Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (PB and Nutella flavors)

Photo from www.texanerin.com

This photo by Erin of texanerin.com was all but irresistible!

I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest about two months ago for Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (flour, oil, and refined sugar free). These awesome cookies use chickpeas, and since I think chickpeas are pretty cool little beans, this recipe was definitely pin-worthy…but since I don’t bake often they fell off of my radar. Then, about a month later, friend after friend shared these on facebook and I figured it was time to take the plunge.

The original recipe calls for natural peanut butter, but Boyfriend is allergic so I made my own cashew butter to use instead because I had a ton of cashews in the pantry. I hear it’s cheaper to make your own too (BONUS!). For instructions for making your own peanut or cashew butter, Erin over at Texan Erin Baking has a great tutorial here.

Cookies

When I made them the first time, I was instantly in love…warm, gooey, chocolatey…heaven. They’re not perfectly healthy, but they sure beat my old Tollhouse recipe and I think they might be even more delicious! After one successful attempt, I started wondering about all of the ways that this recipe could be modified and remembered Nutella. I’m still working on an oatmeal chocolate chip variety, a cranberry white chocolate variety, and a cocoa peanut butter chip (Reese’s) variety. Both the original and Nutella versions are below. Scroll to the bottom for the Nutella version.

Cookie Close-up

The original recipe had lots of hints and tips, including the following (plus a few of my own):

  • Chickpea flour won’t work
  • This will burn out less powerful blenders (I’ve done it successfully, but it requires lots of scraping and it’s definitely at the upper limit of my blender’s capabilities)
  • Do not add eggs, dairy, or flour to this recipe; it will not work
  • These are best eaten warm; to reheat them, put them into the microwave on high for 10 seconds.
  • These can be made dairy free by using vegan chocolate chips and homemade Nutella (store bought contains milk)
  • They can be made grain free by substituting the baking powder with 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot
  • These can be made ahead, rolled into balls, and frozen for a quick treat later. Just place the desired number onto a cookie sheet and bake as described

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups(230 grams) cooked chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter
1/4 Cup honey or agave syrup (or 30 drops Stevia)
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the top and sides and process again until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and pulse the food processor a few times. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes until firm.

With wet hands, form the dough into 1½” balls. Place balls of dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.

These cookies will not rise and will generally hold their round shape.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups(230 grams) cooked chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3/4 Cup Nutella (to make your own, go here)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the top and sides and process again until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and pulse the food processor a few times. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes until firm.

With wet hands, form the dough into 1½” balls. Place balls of dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.

These cookies will not rise and will generally hold their round shape.

Sour Cream and Onion Sweet Potato Chips (Microwave)

Seasoned Chips

I have an admission to make: I love snack food. That probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise since most people love snack food, but for me it’s become a bit of a problem lately. Since I’ve gone on this wheat and corn free diet, my asthma and allergies are substantially better, but the number of available snack food options is significantly worse. Just about every product on the grocery store shelves seems to contain some derivative of one of these products. Can anyone explain to me why Sour Cream and Onion potato chips need to contain not one, but TWO different corn based products?

My first solution was roasted chickpeas. Did you know you can make them in the microwave in 12 minutes instead of the hour or so it takes in the oven without heating up your house in the middle of the summer? Amazing! (I’ll post more on that sometime soon.) Sadly, I can only handle so many chickpeas in a row before I start longing for potato chips again. I miss the perfect crunchy instant snack, but I do not miss the preservatives and additives or the unhealthily high fat content.

Luckily, I came across a couple of blog posts recently that changed everything. The first was for microwaved zucchini chips, and the second was for a dry mix for sour cream and onion roasted potato wedges. Finally, I found this post by bubbly nature creations for Sour Cream and Onion Veggie Chips, and I knew what I had to do! The combination of the tangy seasoning with the lightly sweet chips is perfectly balanced. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. They don’t taste like commercial Sour Cream and Onion chips, but they are definitely delicious!

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 Sweet Potato, thinly sliced
1/3 cup powdered buttermilk (found in the baking aisle near nonfat dry milk)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. Parmesan, finely grated (or the canned)
1/2 Tbsp. Onion powder
1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
Spritz of oil, optional*
Dried Chopped Chives for garnish, optional*

On Parchment Chips

Mix the powdered buttermilk, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Parmesan together in a small sized bowl. Place the sweet potato sliced in a single layer onto a parchment lined microwave safe plate and spray lightly with oil. Microwave slices of similar diameter together to prevent burning (larger slices will take longer than smaller slices). Microwave on high for up to 6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes and in 30-60 second increments thereafter until the veggies have started to brown. Wait until they brown a little (darken in the center) or they will not crisp up, but be careful not to over-brown or burn them. Sprinkle seasonings over potato slices (use a mesh strainer for this), and sprinkle with the chives if desired. These can be eaten right away or stored for up to a day.

Microwave Pear Crisp in a Mug

Fresh, ripe, juicy pears are one of my favorite foods. To eat such a pear any way but fresh with the juice running down my chin and through my fingers is almost sacrilegious. However, I came across this wonderful recipe for pear crisp in a mug and decided it was worth sacrificing one juicy pear to try it.

Making Pear Crisp

Ingredients:
1 pear, sliced thin
1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
2 tsp brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp oat flour
2 Tbsp rolled oats
1/2 tsp butter, melted (for dairy free, substitute canola or coconut oil)

In a small bowl, toss together pear slices, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar; pour into a microwave-safe ramekin or large coffee mug.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oat flour, oats, oil, and remaining brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour this over the pear slices.

Microwave on HIGH for 1 to 1:30 minutes.

Adapted from Microwave Pear Crisp by Act like a Woman, Eat like a Man.

Easy Microwave Lemon Curd

My Beautiful Mother! (She would probably kill me if she knew I posted a picture of her on the internet, but I've always thought she was one of the most beautiful women I know.)

My Beautiful Mother! (She would probably kill me if she knew I posted a picture of her on the internet, but I’ve always thought she was one of the most beautiful women I know.)

In (slightly early) honor of Mother’s Day, this recipe is dedicated to my mom.

My mother is a wonderful woman, and I have her to thank for my cooking acumen. Growing up, I spent almost as much time sitting on the kitchen counter or perched on a chair helping her cook as I did playing outside with my friends. Despite the fact that we’re both getting older, I still see her as she was when I was small, happily teaching me everything there was to know about cooking and baking. I still call her with questions like how to cook her meatloaf; she keeps telling me that I should write down the instructions, but I like calling her to ask.

My mother made Lemon Meringue Pie every single summer. I remember cracking the eggs, learning how to separate them, stirring in the lemon juice and licking the thick curd off of the wooden spoon; I remember watching her whip the meringue, and using the spatula to form pretty peaks. Unlike most lemon meringue pies, hers had a mildly tangy lemon filling with a lightly sweetened meringue. Her pie tasted like summer. Sadly, her recipe was lost and I’ve never found another like it.

Microwave Lemon Curd

If I could choose one item that encompasses every good memory I have of my mother, this would be it. I found this recipe for Microwave Lemon Curd a few days ago, but I had to wait until I had a free moment to make it; tonight was the night. I’ve never tasted lemon curd before, but everything I’ve read about it suggests it tastes like Heaven in a jar. The moment I licked the spoon, I was transported back to those childhood summers, learning to cook and idolizing the woman who magically turned eggs, lemon, and sugar into one of my favorite treats. This curd isn’t quite as thick as Mom’s lemon filling, but the flavor is absolutely perfect. It might not be Heaven, but it’s close.

Mom, this one’s for you!

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

In a large microwave-safe bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the sugar and whisk together until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter.

Cook in the microwave on full power for 3-5 minutes, stirring after each minute. The amount of time will vary based on the strength of your microwave**. You will know the lemon curd is done cooking when it coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the microwave, push through a fine, mesh sieve and pour into sterile jar.

Notes: **Mine took 5 minutes in an 1100 watt microwave.
This recipe makes just under 3 cups.
Store lemon curd in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from Microwave Lemon Curd by My Baking Addiction.

Pina Colada Muffin in a Mug

I’m feeling a little bit sorry for my regular 12 cup muffin tin. It doesn’t get much use these days and I can’t help but picture it sitting forlornly in the drawer beneath the stove, sighing and lamenting its neglect. Someday soon, I’m going to have to pull it out and make a big batch of muffin or cupcake shaped somethings to give away, but today is not that day. Today, I have some left over shredded coconut sitting in the pantry and a new can of crushed pineapple just begging for a chance to shine.

I’m using this recipe as motivation. (I have the ingredients figured out, and I have enough faith in my microwave muffin instincts now that I’m sure it will work out.) I need to start exercising more, especially since the weather is warming up and I no longer need to make the drive to the gym to keep from turning into an icicle. (Oh how I love Maine winters!) I have all of the necessary workout gear, but I usually lack the motivation to get up and go.

Boyfriend has been talking about starting a couch to 5k, although he’s pretty fit so he’s not really starting at couch, and he’s been hinting that I should too. So, today marks the start of my couch to 5k. As soon as I get back, I’ll put one of these luscious muffins into the microwave! I’m not quite sure that rewarding myself with baked goods is the best way to go about this, but a muffin in a mug is certainly a better option than a whole pan of brownies, right?

Speaking of a whole pan of brownies, I have a wonderful recipe for homemade brownies that almost perfectly replicates my favorite boxed mix, (Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge Brownies). I’ll post that one this afternoon!

**After a two-mile walk, I came home to my pina colada muffin. It tasted just as amazing as I expected, although it had a slightly more custard-like texture, so I felt like I was eating dessert! All I needed was a bit of fresh whipped cream. I hope you enjoy it too! (Sadly, I just couldn’t seem to get a good picture.)

Ingredients:

2.5 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vinegar
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp melted butter
4-5 drops vanilla extract
4 Tbsp flour
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp shredded coconut
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp crushed pineapple (drain if using canned)

In a mug, add the milk and vinegar together, and allow to stand 5 minutes. Add the egg, melted butter, and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Stir in the pineapple.

Microwave on high for up to 3 minutes, checking after 90 seconds. (Mine took exactly 2 minutes.)

Adapted from Pina Colada Muffins by Kitchen Confidante.

Spiced Applesauce Cake in a Mug

Applesauce Cake with Butter

Can you tell that I’m obsessed with mug recipes? This past week, I’ve been working feverishly to put up a show. I choreographed a long dance piece that opened yesterday, so I haven’t had much time to grocery shop, cook, do dishes, or just about anything else unrelated to dancing. With few clean dishes, a nearly empty pantry, and very little time, I’ve had to get creative when I get hungry.

I find mug cooking for breakfast to be perfect. It only takes me a couple of minutes to put together, tastes great, and is additive free. Two days ago, I made banana bread in a mug. Unfortunately, that was my last banana. One of the few ingredients that I have lying around at the moment is applesauce. I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to make applesauce cake in a mug. It was delicious! I hope you enjoy it too.

This recipe is amazing for breakfast or a snack with a bit of butter. It would also make a wonderful dessert with a bit of drizzled cream cheese icing or topped with vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.

Ingredients:
1/4 Cup applesauce
1/2 Egg, lightly beaten (or 1 egg yolk)
Dash Vanilla extract
4 Tbsp All-purpose flour
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Baking soda
Pinch Salt
Dash cinnamon
Dash Ginger
Dash Cloves

Batter

Add all of the ingredients to a mug and stir to combine. Microwave on high for up to 3 minutes, checking after 90 seconds; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. This cake rises quite a bit, so keep an eye on it; if it looks about to pour over the sides, pause the cooking until it settles.

Applecause Cake

Minute Brownie in a Mug

I absolutely love brownies. I can’t stand having a whole pan of them sitting around the house. This is the perfect solution! Boyfriend only gives this one 4 forks because it’s so rich.

Brownie with Whipped Cream

This recipe is amazing. I microwaved it for 65 seconds in an 1100 watt microwave and it came out with a fudgey molten center. 75-80 seconds would result in a firmer brownie. Be careful not to overcook it. (Since it has no eggs it only needs to get warm enough to taste good.)

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp warm water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 dash salt
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a 12 oz coffee mug, melt the butter; add the water, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Add cocoa powder, sugar, and flour; mixing well after each addition.

Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. The center should be slightly molten; be careful not to overcook it.

Enjoy it with a bit of fresh whipped cream. Be careful; as with most microwave magic, the center will be hot enough burn a hole through your tongue.

NOTES:
I served mine with homemade whipped cream (put up to a 1/4 C heavy cream and a small amount of sugar to taste in a blender and blend until stiff) and some homemade hot fudge. If your microwave is a lower wattage, you’ll probably have to cook it a bit longer to get a fully cooked brownie.

Inspired by this recipe by Wheres_the_beef?

Banana Bread in a Mug

I am obsessed with cooking things in mugs. Boyfriend works nights, so I usually only cook one big meal for him, and then I eat the leftovers for dinner the next day. The rest of the time I’m on my own and I hate making a lot of food when I’m only hungry for something small. Microwave mug cooking has been the perfect solution.

Up until now, I’ve been working exclusively from other people’s established recipes. I had half of a banana left over from a PB&Banana sandwich the other day, so I decided to make banana bread in a mug to use it up. Unfortunately, all of the recipes I found called for a whole egg and a whole banana for just one little mug. In my regular recipe, one egg and three bananas makes a whole loaf pan, so it seemed a little bit out of proportion.

I’m still a little leery when it comes to baking and I like to stick to recipes exactly as they’re written, but I wasn’t happy with anything I found. It seemed my only choice was to depart from the script and try to create my own. The result was absolutely perfect.

In a mug, mash the banana with a fork.

With a fork, mash your banana in the mug.


 
Add the egg, oil, and extract and stir. Add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully combined.

