut butter, also called coconut manna. It’s different than coconut oil in that it contains the flesh of the coconut. I found mine at a GNC store near my house, but you can find it at any health food or natural foods store. Artisana makes a great one, too.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Grind your pecans in a food processor or dry container of a Vitamix.  It doesn’t need to be ground as fine as flour, and some little chunks are fine.  Set aside.

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In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Stir in the ground pecans and mix well.  I like to use a fork or whisk for this step.

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In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup, coconut butter, and vanilla until smooth.  Be sure to stir the coconut butter before measuring it out, and also make sure that your maple syrup is at room temperature.  If your mixture is a little chunky, you can warm it up by setting the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water, or by placing it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a round tablespoon measure to scoop out your dough.  Use your fingers to pack the dough into the measuring spoon, then gently nudge it out of the spoon and onto the baking sheet.

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Use your fingers or palm to gently flatten the cookies.  If some of the chocolate chips try to escape (they always do with this recipe), just tuck them back into the dough or press them onto the tops of the cookies. If you are planning to package your cookies in jelly jars, you’ll want the cookies to be no more than 2 inches in diameter.

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Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees, then let them cool completely on the pan.  The bottoms should be slightly golden brown, but not burnt.  My gas oven does the job in 8 minutes- if yours runs a little below temperature then you might want to leave them in for 9 minutes.

Enjoy!

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