Sunbutter Surprise Cookies for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

  Delectable Grain Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – with a surprise inside. 

Sunbutter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies

To be filed under “Like You Need An Excuse: May 15th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I thought I’d share my favorite heath-packed (AND delicious) chocolate chip cookies. Look at that lovely plate above. Just what you think of when “Chocolate Chip Cookies” comes to mind, yes?

And then, just below the surface, lurks THIS:

What? How did this get inside my chocolate chip cookie? And why is it still unsettlingly delicious?!

Do not adjust your monitor. Those cookies really are deep emerald green in the middle. With zero artificial dyes or any other such ingredients.

Here’s the history.  These began as a variation on a recipe from one of my favorite sites, Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. I’ve made about a dozen variations on them  over the course of a couple of years in fact; you know, sacrificing for my readers in the name of health. I’m a giver.  Anyway, when I first started making these I was mainly avoiding gluten, and then I gradually transitioned to a grain-free approach (with many an exceptional treat, but hey). So to substitute for the quinoa flakes, I tried dried coconut. Perfect! Then one day I decided to try sunflower seed butter instead of almond. Brilliant taste, perfect in this recipe.

Only . . . something happened to them over the course of a few hours. At first I thought it was a trick of the light. No, they really were turning green in the middle. And not even a subtle greenish hue. We’re talking deep, rich, Emerald City GREEN. Had something gone bad? Some form of mold? They sure didn’t taste like anything was amiss. (Yes, I kept eating them. See above re: giver.) I chalked it up to a bizarre fluke. The next time I made the recipe, I went back to almond butter. Nothing out of the ordinary. But the next time I tried them with sunflower seed butter, sure enough, they hulked out again.

So I figure, hey, let’s just run with it. They’re delicious AND have a great nutritional pedigree. (No refined sugar, no gluten, no grains, no dairy or eggs. Paleo AND vegan.) And as a bonus, there’s some kind of chemical reaction in the sunflower seeds – I’m guessing it involves chlorophyll) that is triggered by the baking process. Embrace it, amaze/gross out your kids, and enjoy.

SUNBUTTER SURPRISE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

½ cup packed medjool dates (about 6 to 8 dates), pitted
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup (organic grade B, if possible)
¼ cup golden flaxmeal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sunflower seed butter (organic Sunbutter brand is the surest bet)
1 cup almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
½ cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is great)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dates and hot water in a blender and let soak for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Transfer date mixture to a mixing bowl. Add flaxmeal and vanilla extract and beat with a handheld electric mixer until combined. Add almond or nut butter and beat again.

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the almond  flour, coconut, baking soda, and salt. Add to larger bowl with the wet ingredients, beat again until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Take a heaping spoonful of dough, roll gently into a ball and drop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat liner. Space each ball out carefully (they will spread a bit)  and lightly press each ball down on top. A cookie scoop also works well, just needs a little gentle shaping as per previous.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. (If heating unit is at the bottom of your oven, place on the upper rack.) Remove VERY gently with a thin spatula and let cool on a rack. Do be warned re: the “VERY gently” above: cookies will be pretty delicate when freshly hot, but will hold together well after they’ve cooled. And then: the hulking out.

Lovable scamp with the Sunbutter  Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies, their secret hidden away beneath the toasty cookie exterior. Muahahaha!

— posted by Anne

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