Add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully combined.


 
Microwave for up to 3 minutes, checking after 90 seconds. Mine was on the verge of overflowing, so I paused it at 45 seconds to let it settle before finishing the cooking. (Mine took 90 seconds total.)

Microwave for up to 3 minutes, checking after 90 seconds. Mine was on the verge of overflowing, so I paused it at 45 seconds to let it settle before finishing the cooking. (Mine took 90 seconds total.)


 
If you prefer your bread slightly brown like it's fresh out of the oven (I do!), place it under the broiler with the oven door slightly open. Cook just until the top is a golden brown. Do not walk away, because it can turn from golden to charred.

If you prefer your bread slightly brown like it’s fresh out of the oven (I do!), place it under the broiler with the oven door slightly open. Cook just until the top is a golden brown. Do not walk away, because it can quickly turn from golden to charred.


 
Serve warm with a little bit of butter.

Serve warm with a little butter.


 
Ingredients:
1/2 Banana
1/2 Egg, lightly beaten (or 1 egg yolk)
Scant Tbsp Vegetable oil
Dash Vanilla extract
4 Tbsp All-purpose flour
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp Sugar
Scant 1/4 tsp Baking soda
Pinch Salt

In a mug, mash the banana with a fork. Add the egg, oil, and extract and stir. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully combined. Microwave for up to 3 minutes, checking after 90 seconds. Mine was on the verge of overflowing, so I paused it at 45 seconds to let it settle before finishing the cooking. (Mine took 90 seconds total.)

If you prefer your bread slightly brown like it’s fresh out of the oven (I do!), place it under the broiler with the oven door slightly ajar. Cook just until the top is a golden brown. Do not walk away, because it can quickly turn from golden to charred.

Serve warm with a little bit of butter.

Egg-free Brownie Batter and Cookie Dough (for snacking)

A few months ago my roommate taught me about “National Fail Day,” a day when absolutely everything you try to do fails to come to fruition. About a week ago, I ‘decided’ to celebrate my own “National Fail Day”.

I started my day with an argument, burnt my breakfast, couldn’t find the paperwork to renew my driver’s license, missed an appointment, and had my phone die mid conversation. That all happened before breakfast! On days like “National Fail Day,” sometimes you just need something awesome to help make up for it all. A single serving of Egg-free Brownie Batter or Cookie Dough did just the trick!

Cookie Dough

For both of these recipes, mix all of the ingredients in a coffee mug and enjoy the results with a spoon!

Brownie Batter

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons water
1 dash teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Whisk together the butter, water, extract, and salt. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and flower and stir until combined.

Cookie Dough

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Granulated White Sugar
1 Tbsp of firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 Drops of Vanilla Extract
Small Pinch of Kosher Salt
1-1 1/2 Tbsp Milk
Scant ¼ C of All Purpose Flour (slightly less than ¼ of a cup)
2 heaping Tbsp of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine the butter, sugars, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the milk and stir to combine. Add the flour and continue stirring until fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips.

Nutella Mug Cake

Now that the weather is nice and the chance of winter weather is all but gone, it’s time for spring cleaning. We have wonderful mats in our entry way that trap the water and sand so we don’t track it through the house all winter long. Unfortunately, they haven’t been cleaned since some time in January. I pulled them up, and the floor underneath was absolutely caked with dried winter sludge. I swept up as much as I could, but parts of the floor still had a thick layer of the muck. After the first mopping, I took a break to let it dry and thought I’d make myself a treat to pass the time.

Image of Nutella Mug Cake by live love pasta

Doesn’t that look beautiful? As soon as I saw it on live love pasta, I knew that I had to try it. After making Nutella Filled Banana Muffins last weekend, I had half of a jar of Nutella floating around, so I ran out of excuses not to make some.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons self-rising flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Nutella
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whipped cream, if desired
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Batter

Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug. Whisk well with a fork until smooth. Microwave on high for 1½– 3 minutes. (Time depends on microwave; mine took 1½ minutes.)

Nutella Cake Fail
This is how mine turned out. It doesn’t exactly have the souffle quality of the one above. It certainly rose, right out of my giant mug! The recipe calls for a large mug, so I used my extra large 11 ounce cafe style college mug. If this won’t hold it all, I don’t know what will. I would actually recommend splitting this batter into two mugs and watching it carefully in the microwave. If it looks like it’s going to overflow, pause it to let it settle a bit and then continue cooking. Despite its forlorn appearance, it tasted as good as that first picture looked!

 
 
 
Add heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until almost stiff. Add sugar and beat until heavy cream forms stiff peaks. Top Mug Cakes with whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce, if desired.