ith 2012 well underway, fitness programs and diet regimens are popular as ever right now. Although I generally remain focused and ever in pursuit of wellness, I never seem to lose my sheer appreciation for all things dessert. I can NOT help myself!
A co-worker in the dental office I work with, once brought in what she called “sugar-free, egg-free chocolate chip cookies.” Not only was my curiosity instantly piqued, I couldn’t believe how good they were and embarrassed myself by polishing off the entire tray single-handedly before lunch! But I pretended to be as surprised as everyone else that they were gone so quickly.
They may not have suspected me after my Oscar-worthy performance, but what is true is that this cookie served as the catalyst for my experimentation with other dessert recipes later on. Of course, being “Celeste Ivey,” I couldn’t leave well enough alone-I had to make it dairy-free, as well.
I began to read about the link between dairy and a number of health conditions, especially in children, so I made a few simple substitutions and the first official “exceptional vegan pastry” was born!
This cookie recipe is wonderful for a number of reasons, but among my top five: they’re very quick and easy to make; they’re made with naturally sweetened and cholesterol free ingredients; they make a perfect on-the-go snack (I even let my girls eat them for breakfast when they want); they won’t sabotage a healthy diet plan-unless, of course, you eat the entire batch alone in one sitting-and they taste AWESOME!
Patisserie Ci makes an entire line of incredible desserts, but this cookie we call “the Signature,” is a very popular favorite. Oatmeal chocolate chip is my personal favorite but this cookie dough can easily be converted to yield endless flavor combinations. Check out the Helpful Hints below for tips on creating your own signature variety.
Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup Wholegrain Flour
- 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
- 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/2 stick All Natural Margarine melted (Earth Balance, Smart Balance)
- 2 T Pure Vanilla 1/2 cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (Ghirardelli All Natural Dark, 365/Whole Foods brand)
Combine all ingredients except the chocolate in a bowl and mix well. Dough will be a bit sticky and will stiffen as margarine cools. Stir in chocolate being careful not to add until dough is cool enough not to melt chips. Drop rounded teaspoons onto parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Use an all-natural, non-hydrogenated margarine only for this recipe rather than a conventional, popular store brand. Otherwise, opt for an organic dairy butter. You’ll add cholesterol and increase the fat a bit, but there’ll be no hormones and pesticides.
- Pure maple syrup can be fairly expensive but works best and is a clean, simple, natural option. Log Cabin now makes an all natural alternative that I have tried and it works well. However, if you are a label reader like me, you know that there isn’t a drop of “syrup” in most popular store brands whatsoever. If your brand contains high fructose corn syrup- steer clear.
- Use old fashioned oats rather than quick oats to yield a heartier cookie and avoid a “mushy” dough.
- Have fun experimenting with your favorite additions! Try 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup of chopped nuts with the chocolate chips, or 1/4 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup natural white chocolate (usually contains dairy)