Healthier Thin Mint Cookies

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While in the process of going through EVERYTHING I own for my big move down to Texas, I also had to go through a lot of separation. I let go of bags and bags of clothes, books, and surprisingly some food stuffs I’d never used up. With the food, though, I was able to eat my way through a lot of the dried goods I’d accumulated during my two years in this apartment. One of which was a bag of pitted dates. So yummy, and bought with equally yummy intentions for a dessert I had in mind in the spring.CC Pics 009

But that idea passed. The dessert went unmade, and then I remembered a Thin Mint Brownie recipe from the Fabulous Chocolate-Covered Katie, whose cookbook comes out soon, I hope (Katie?).

Well these tasty treats are really good. Just ask the friends I made them for, for a summer picnic in July. And you could ask the other group of friends who tried them, too, at a fireworks show. They were happy to indulge, and I only felt bad when they looked at my little thin mint cookies and then looked at the big, sugary-frosted store-bought ones they bought with a twinge of remorse.

Okay, I didn’t feel too bad about giving friends a healthier alternative they liked just as much. I didn’t want anyone to feel embarrassed about the cookies they brought though. CC Pics 010

To share this positive embarrassment/ healthy kindness with your own friends, check out the recipe I’ve adapted from CCK’s version for a slightly chewier, cholate-ey-er cookie recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup walnuts

1 and 1/2 cups pitted dates

1 t vanilla extract

1.5 T cocoa powder

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scant pinch of salt

1 t stevia

Directions

-Combine all ingredients in your food processor. Blend ’til a dough forms.

-Roll into bite-sized balls and flatten between your palms for a flat cookie.

-If you wanted a small pan of brownies, simply press the dough into a small pan and slice.

-Serve cold or even frozen if that’s how you like your thin mint cookies (I do!). Enjoy.

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Skinny Monkey Cookies

I made you a big breakfast cookie recipe this morning.

Why?

With all the healthful ingredients in this recipe, you don’t have to feel bad about eating the whole recipe. I mean, this is a low-calorie, nutritious recipe, so indulge yourself a bit! Make a batch of little cookies (8-10) or one or two giant cookies.

I have a feeling you’re going to like this one–even my picky little sister did–and I bet it will keep your sweet tooth satiated for the rest of the day.

Ingredients

1 banana, somewhat ripe

1/3 cup + 1 T rolled oats

1 T whole-wheat flour

1 T + 1 t cocoa powder

dash of cinnamon

scantest pinch of salt

1.5 heaping T applesauce

splash of vanilla

Optional: 1 T nut butter

Directions

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-In a small bowl, mash up banana. If the banana is still too ripe to mash easily, you can ripen it quickly by popping it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

-Once banana is well mashed, start working on dry ingredients in another, slightly larger bowl. Mix well. Then add in mashed banana, applesauce, vanilla, and nut butter. Again, mix all ingredients well, trying to make sure that most of the chunks of banana are no longer visible.

-Bake for about 9-10 minutes. Per usual, the longer you bake, the crispier they’ll be.

I think these taste so good super soft, but then again, I’m not a crispy-cookie kind of gal. You’ll just have to try it out and see for yourself!

Indoors Cookie S’mores

It’s March, and by my standards, still a bit too chilly. But what about March has me excited? The prospect of summer to come and getting back outdoors.

A favorite outdoor treat of mine is the good old-fashioned s’more. Does anyone really dislike the s’more? If so, I’d like to meet them and hear the reasons why.

If you follow this blog, you know I’ve tried s’mores 101 different ways: frozen, baked, as whoopie pies, etc. But here’s just one more for the adventurous sweet tooth who’s not quite ready to make one while camping, but would love to enjoy a “healthified” version while wondering the great indoors.

