Holiday food gifts: Coconut almond chocolate chunk cookies

Holiday food gifts: This year you can give Christmas cookies to gluten-free or dairy-free friends. Even if you're a wheat and dairy-lover these cookies will not disappoint. See our related links for more Christmas cookies and holiday food gift ideas.

By , Garden of Eating

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    These cookies are chocolatel-y and almond-y, and amazing. The fact they are gluten-free and dairy-free are just an added bonus.
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Someone I work with likes to use the term "amazeballs" and it is the perfect word to describe these cookies. Each bite is rich and super flavorful — coconut-y, chocolate-y and almond-y — sorta like a Manischewitz chocolate macaroon mixed with an Almond Joy — but better. Wheat flour would just dilute the flavor.

I personally love both wheat and dairy and have to admit that taste, not health, is almost always my primary consideration when I bake. So when I say that these cookies are delicious, I sincerely mean it. But the fact that they are gluten and dairy-free a nice plus since it means that more people will be able to enjoy them.

My friend Lana handed me one of these cookies, fresh from the oven, a couple of weeks ago as we got in the car for our semi-monthly trek to the nearest Trader Joe's. While I munched in bliss, she chattered enthusiastically about the recipe from her new favorite cookbook, 'The Sprouted Kitchen' by Sarah Forte. An hour later we arrived at the TJs, managed to find a parking spot without too much bloodshed (their shockingly undersized lot can make you feel like you're in the "getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot" video) and headed in, armed with shopping lists, armfuls of canvas tote bags and multiple insulated freezer bags.

Recommended: Christmas cookies for everyone on your list

I knew I would be making these cookies soon so I added a few more impromptu items to my list — almond meal, shredded coconut, chocolate chunks, and coconut oil. I had an urge to bake the other afternoon and busted out the simple ingredients for these cookies. I mixed the dry ingredients together, adding a little bit of cocoa powder to enhance the chocolate flavor. Then I melted the coconut oil, which solidifies unless it is really hot out. But it melts quickly and easily, especially when placed on top of a woodstove!

I beat the egg and added the vanilla and coconut oil to it, then added the wet ingredients to the dry, and stirred to combine. Into the fridge it went to chill for 30 minutes while I worked on the rest of dinner (which included a divine kale and avocado salad that I will be writing about soon). Finally, I formed the dough into balls, placed 'em on the baking sheet and pressed them down a bit then into the oven for a quick bake — 8 minutes only. Took 'em out once the edges began to brown and let them cool a little. 

I was glad that I did not cook them for longer as I really enjoyed how soft they are. There are a lot of pretty hearty things in these little cookies so they stand up really well without needing to be super crunchy, unless you like your cookies really crunchy in which case, cook them for a minute or two longer and go to town.
 

Coconut almond chocolate chunk cookies 
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook
Makes 20 cookies (I strongly suggest you make a double batch - they'll go quickly!)

1 1/4 cups almond meal

1/4 cup chopped chocolate

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg (try to get pasture-raised from a farm near you)

3 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, cocoa, salt, and sugar.

 2. In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in color and doubled in volume.

3. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit. Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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