If you could combine your two favorite desserts into one, what would it be? GO!
Bingo! A Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie. Ladies and gents do I have a treat for you. You can serve these up till the cows come up and everyone in your kitchen will be happy. The dirty little secret? They’re good for you too! Dairy-free, sugar-free and chock full of high-protein nuts. Plus, we all know chocolate is necessary for the mind, body and soul. So here you have it. Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies.
Like most brilliant recipes, this was inspired by a dear friend, Nicole. We were at Brookton’s Market fawning over carrot-ginger cookies , which lo and behold, were gluten-free. The phrase “gluten-free” doesn’t necessarily lure me into eating anything. I’m a wheat devotee. But when a gluten-free cookie fools you, it’s worth taking note. And so began Nicole’s profession of love for a gluten-free Almond Hazelnut Cookie that went something like this:
“In a saucepan, mix together 2 cups of almond milk, 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar.” (I know, her memory is spectacular). Cook the milk mixture until it reduces to pudding, and set aside to cool. Grind 1/2 kilo (a kilo?!) of hazelnuts into flour. Separately, mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 2 egg whites, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 2-3 spoonfuls of the almond milk pudding. Mix in the nuts, and drop runny spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350, or something like that.” I scribbled harried notes, and then beelined for the grocery store.
I found myself in the non-milk eye, feeling the anxiety of too much choice creep upon me: sweetened, or unsweetened? Vanilla or chocolate? Almond or soy? And then my eyes landed on the Chocolate Hazelnut Milk, licking the flames of my love affair with Nutella. (RIP Michele Ferrero).
The beauty of this choice was that it added far more simplicity to the recipe. The Chocolate Hazelnut Milk was already sweetened, so I left the sugar out entirely. (I’m not sure my variation on this recipe would work with unsweetened soy milk, but I encourage you to try it and share your experience!). The sweetness did not suffer, striking a perfect balance, made better with melted gobs of chocolate chips scattered throughout.
The cookies baked with a glazed shell, much like the surface of brownies, but on the inside they were gooey and moist. They may seem under cooked, but rest assured, they are not any less cooked than a half-baked brownie. You’re eating nuts, which don’t need much more coaxing to be “done” than being ground into flour and then baked for 15 minutes.
I’ve offered variations below so you can play with your non-milk and additions. This recipe is easy, healthy, and ultra-satisfying. Enjoy!
You can use any variety of or combination of nuts in this recipe. Almonds tend to be more affordable, and raw nuts in pieces (not whole) will always save you a couple bucks. I used a mix of almonds and walnuts to balance the hazelnut in the milk.
For variations, you could use all hazelnuts to create an even stronger Nutella flavor. Or, try Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk and add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Tip: Try making homemade ghee. You'll quickly fall in love! If you're pinched for time, buy it online or at your local health food store. Or, substitute with butter.
- Chocolate hazelnut milk - 2 cups (substitute with any sweetened milk alternative)
- Ghee - 1 tablespoon (substitute with salted butter)
- Mixed nuts, raw - 2 cups (substitute with almond flour)
- Egg whites - 2
- Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- Chocolate chips - 1/3 cup (substitute with carob chips)
- Salt - A pinch (omit if using salted butter)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate hazelnut milk with the ghee (or butter). Stir until the ghee is melted and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces to a fraction of its original volume - it should be thick and concentrated. Remove from the heat and let cool. It will gel into a pudding-like texture. If is does not turn into pudding within 10 minutes, continue simmering to reduce the liquid for a bit longer. Set aside.
- While the liquid is simmering, grind the mixed nuts into coarse flour in a food processor. You can also substitute almond flour (you can usually find this in the natural foods or baking section of your grocery store). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in 5 tablespoons of the chocolate hazelnut pudding.
- Mix in the ground nuts.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Form the cookies: drop 1 tablespoon at a time of batter onto the parchment, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the outer shell is glossy and begins to brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Dunk in milk and devour.
Allergens: eggs, tree nuts