Cookie Monster Gets Healthy

My mom, when I was a kid, affectionately nicknamed me the “cookie monster” because of my love for cookies. I absolutely love cookies no matter what kind–if they are around I will eat them. I love eating them…I love baking them…I love reading about how to make them…anything cookie related, I love. I have even been known to break up several cookies in a bowl and pour milk over it. Man, that is my favorite treat! However, traditionally made cookies are actually very unhealthy. Did you know that? 😉
Wheat (or other grains), sugar, and other things make cookies a pretty dangerous treat to stuff down our throats. Of course, that does not make me crave them any less. I got away with my treats for many years into my adulthood, but within the past ten years or so, I started to not get away with it. Increased weight gain, severe headaches, intestinal issues…the list goes on with how many problems they caused. I had to find an alternative that did not involve avoiding my beloved treats. Because, let’s face it–that was never going to happen, EVER.
I started researching how to make cookies grain and sugar free. Then I started experimenting…wow, was my baking ever bad! Nothing came out right at first, and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. But I soon figured out this key issue: most healthy ingredients that I now use to bake cookies with do not act the same as the traditional baking ingredients. In other words, if I try using a 1:1 ratio in any given recipe, my results would be disgusting.
For example: stevia is 100-300 times sweeter than sugar, and if one were to do a 1:1 ratio, your ending product would turn out very bitter and “diet” tasting. Yuck! That is not a good scenario. I learned that I had to use 1/8 to 1/4 of the amount of stevia to the sugar recommended in any recipe. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, I would generally use about 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of stevia powder, or 1/4 cup simple stevia syrup. What about the bulk that sugar adds? To be honest, it doesn’t make as much of a difference as you would think it would. If it does become a problem, however, either add a little more nut flour, or a bit more liquid to make up for it.
The next problem I ran into was the consistency of the nut flour versus traditional wheat/all purpose flour. The main property that all purpose flour has that a grain free flour does not is gluten. Gluten is a protein that binds things together and gives the final product its spongy or chewy texture. It is also the same thing that gives so many people digestive problems.
My solution is very simple: add 1-3 tablespoons of coconut flour to my nut flour. Why? Coconut flour is very dense, and it will soak up any liquid around–making your finished product almost similar to traditional baked goods. Added to almond or cashew flour, it acts almost like all purpose flour.
About 10 years ago, Sesame Street tried giving Cookie Monster a makeover, and portray him eating fruits and vegetables. In a move to make him healthier, they took away his very reason for being. It didn’t go over very well, and soon he was back to eating cookies–but in moderation. However, this cookie monster (me) has found an alternative to both of those solutions. This blog is meant to share with you my recipes for a healthier alternative to traditional cookies, and to show you that you can have cookies that are just as tasty as traditional cookies, without all the health problems that go with it. Enjoy!

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