My sweet tooth is becoming a problem. A major problem. The kind of problem that goes straight to the thighs and derrière, so much so that my pants (two pairs, thus far) are waging a war against me–splitting at the most unpleasant of areas at the most inconvenient of times. Perhaps *they* are trying to tell me something?
Within the first few weeks of working at a former job, I had experienced one of the most embarrassing moments in a cook’s life–I had bent down to pick up a sheet tray from the rolling rack, and eek! my 3-year-old, culinary school-issued, black pants had split at the seam of my, err, caboose. I was exposed. Completely embarrassed, I had to scurry (apron now wrapped around my waist, concealing said ripped pants) to my sous chef and ask him for an emergency pair of black chef pants. My sous chef then contacted our restaurant’s general manager about the “situation” who then ran over to the human resources building to get me a new pair. Before I knew it, nearly everyone working in my cafe had found out about my pant mishap. Not only was I the “New Girl”, I was now the “New Girl with the Incredibly Splitting Pants!” I felt like a really bad circus act.
For this I blame a lack of exercise. Working 8-13 hours a day is hard on the body and doesn’t allow me the time to work out after-hours. By the time I get home from work, I’m extremely exhausted. While my job is very physically demanding–heavy lifting, running around, standing for long periods of time, etc.–I was missing the fat- and calorie-burning cardio exercise I needed to counter my sweet tooth-crazed problem. To combat this issue I’ve now begun walking to work, a mere 3.5 miles, 7 miles roundtrip. I’m now able to eat the sweet things (very sparingly!) without all the guilt.
Even still, cookies are my vice. Always have been. They’re my go-to snack whether they’re fresh from the oven (the best kind) or of the grocery store variety. I began researching for a healthy cookie option to help ease my daily sweet cravings. Does a healthy cookie even exist? I found a recipe via The Texanerin of a grain-free cookie made of (hold your breath now) chickpeas! Yes, I couldn’t believe it, either, when I first read about it. I immediately got to recipe testing. With some slight tweaking (I substituted the peanut butter for almond butter and added Nutella and brown sugar to the mix), this cookie does make me feel less guilty. And just to be sure, while I wait for the cookies to bake, I do squats and leg lifts in between.
Grain-free Vegan Nutella-Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Texanerin Baking
Yields about 17 cookies
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry or (350g cooked)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon Nutella or hazelnut spread
1/4 cup (80 grams) honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/8 cup (70 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (90 grams) dark chocolate chips (65% cacao or more)
Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips and brown sugar, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get every little chunk of chickpeas and process again until they’re well combined.
Add in the chocolate chips and brown sugar and stir till just combined. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
Transfer dough into a small bowl and place into refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to congeal. Allowing the dough to cool makes it slightly easier to handle.
When you’re ready, use an ice cream scoop or spoon to form 1- to 1/2-inch balls. Place onto a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes.