january 23, 2019
Sometimes you’ve gotta have a cookie and you’re searching for the right fit. Cookies from a bag or box need not apply for this position—the cookie must be homemade. And if the cookie in question is easy to make and is loaded with chocolate chunks and toasted almonds, then it’s hired!
A few weeks back when I was enjoying my mug of Cinnamon Chile Hot Chocolate, my thoughts turned to a hefty cookie which would be a decadent companion for this spicy winter beverage. This is what I came up with : almond butter, chocolate chunks and toasted almond slivers, with the macaron-like heady perfume of pure almond extract. Not only is this cookie recipe flourless, but it’s completely grain free. A smidge of baking soda helps with a cohesive texture and a little rise. Chocolate chips would work fine, too, but those chunks of dark chocolate make this a cookie to remember.
Although the recipe is easy, you’ll need some equipment : at least three full sized sheet pans (the non-insulated kind, because the insulated kind ends up poaching the cookies and prevents a nice underside browning), parchment paper and a nice cookie scoop. You can use a large spoon for scooping dough, but more uniform size comes with a sturdy scoop—for a big ol’ cookie, I use the 1 ⅓ ounce scooper which works out to about 2 tablespoons. Parchment paper is for easy cleanup of your pans. Silicone baking mats also work well, but unless you have several, you will need to cool them down between baking shifts so the dough doesn’t spread. While you are waiting for sheet pan number one to cool down, load up the second pan and then place cookies on the third while pan two cools. If you have a limited number of pans, you can always run a pan under cool water, then dry throroughtly before using again.
Cookies seem to hold their shape with previously refrigerated almond butter, and even better with no-stir almond butter, to which a small amount of oil is added for stability. I’ve used regular almond butter in baking because it’s more readily available, knowing that I must stir well with a fork and then refrigerate until the butter is no longer runny. Best results come with the no-stir variety. Chocolate chunks come in either 10 or 11.5 ounce packs (why?); here I used 10 ounces and figure the larger pack may lead to excess chunkiness, and the shaggy dough will be more difficult to hold together with more solids. Trader Joe’s has dry roasted unsalted slivered almonds. If you have access only to untoasted slivers, they can be lightly browned for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven and cooled.
Baking time of 10 minutes yields a golden cookie with a nice chewy texture. If you’re looking for crunch, you’re welcome to bake a little longer—edges will be crisp but this dough, with no flour and only sugars and nut butter, will still give a nice chewy interior. I love that one of these cookies will satisfy the sweet tooth. When I go for a carb fest, a plate of cookies never seems enough. With the high protein and grain free delicious cookie ingredients of this chocolate chunk marvel, one perfect little dessert is the ideal fit.
Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 30 cookies
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups almond butter*, about 24 ounces total
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
10-11.5 once bag dark chocolate chunks
1 cup toasted slivered almonds**
cook’s note: have at least 3 sheet pans (see article), non-insulated
* I get best results with no-stir almond butter, or use refrigerated well-stirred regular
** If using raw, bake almonds at 350 for 10 minutes until light golden, then cool
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Have parchment sheets ready for pans.
- In small bowl, whisk together egg and almond extract.
- In large mixing bowl, use heavy wooden spoon or electric mixer to combine sugars, almond butter, baking soda and salt.
- Add egg mixture, mixing well.
- Add chocolate chunks and almonds, mixing well with spoon.
- Use large cookie scoop (1 ⅓ ounce or about 2 tablespoons) to make balls of dough, placing at least two inches apart on parchment lined pan – six balls per pan; don’t flatten, but since dough will be shaggy with solids, use hands to mold round shape.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until very light golden.
- Let cookies stand in pan for two minutes before carefully using spatula to transfer to cooling racks – dough is soft.
- Repeat with remainder of dough; if you only have 1-2 pans, run cool water over empty pans and dry well for next use so that warmth will not make cookie dough flatten.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before storage – they will last at room temp tightly covered up to 5 days.
- These cookies freeze well.