I think most vegans are guilty of trying to pass off their baked goods as healthy by the mere fact that they lack inherently unhealthy ingredients. Vegan foods are often referred to as healthier alternatives to their traditionally baked counterparts, but by calling something healthier there is an implication that the first thing was healthy to begin with and your version is even more so. While I believe preparing food without using animal products is just better for all parties involved, to say it is healthy as a rule is not entirely accurate, especially when it comes to baked goods. When you think about it, healthy baking is not just the absence of unhealthy ingredients but the inclusion of ingredients that are beneficial to your health. When I saw this recipe I got interested. The title alone is a bold statement “The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World”, the world people!
The main ingredients in these cookies are walnuts and oats and, yes, both of these ingredients are what most would consider heart healthy. So what about the chocolate? Well I’m sure you have heard that dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and therefore good for you, right? Right! The only caveat with this is we talking about dark chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa, not Hersey bars and peanut butter cups. And moderation of course, 1.5 oz. is considered a serving of dark chocolate, not the whole bar! So as far as I’m concerned for those who want to include more oats, walnuts and dark chocolate into their diet this is a darn tasty way to do it! I’m still not convinced there really is such a thing as a healthy cookie but this is probably as close as we are going to get…
So I switched this recipe up a little and pared it down. The original made 30 cookies, it doesn’t matter how healthy they are, if you are eating 30 cookies you are just totally missing the point. I use Sucanat in place of brown sugar because it is less processed and I just love the way it tastes, it has a very distinct mapley flavor that pairs particularly well with chocolate. You should give it a try if you haven’t already, but brown sugar is fine too.
Heart Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Vegetarian Times)
1-1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 cup walnuts
½ cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
¼ cup almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cups oat flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup dark chocolate, either chips or a chopped bar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind walnuts into a fine meal using your food processor or blender, about 30 seconds. Add the oil and continue to blend until the mixture looks like nut butter, about 2 minutes. Scrape mixture into a mixing bowl.
Whisk Sucanat or brown sugar and almond milk together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add to the walnut mixture then add vanilla, mix well.
In another small bowl combine oat flour (remember you can make oat flour by blending oats in your blender or food processor), baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground flax seed. Combine oat mixture and walnut mixture. Let it cool for a few minutes so your chocolate doesn’t start to melt when you mix it in then fold in the oats and chocolate.
Roll dough into about 2 inch balls and flatten them using your hands before placing on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 9-12 minutes, letting them cool slightly for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.