Ingredients

1 graham cracker sheet (I like Back to Nature’s version)

1 mini bar of Hershey’s chocolate (dark chocolate preferred)

3 T white-whole wheat or spelt flour

1/2 T stevia

dash of cinnamon and baking soda

optional: dash of salt and brown sugar (I omitted and thought they tasted just fine)

2 T nondairy milk

1 t coconut oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Break graham cracker sheet into two pieces and place on cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients, then mix in milk and oil ’til well blended. If you have the time, refrigerate for a few minutes.

Place a dollop of the cookie batter on each graham cracker. You may have enough leftover for one good-sized sugar cookie, too. Bake for about 6-7 minutes or until the cookie dough is baked to your liking.

I can tell you that I let mine underbake a bit. I like this better because it then tastes gooey-er, like a traditional s’more, and since there aren’t any eggs required you don’t have to worry about food poisoning.

Also, you may want to bake your chocolate in the oven, or press into warm cookies as they come out. Again, either way works, it’s just a matter of personal preference. I’ve tried both and enjoyed both results.

Deux Dark-Chocolate-Stuffed Crescents

In the spirit of all things faux-French, I had a rich and chocolate-y strike of insight…

Take new beloved pastry dough recipe. Fill with my favorite ingredient: dark chocolate.

If you remember my Healthified Pop Tarts recipe, you remember how impressed I was with the consistency and melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the dough.

I contemplated a chocolate-stuffed pop tart, but where’s the challenge in that? It would have been practically the same. So if you want a chocolate-filled pop tart, simply follow the recipe below and fill as you please.

But if you want to take a culinary trip abroad (well, sort of), try the same recipe with the following modifications:

1. Roll out dough and form into two triangles.

2. Use a pizza cutter to remove rough edges.

3. Place chocolate of choice on top of the triangles, keeping the chips a half inch or so from the sides.

4. Roll into crescents and lose yourself in some French folk music while you bake.

Recipe For Pastry Dough:

  • 1 T + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking stevia
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 t plain Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1.5 t vegan butter, diced at refrigerator temp.
  • 1.5  T non-dairy milk
Directions:
  1. In a mixer combine flours, Stevia, and salt.
  2. Slowly add in milk and Chobani
  3. Beat in butter until thick. (You may have to add more flour if your butter is warm)
  4. Roll up dough and wrap it with plastic wrap.
  5. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. After all the fillings are prepared take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out into a thin crust. Cut into 2x2in squares. Before you stack the dough make sure to sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Lay a sheet of wax paper onto a baking sheet and spray with Pam. Lay twelve of the dough sheets onto the pan. Add the fillings on top.
  8. Take the tips of the fork and press down the edges. Working with this dough is kind of like working with clay. The score marks will help the sides stick.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Remove when the pastries are golden brown.

Cake Cups + Filling Ideas

This is more of a great idea (or two) than it is a new recipe.

Cake cups!

Like cupcakes, but reversed.

In a cake cup, you add in something you love. For me, it was my healthified fro-yo fix, which you can make simply by taking your favorite yogurt and freezing it for about an hour. Garnish with some sweet fresh berries and voila! A dessert that does a body good.

To make, simply follow any one of my single-serving cupcake recipes. But instead of filling the muffin tin slot as you normally would, gently press the dough up the sides of the slot. Bake for about 5-6 minutes (less time is needed because the dough is spread more thinly). Let cool and add in your favorite filling.

I’ll copy and paste the sweet-pink strawberry dough recipe I used below, but get creative!

I also did something similar with my super-moist chocolate blueberry cupcake recipe, but I made the cups smaller by dividing into two, scraped out the sides, and filled with a one-part peanut butter and one-part cream cheese frosting filling.

Yes, I was proud of this secondary cake cup, too. It tasted just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, only cakier!

And in case you’re wondering, no you can not taste the blueberry, but you will be amazed at how moist the fruit puree makes the cake.

Strawberry Dough Ingredients

3 T flour ( I used spelt)

a pinch of baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla

1 heaping T milk

1 T stevia

.5 t vegan butter

1/5 egg (mixed, or flax egg)

.5 t maple syrup or agave

1 t strawberry preserves

1 medium to large strawberry (ripe, pureed or well smashed)

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl; push to one side. On the other side, mix all wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry thoroughly. It’s okay if there are some chunks of fruit in the batter, but too many or too large of a chunk will bake into a gummy texture you won’t like.

-To form cookies, roll into small balls. If you’d like, however, to make doughnuts, you can simply shape a doughnut round by using a specialized pan, or doing as I do, which is using the rim of a muffin tin slot to shape an O. You could also use a cookie cutter that’s shaped like an O, but if you do this make sure the dough is thick enough–consider layering two or three Os.

-Bake for about 6-7 minutes.

Chocolate Blueberry Dough Ingredients

2.6 T whole-wheat flour

2 t cocoa powder

pinch of baking powder, baking soda, (scant) salt, and vanilla

1.5 t stevia

1 T and 1 t vanilla yogurt

1.5 t applesauce or coconut oil

1 T and 1 t almond milk

1 T and 1 t blueberries

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet or prepare with a cupcake liner.

-Puree blueberries or mash with a fork. Then mix in vanilla, oil, and milk. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Transfer these to the wet ingredients, mixing in slowly. Be sure not to overmix.

-Spoon batter into cupcake tin and bake for about 11-13 minutes.

These toppings could be really fun. You could go more muffin like, as I did, with fresh coconut cream and blueberries. Or you could add icing because, essentially, this muffin could pass as a cupcake, too!

Let the sweetness last as long as you can :)

“Nutz Over Chocolate” Copycat Candies

Luna bars are pretty good. They claim to be the very best nutrition bar for women, and they’re certainly not bad considering they’re packed with vitamins and minerals.

But what if you could just make your own? And do so using a lot less sugar.

The thought came to me when I was perched up in the engineering complex quad, munching on a promotional Luna bar, “Nutz Over Chocolate,” to be exact.

I thought to myself, “I can make this. Easy!” With Chocolate-Covered Katie’s copycat recipe as a guide, I went to work. Changed a few ingredients around. Scaled back to a single serving.

And then decided that a candy ball was more fun than a regular bar.

I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m just going to say it: This recipe is SO MUCH BETTER than the Luna bar I had for lunch today. So much.

Thank goodness for pleasant surprises.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies (brown rice works great!)
  • 1 t coconut flour
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T all-natural, salt-free peanut butter
  • 1 t sticky sweetener, such as agave or brown rice syrup (I used agave)
  • optional: 1-2 t protein powder
  • dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. I used a cake balls tray for this candy-like version, but you can use a regular ramekin.

-In small bowl, toss crispies and flour together. Place nut butter, sweetener, and vanilla on top. Microwave for a few seconds (7-9) just to warm up the mix.

-Mix well. Smash the crispies for a tighter crisp, and to keep all ingredients stuck together better.

-Press into your dish. Evenly distribute chocolate chips on top. I used two per candy.

-Bake for only 2-3 minutes. This is just long enough to let some of the ingredients fuse and melt the chocolate on top.

-Remove from oven. Smear the chocolate around for a bottom coating. Let cool in the freezer. Pop out and serve.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies

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Santa’s going to eat a lot of cookies this evening, right? Why not treat him to something totally different? Don’t get me wrong; we all love the classic choc-chip cookie, but maybe Santa wants a cookie with a little more protein every once in a while. Or antioxidant-packed dark chocolate and ginger…

This cookie recipe for one (one Santa or one lucky snacker) is nothing but helpful and yields quite a few cookies. It features some seasonal flavors–ginger and molasses–plus some chocolate and peanut butter for richness. I adapted it a bit from Chocolate-Covered Katie’s group-sized version.

Hope it brings you some holiday cheer!

