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Whole-Wheat Cacao Nib and Chia Seed Cookies Recipe

July 12 2012 - 12:07 AM

Cacaocookies“Cookies” and “healthy” seem to be oxymorons most of the time. Yet it’s usually my goal to create a cookie I don’t feel too bad about indulging in. If you’re making at at home, you know all of the ingredients going into them, even if one of them is unsalted butter.

I’ve found that the key to a healthy cookie, that is also edible, is finding a balance. If you’re using applesauce or yogurt instead of a traditional fat (oil or butter), you don’t want to compromise on your add-ins. Instead of keeping it plain, you’ll want a bit of chocolate, fruit and spices. If you’re opting for a butter-based cookie, throw in any healthy choices you have on hand. In my case, I wanted to use chia seeds and try baking with cacao nibs for the first time. As it turns out, cacao nibs have enough of a chocolatey flavor that you can go all out with your healthy cookie and substitute for your butter as well.

Whole-Wheat Cacao Nib and Chia Seed Cookies 

Makes 12-15 cookies

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2-3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tbsp Stevia sweetener (or about 2 tbsp granulated sugar)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cups mini chocolate chips (optional)

2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 1/2 tbsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together flour, oats, baking powder, chia seeds, salt and protein powder if you’re using it.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
  3. Add in vanilla and eggs.
  4. Mix together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Add in the milk if you added the protein powder – just enough that the mixture is able to combine.
  5. Fold in the cacao nibs and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop evenly sized balls onto prepared baking sheets and refrigerated for about 15 minutes.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, feel free to use any nuts or dried fruits of your choice. If you want to go for a nuttier version, use half the amount of butter and add in 1/4-1/2 cup  natural peanut or almond butter. To go healthier, substitute canned pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt or a butter substitute instead. As long as you have the right ratio of wet to dry ingredients, I’m all about substitutions.

These cookies are totally healthy without tasting like it at all. You’ll notice the chocolate chips melt, and the cacao nibs stay crunchy, a lot like nuts. If you’re worried about them melting in the sun this summer, just omit the chocolate chips, and you have an easy dessert.

–Marly Schuman