The ageless question that people keep asking, hoping the answer will change: Is there such a thing as a healthy cookie, and one that is delicious too?
If you were to ask Bill Cosby, he’d say yes! In Bill Cosby Himself, he talks about feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, because it has all the essentials: flour, milk, eggs.
Well, that’s what used to be the essentials. Now we know that white flour supplies no nutritional benefit to our diets and raises blood sugar levels. Also, lots of people are allergic to milk and eggs now, including me.
For people without food allergies, cookies are still loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives if bought from the store, and they aren’t satisfying. That is what is referred to as empty calories.
So, no, a typical cookie is a no-go in a healthy diet.
There are plenty of ways to improve a cookie, though. Whether allergic or not, you could replace eggs with banana or with flax and water, which when mixed, creates an egg-like texture. You could replace milk with coconut or almond milk, and replace butter with coconut butter or oil, or applesauce.
For a while, I made cookies with spelt flour, which is a million times healthier than white, bleached flour. Even whole wheat flour is healthier, adding fiber and nutrients that white flour has been stripped of.
However, if you’re gluten-free like me, you can’t eat these flours. Most gluten-free flours are no better for you than white flour. And all flours are slightly processed and raise your blood sugar faster than a whole grain would in its natural form.
What’s the solution? I use almond meal as the base for some cookies, like these favorites, which is really good. But with almond flour, butter and milk, sometimes I feel like I'm overdosing on almonds!
Then I thought back to my black bean brownies. I was able to successfully hide the fact that those chewy, fudgy brownies contained black beans. So this week, I successfully baked chocolate chip cookies made with garbanzo beans.
Baking with beans is the icing on the healthy cookie, if you will. Rather than empty-calorie flour, the base of these cookies is a healthy protein full of vitamins and minerals! After these cookies, you actually feel full and satisfied, without ever realizing that it’s anything but a delicious cookie.
Now, would I refer to it as a health food? Not really. It still has sugar, and thanks to the unfortunate effects of sugar, you should avoid it as much as possible. (Want to learn how? Attend my Sugar Blues Workshop on Nov. 7!) But, when the sweet craving hits and you need something, you can indulge in these vegan, high-protein cookies without feeling too bad.
When I found this recipe, it was for cookie dough. While that’s delicious too, I wanted a full-fledge, hot-out-of-the-oven cookie. So I tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with this. It’s your choice whether you indulge in cookies or just dough. But if you’re a fan of chewy cookies, like me, you will never go back to dull, lifeless, old-fashioned cookies again!
Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 Tablespoon flax
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup almond butter
1/3 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/3 dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour all ingredients, except for chocolate chips, into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Spoon cookie dough into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips.
Place teaspoon-sized balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. (The dough is very sticky, so they won’t be perfectly shaped.)
Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes, or until outsides start to brown.
Allow to cool and slightly harden for 15 minutes. Enjoy!