When I was in the 6th grade, I did a book report on this:

I was pretty excited about doing this report because 1) it was on chocolate and 2) I gave out samples. :)

As I talked about the different kinds of chocolate I handed out paper muffin liners of  unsweetened, bittersweet and milk chocolate chunks to the class. The students were probably more excited about the “candy” than my book report, and I recall my teacher Mrs. Higaki grimacing when she got a taste of the unsweetened chocolate (ewww, bitter! said her expression!) I don’t remember what grade I got, but I remember being really excited about sharing one of my favorite things in the world: food! (and chocolate food, no less!)

So this week’s Flavor of the Week is the very popular happy-go-lucky CHOCOLATE!

In the vanilla Flavor of the Week post a couple weeks ago I mentioned my parents recently sending me a dozen home-grown vanilla beans. You know what else they sent? Hawaii-grown cacao nibs!  They’re about the size of a brazil nut and are processed similarly to coffee (fermented, dried, roasted.) But rather than a berry, these nibs grow in a large, thick-rinded pod that is harvested off the tree trunk:

And, like vanilla, cacao was also cultivated by the Aztecs (they got the best of both worlds, didn’t they?)

Deconstruction of a roasted cacao bean

But with chocolate, it’s hard to get the best of both worlds. You get the antioxidant benefits of cocoa, but the unhealthy effects of sugar. Thankfully chocolate is just an occasional indulgence so enjoying a few sweet treats every now and then won’t reverse all the other good things you do for your health (like eating fresh fruits and veggies, taking your vitamins, exercising, and having fun while you’re at it!) But if you’re like me and are looking to cut down on dairy and wheat, then today is your lucky day!

I love homemade chocolate chip cookies, nothing beats the crispy-chewy texture from the butter and flour (or so I thought) until I came across a really good alternative to the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cutting back on my wheat and dairy, I wanted a chocolate chip cookie recipe that used neither wheat flour nor butter, and I happened across a wonderful cookie recipe at “Angie and James do stuff.” In her recipe, Angie uses spelt flour and hazelnut meal instead of all-purpose flour. That already sounded great! Although I made a few substitutions, I REALLY liked the results, and so did my husband. So much, in fact, that he even ate the burnt ones! (can you imagine how delicious the normal cookies were??) To view the original recipe, click here. Thank you, Angie, for letting me use your delicious recipe…it was just what I needed! :)

Thin, crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies: wheat-free, dairy-free*

3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup ground almonds (texture of cornmeal)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips*
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I used Nestle semisweet chocolate chips, which has milk fat, but items like Ghiarardelli semi sweet chocolate chips, Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips, and Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chips have no dairy ingredients listed. I have used Ghirardelli in previous cookie recipes and the texture/consistency were very similar (if not same) to Nestle’s.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.

With a wire whisk, combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips.) Add softened coconut oil and mash into mixture until coarse but well-combined. Sprinkle in vanilla and add egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop rounded teaspoons of cookie mix onto baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until edges are browned and middle is golden.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container, will keep for 2 days before they are all gone!

Coconut oil makes them spread more, but the addition of ground almonds give them a different taste and texture from a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

Nooooo!!!

Not to worry, Wolfie doesn’t like cookies; he was just wondering what I was up to!

Do you have a twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie? What was the BEST TASTING cookie you ever had? (If you have a pic, I’d love to see it!)

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