Makes 6 small or 4 good-sized cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 2 t stevia
  • dash of baking soda
  • heaping dash of powdered ginger
  • 1 T molasses
  • 3 T flour
  • optional: pinch of salt if desired (I omitted.)
  • 2 T applesauce (cakier cookie) or 1 T coconut oil (chewier cookie)
  • splash of pure vanilla extract
  • dark-chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Push to one side. Add in applesauce; then vanilla. Mix in remaining wet ingredients (molasses and peanut butter).

-Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes for a better cookie.

-Roll dough into small bowls. (I was able to make six!) Press the dark-chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie. You could try a crushed candy bar or a Hershey’s kiss, too. Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until cookies are baked but still soft. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Top with a peanut-butter cream frosting if you want to find a little something extra under your Christmas tree.

You can gobble them up while they’re still warm or wait for the big man to come down the chimney. Either way, you won’t be let down.

Snow-Powdered Brownie Softies

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful,SAM_4468

but a powdered brownie would be delightful.

Since we’ve know place to go,

let us bake, let us bake with a new dough…

Brownie cookies. Need I say more?

Have fun decorating these however you like. You can press the dough balls into the chips. You could also try this with another candy or coconut flakes would be delicious. Because I was serving these at a potluck, I tossed mine in powdered sugar for a sweet snowy effect.SAM_4476

Ingredients

  • 2 T spelt flour (or whole-wheat white flour)
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • tiniest dash of  baking powder, salt, baking soda, pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T stevia
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T + 1 t almond milk
  • optional: dark-chocolate chips

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-Combine all dry ingredients; blend in wet, but don’t overmix. Shape into dough balls and refrigerate for half an hour.

-Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Bake cookies for about 8 minutes. They should come out gooey. They’ll stiffen up a bit after baking. Let cool. (Or if you’re like me, gobble them up while they’re still warm and soft!).

Dark Chocolate Cherry Scone

One of the most calorific sweets out there is the scone. What makes it so wonderful is all the butter, sugar, and oil it requires to taste delicious–enough even to make Paula Deen proud.

And enough to make your physician pale at the very thought of such ingredients.

But you can have your scone and your chocolate, too. You just have to have the right ingredients.

Check out this recipe I’ve adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen. It makes one very big scone that would pass even the highest pastry chef standards.

Ingredients

6 T white whole wheat flour (or wheat pastry flour)

1 T steel cut oats

1 T stevia (or light organic brown sugar if you’re feeling devilish)

a pinch of baking powder and baking soda

optional: dash of cinnamon

4-5 cherries, diced

1.5 t vegan butter

2 T nondairy milk

splash of lemon juice and pure vanilla extract

1-2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish or sheet. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Then push to one side.

-On the other side, mix milk with lemon juice. Then mix in vanilla and begin blending in dry mix.

-Cut in butter and mix ’til well blended.  At this point, gently fold in your cherries and dark chocolate chips.

-Form into a triangular scone. Place on prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm (right out of the oven is always best).

Chocolate Cupcake for One

It’s been a long week…

On a Thursday night when you’re beyond exhausted from working, nothing tastes better that warm chocolate-y cupcake.

This recipe makes one VERY BIG chocolate cupcake(or a lot of little ones if you use a mini-muffin pan). It will bring you happiness. Guaranteed.

In case you’re wondering, yes, it will melt in your mouth…

And if you swirl dark-chocolate chips on top of it right after you pull it out of the oven, well, it will bring you more happiness.

Ingredients

1 T cocoa powder

2 T + 2 t spelt flour

pinch of baking soda, baking powder, and salt

1.5 T stevia

1.5 T organic vanilla yogurt

1 T applesauce

1 T non-dairy milk (I used almond)

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin. Set aside.

-Combine dry in a small bowl. Push to one side. On the other side, mix the wet ingredients. Blend the two together.

-Pour into greased tin and bake for about 12-14 minutes.

Serve warm with melted chocolate, like I did, or maybe some fresh berries and cream for a chocolate-spin on traditional shortcake.