Sweet Freak

Anyone who knows me knows I have an unbelievable sweet tooth.  Like, hardcore, over the top, love of sweet things.  And I'm not talking about the normal candy they sell at the store, although I wouldn't turn it down...I'm talking about the rich, decadent, multidimensional flavors that come in the good stuff.  Cakes, cupcakes, pastries, cookies...anything with chocolate.  Give that to me and I will love you forever.  But seriously, this is so unhealthy!  Processed sugars are extremely addicting.  I've been like this for as long as I can remember.  My parents did their best to keep sugar away from me for as long as possible.  My Mom was always buying things like carob instead of chocolate and other naturally sweetened things, which I certainly wasn't allowed to indulge in every day.  

One of my favorite "little Amber" anecdotes that I have often heard my parents telling and re-telling is the story of me going "missing" at my Grandma's house at around age 3.   They searched for a bit and eventually found me sitting quietly, in my Great Grandmas closet, surrounded by empty chocolate wrappers.  Chocolate and a smile on my face. I'm sure it was hilarious, and I was sneaky enough to know where to look!  l knew what I wanted and I knew where she hid the good stuff!  Smart kid.

I've tried all sorts of things to help curb this addiction.  Nothing has really worked.  I've even gone on detoxes and cleanses (I'm on one right now in fact that allows ZERO sugar, not even any fruit).  Still, that craving gnaws at me!  "Amber...just one bite! It's dark chocolate, that's healthy, right.....nobody has to know..."

So what I've been doing over the last few years is trying to work with my cravings instead of fighting them. I've been playing in the kitchen more and coming up with healthier versions of the things I love.  Not only is this fun to do, especially if you like baking like I do, but it's a great way to think outside of the box and try new flavor combinations!  A few weeks ago I found a recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that was made with garbanzo beans as the base.  Yep, that's right, garbanzo beans, or chick peas as they are also called.  Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my all time favorite flavor combos.  Something about the sweet and salty blend really tugs at my heart strings.  Naturally, I HAD to try this.

I tried the recipe as it was written the fist time, then I played with it a bit after.  Holy shiitake I cannot believe how DELICIOUS these turned out!  Wow.  I could honestly eat these and not feel like I'm missing out on anything in the dessert department.

I absolutely encourage everyone to play more in the kitchen.  Playing with my food, so to speak, has opened up all kinds of culinary possibilities!!!  I highly recommend it.  Plus, if you come up with something awesome your friends and family will go goo-goo ga-ga over it.

I'll keep posting more recipes as they come about, but for now here's the super yummy awesome rich and moist peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!!!  These are gluten-free, dairy free, vegan (for vegan and dairy free make sure you buy vegan chocolate chips), grain free, soy free, paleo, and just amazing.  They also give you a little energetic boost from the maca powder.

Peanut Butter-Maca-Chocolate Chip Garbanzo Cookies

-1 can garbanzo beans, organic and no salt added if you can
-1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used organic, no extra sugars and junk)
-1/3 cup maple syrup 
-2 tablespoons honey (Or you can use only honey, or only maple syrup)
-2 Tablespoons cacao powder
-1 Tablespoon vanilla
-2 teaspoons organic maca powder
-Pinch sea salt
-1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor or really good high speed blender (I used my Ninja), combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Blend until mixture looks smooth.  It will be sticky and ooey gooey.  Put "dough" in a mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.  I like to refrigerate my "dough" for about 30 minutes to an hour before baking.  What I found actually worked even better was putting the "dough" in the freezer for about 20 minutes before stirring in chocolate chips, and then chilling for another 20 minutes after stirring them in. The "dough" has gotten a little warm when I've made it because I let the Ninja run for a few minutes to ensure a smooth consistency.  This creates excess heat in the mixture and I don't want it melting the chips prematurely.  Chilling the dough also makes it easier to roll into balls.

I used a cookie scoop to make cookie balls (makes rounds that are somewhere between melon baller and ice cream scoop, just under 2 Tablespoons).   Place cookies on a cookie sheet with parchment paper about an inch apart. They do not expand much. Flatten slightly the cookies slightly if you want them to be more cookie shaped, or leave them roundish and they'll look like rustic drop cookies.

Bake for about 16 minutes. Cookies will be moist and rich inside. Tops will have slight golden edges or peaks. Let them cool down a bit before eating...I know they look scrumptious, but trust me, it's work the wait!

Makes about 15 cookies.



By Amber Lynch, LMT, Herbalist, Holistic Nutritional Coach