I hustled and managed to make cookies the night of my sister Stephanie’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge link-up!
I’ve been getting into grains-are-bad-for-you lately. It seems like I have to try every new foodie idea at least once! Some of them stick, like eating mostly organic and free-range. Others don’t, like being vegetarian. (My diet at that point consisted almost entirely of potatoes, cheese, and these sandwiches I’d make with sliced mushrooms and shredded cheese and you microwave them and the grease from the cheese cooks the mushrooms… SO GOOD. My cholesterol was through the roof!!)
Anyway. My amazing acupressurist/chiropractor, Dr. Joan Margaret, also knows a lot about nutrition. She was telling me some stuff I haven’t researched yet, about how grains in general evolved to attack our bodies so we wouldn’t eat them. We already know wheat is bad for us; the gluten gums up your digestion, and there’s some horrifying stuff I don’t want to read about how the proteins in the genetically modified wheat we have in the US crosses the blood-barrier and… Oh right, you came here for cookies!!
So anyway, the point is that I realized there are flours that aren’t grains, like almond flour and coconut flour, and these cookies use ’em.
It turns out that almond flour, or in this case almond meal – just plain ground almonds – is pretty awesome for cookies. It tastes great, it adds a little nutty flavor without the annoying crunch (yeah I know some of you people like that) and it holds together well.
I adapted the Wannabe Chef’s recipe, which is itself adapted from somewhere else. That’s how these things go!
Ground Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 12 cookies) (I found that it made me more that that. I never hit the right number with these things. Who knows what size cookie they meant?)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) almond flour or meal (How do you know that’s the same? I had 16 ounces of toasted sliced blanched almonds – for extra flavor! – and I used more than half to get my cup and a half of “flour”).
1/4 cup butter, room temperature (um… room temp is pretty warm right now… and I’m not sure I had a full quarter-cup. Or I might have had more.
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (from our very own backyard chickens!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (Boy was this a pain. Why does Trader Joe’s carry almond meal, but not baking soda?)
1/4 cup chocolate chips A whole bag of chocolate chips. Oh – maybe that’s why I ended up with more cookies this time!
Heat your oven to 375. (I have recently read about people’s objection to “preheat”. There’s no pre, you’re just heating it, why the pre? I like this argument.)
Grind up your almonds if you didn’t get meal. I used a coffee mill. I sort of hoped that it would make them taste a little coffee-y, but I don’t think the proportions were enough for that.
I was fascinated by this. Because, I guess, of the natural fat in the almonds, the meal held together like dough already when it was ground.
Now, this is about where you start to see why Stephanie and I would make great roommates. She doesn’t like cooking but she loves to bake. I am THE WORST BAKER, and this is why:
Cream together the butter and sugar. Well, for me that means finding out there’s no butter in the fridge, and scraping all the butter that’s left in two wrappers by the stove. Which I think is only half of what I need, so I start to think about adding olive oil, which I know is a pretty bad idea, but then I think that four sticks is two cups so two sticks should be one cup so about half a stick should be about a quarter of a cup so MAYBE that was enough? Or possibly too much. It was really hard to tell.
I do studiously avoid licking my fingers, scraping the butter off on the edge of the bowl instead so I don’t waste any.
Measuring a quarter-cup of sugar I can do. Then I have to use an immersion blender to blend it because the motor on our probably-thirty-year-old hand mixer burned out. But it’s not really the right tool. I think I get it blended enough. It gets a little liquidy after I add the egg. Not in a nice way.
Then I pour in the vanilla and the salt and the immersion blender stops working. For pete’s sake. I didn’t do anything to it, I swear! I burn out EVERY MOTOR in the kitchen.
Never mind, these I can stir in with a fork. I measure the baking soda and add that in too. (Didn’t bother to measure the vanilla or salt. Come to think of it, that might not have been enough salt.)
(And it was probably too much vanilla. I added a capful.)
And the almond meal. Now, if you’re Stephanie, you measure the fucking almond meal out with a goddamn measuring cup, I’m pretty sure. I did that too. But I didn’t have the half-cup one to hand, so of course rather than turn around and get it out of the drawer, I just measure three very heaping scoops of the 1/3 cup measure, and then add some more because it doesn’t seem like it’s the texture of cookie batter yet.
Chocolate chips! I can do that. But not a quarter cup. That’s just ridiculous. Maybe half a cup. Maybe a full cup? I’ll see how it goes.
I accidentally pour the entire bag in right away.
Well, maybe that’ll be okay. Yeah, that looks like about enough. It’s not so many that you can’t bake it, but… it’s not many fewer than that either. How anybody can handle only a quarter-cup of chocolate chips across a dozen cookies, I’ll never know. What is that, three chocolate chips per cookie?
Then it’s to the baking sheet. Screw parchment paper. My sheets are well-seasoned. I did at least wipe it dry first (just washed ’em) so I wouldn’t be boiling or steaming the cookies instead.
Well, pretty dry.
I hate putting cookies on a cookie sheet. I never know how much they’re going to spread. But I don’t want to waste sheet. They’re not that big in the first place (the sheets I mean). I know this is a ridiculous objection. I forked nine cookies gingerly onto the first sheet and got about six more onto the next one.
Then bake at 375, in a convection oven just because, until I remember to check them, which happily is just as the outsides have become a golden brown around the edges.
They look gorgeous, but they won’t come up when I try the spatula underneath them. I mean they will, but not in one piece. I leave them to cool. But the original recipe said they ate one right out of the oven and it was great! Hmmm… maybe I can’t use that argument at this point.
To my extreme amazement, once the cookies have cooled they act just like cookies! This is awesome. I stick the second pan in (was holding it back in case I needed to add more almond flour or something) and rush back here to finish.
So I am happy, nay, ecstatic to tell you that THESE COOKIES TASTE TOTALLY AWESOME.
The secret is the extreme number of chocolate chips. They taste a tiny bit peanut-buttery (or almond-buttery probably), they are a little crispy and a little chewy at the same time, and also they are an excellent chocolate chip delivery system. The chocolate is the whole point, anyway. The way that the chips become sort of melty and creamy when they’ve been baked. It’s awesome. Just awesome.
In fact, I’d even say these cookies are NUTS.