Because I know that some afternoons just require a little sweet treat to perk things up. (And afternoon coffee needs a partner, right? ;) )
On one such afternoon when I was brewing up a pot of French press, I decided to take a peek into my pantry to see what I could nibble on along with my coffee. As soon as I opened the door, the overwhelming smell of my favorite caramel extract wafted out. Sadly, it had spilled (no idea how that happened!) but at least it made the entire pantry smell like heaven. And don’t worry, I had three backup bottles, lol. The smell of caramel combined with the smell of brewing coffee took me back to my college days when I’d head to Starbucks to study with a group of friends (and of course “studying” meant spending time drinking coffee and idly chattering). It reminded me of one of my favorite Starbucks drinks, the Caramel Macchiato, and I knew I wanted to make it into a cookie.
For me, something “healthy” or “light” isn’t just about reducing calories; it’s just as much about the source of the calories – the kinds of food – I’m putting into my body. These days I’ve been trying to use healthier substitutes for all-purpose flour and white sugar as much as I can, so I really didn’t want just any old cookie. I wanted a cookie that would leave me feeling energized and happy, not gross and lethargic. (Coming down off a full-fat/full-sugar cookie high isn’t always pretty, is it ladies?) So these cookies are devoid of such ingredients, and instead are full of healthy, nutritious things like almond meal, coconut flour, and coconut oil.
These cookies are amazing. They puff so cutely when they cook and even though they look like they’d be dense and/or dry, they aren’t; they’re moist and almost cake-like, but much chewier than cake. A snack of two cookies along with a cup of coffee makes for a perfect afternoon…definitely much better than the after-effects of a regular cookie! :)
And p.s., I use this recipe to make endless variations! I will be sharing more with you soon…
Yields 12 to 14 cookies
1 cup almond meal/flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 packets stevia (more or less to taste)*
3 tablespoons coconut oil, softened slightly but not fully melted
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon caramel extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 oz good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*If you want to play around with the recipe using a sweetener other than stevia, here is a guideline on how sweet 1 packet of stevia is: the amount of stevia in 1 packet measures 1/2 teaspoon, which is about as sweet as 2 to 3 teaspoons of regular sugar.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and stevia; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the softened coconut oil until smooth, then whisk in the maple syrup; after that, whisk in the egg, vanilla extract, caramel extract, and dissolved coffee. Use a wooden spoon to stir the dry ingredients into the wet all at once, then stir in the chocolate.
Let the batter sit for 5 minutes, then use a 1 1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop to measure it onto the baking tray, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie. Bake until the cookies are set and golden on the bottom, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool completely on the tray before removing.