Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites - Healthy, Vegan, and Raw

I know the words "vegan" and "raw" can have a similar effect to flipping an "off" switch for some people.  They become suspicious and doubtful of its flavor potential.  But just hear me out on this one.

I was browsing through food blogs last night and, after following a long chain of hyperlinked posts, stumbled across a blog called "Chocolate-Covered Katie."  Feeling an immediate kinship with the title, I delved further into Katie's website and discovered an entire section of her blog dedicated to making what she calls "Fudge Babies."

Intrigued, I scrolled through the list of varieties she has mastered.  Some of the flavors she has developed recipes for include peanut butter cup cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate fudge, tiramisu, and s'more cookies, to name a few.  There are many others, and they all look fantastic. 

The first one I wanted to try is a flavor most of us will recognize and love.  Something we probably ate too much of when we were kids (and, um, some of us beyond the time since we were kids):  chocolate chip cookie dough.  What is it about cookie dough that is so damn good?  Yes, it's bad for you.  But it's awfully hard to resist one little taste while you're dumping chocolate chips into a buttery, sugary, silky-smooth bowl of cookie dough.  And once you've had one little taste, it's awfully hard to resist another little taste.  And then another.  And another.

With these, you don't have to worry about all the butter, sugar, and raw eggs you're consuming as you eat cookie dough.  It's not completely spot-on in flavor, I will say that - but it's very reminiscent of cookie dough, and you can make it even more so by upping the vanilla content.  But even though they aren't exactly the same as cookie dough, they are still really, really good.

And best of all, you can feel good about trading in that sliver of flavor for a huge slice of health.  As Katie describes, these are sort of reminiscent of Larabars in their flavor, texture, and simplicity.  They are super easy and quick to make (you can have them done in less than 15 minutes) and make a healthful and delicious snack.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (Modified slightly from "Chocolate-Covered Katie's" fantastic recipe, which you can find here.)
Makes about 12 - 15 pieces

90 grams (~1/2 cup) dates
30 grams whole raw cashews
1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
2 heaping tbsp. shredded coconut
1/4 cup mini-chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

For best results, chop dates into smaller pieces before placing into food processor so they are easier to grind up.

Place the dates, cashews, vanilla, and salt (if desired) into a food processor (Katie uses a Magic Bullet, but I don't have one of those, so I just threw it all into my plain old food processor).  Blend on the highest setting until the dates have been reduced at least to small crumbs and will stick together in clumps (longer if you want it to be even smoother).  Scrape into a bowl and add the coconut and chocolate chips, stirring to mix well.  Scoop out by the tablespoonful and mold into small balls with your hands.

That's it!  Now you can go ahead and eat them.  You can store at room temperature or in the fridge.

I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect these would be great dipped in a chocolate ganache.

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