Life is short. Eat dessert.
I'd argue that sweets not only can, but should be a part of a healthy diet. Eating healthy means eating foods that are nutritious but it also means having a healthy relationship with food, one that doesn't confuse self-deprivation with moral superiority. One of the things that drives me crazy is when I hear someone refer to what they've eaten as "being bad" or "good" as if indulging in a food that brings you pleasure and joy is an ethical transgression. I think we can all agree that our food choices do not make us bad or good and if you want a cookie, for goodness sakes eat a cookie. And no guilt or shame!
But, here's the thing: A lot of (okay, most) sweets are made from hyper-processed and refined ingredients like white sugar, corn syrup, white flour and hydrogenated oils, all of which contribute next to nothing in the way of vitamins, minerals or fiber and are highly, highly inflammatory.
Why not make a cookie that's just as delicious but made from wholesome, nutritious ingredients that, when consumed in moderation, won't have a negative impact on your health?
The perfect example of how do-able this is, is our oatmeal chickpea chocolate chip cookie, which is made from rolled oats (which are rich in both cholesterol lowering soluble fiber and good-for-your-gut insoluble fiber); chickpea flour (which contains two times the protein in whole wheat flours, plus folate and vitamin B-6); coconut oil (which is high in lauric acid, which may boost good cholesterol); maple syrup, (which contains trace minerals and anti-inflammatory phenols); and Turbindo sugar (which is less processed than white sugar). We could use cocoa nibs or carob chips but we wouldn't get the same delicious result (believe me, we experimented!) as we do with a best quality chocolate chip cookie. Besides that, dark chocolate contains antioxidants, so there is a value-add there.
If you're interested in giving these cookies a try, you can see if we have them on the menu for next week or try making them at home. Read on for the recipe!
Oatmeal Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1½ cups chickpea flour
½ cup virgin coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or cacao nibs
⅓ cup coconut sugar (optional)
1. Heat oven to 225°F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out chickpea flour in a thin layer. Transfer to oven and bake for at least one hour, ideally 2 hours. (You will smell a grassy sort of smell release from the flour after it has baked long enough.)
2. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Melt coconut oil until liquid and clear in the microwave or in a pan on a stovetop.
3. In a medium bowl, combine oil and maple syrup and whip until combined (it’s OK if it’s not entirely smooth). Immediately add eggs and vanilla and continue to whip.
4. Add cooled chickpea flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir until well-combined.
Add oats, chips, and Turbindo sugar and any other ingredients (such as ½ cup Omega 3-rich walnuts, toasted and chopped). Stir to combine.
5. Form balls or drop cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheet and bake until edges are just browned and tops are golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack, and serve.