11 October 2013

Nut Better

I wasn't, dear reader, going to bother to share these with you, as they are all over the web in different forms and everybody (I think?) knows about the three-ingredient peanut butter cookie, but, you click around this site because you trust me, right? Maybe we have similar taste buds or flavor DNA? And so, it's with confidence that I present these Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies. One bowl, a few ingredients, butterless, flourless. That alone is enough to turn on the oven.

Sure, they aren't the same as a floured nut-buttered cookie (these are my choice floured peanut butter cookies) but... if you like chewy centers, slightly crisp edges and want a recipe in your arsenal that you really don't have to plan much for (there are a few things you can optionally do if you want to be a little more anal/precise but we'll get to that), then this is a very good cookie for when you don't want to be bothered and for when you're not feeling flour. And if you have a scale, it will be even easier.

The quest for this started yesterday. I was in a slight funk. Nothing major, I just couldn't manage to do much. First thing in the morning, I'd power-walked across town on a mandated empty stomach to and fro to have blood drawn for a physical. When I arrived home, chilled, hungry, and slightly speckled with raindrops, I seemed to go into snowed-in-mode: hot beverage, already made baked good, and computer time. The cold wind blew against the trees throughout the morning and I seemed to lull with it, donning an old black hoodie and Ed's heavy socks, distractedly approaching my work on the screen.

When the latter part of the day rolled around, I wanted a no-fuss sweet with my tea: a flourless nut-butter cookie with what I had on hand...which was...tahini? A quick web search showed it had been done. So I mixed a batch up but I knew the problem before they went into the oven. My tahini is powerful stuff, not the light kind. So, they were ok, but I was not totally digging. Not bad, but, the tahini was too dark/deep in flavor here for me to become neutralized into it's sweetest cookie-self. So I noted: neutral-er nut butter (beyond peanut) + vanilla. Ed liked them, though, so I gave him the rest. Both of us are suckers for anything with nuts and dark chocolate.

Ahem. Take 2, enter almond butter.

With almond butter, the nut flavor is fainter. You're not eating a peanut butter cookie, you're eating a faintly almond-based cookie with chocolate chunks. The almond butter, when cooked, has a nice slightly magical way of neutralizing itself thus becoming both the flour and the butter of the recipe.

Now, if you want to fuss a little...

-Another great thing about this (again I mention the scale) is that you can play mathematician and divvy up the base recipe to make however many cookies you'd like. The basic formula being 1: scant 1:1: 1 + a chocolate add in. Know that that base formula will make around 20 cookie balls about a tablespoon in size. For this batch, I quartered the base formula and made 5.

-Also, to ensure even baking, simply weigh the dough log/mass and divide accordingly. My dough log weighed 125 grams, so I made each ball about 25 grams before baking off.

-Chilling is optional, but I found it a good step. It lets the log firm up a tad for easier ball-forming. And chilling dough never hurts when it comes to flavor-melding.

-Once scooped, you can flash freeze the dough balls and bake from the freezer adding a few minutes to baking time.

Here you go : )

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Lightly adapted from here and here

Base recipe:
1 c (220 g) creamy almond butter, natural, and WELL STIRRED (I used Once Again)
Scant 1 c (140-170 g) sugar (I used a combination of coconut sugar and natural cane)
1 egg lightly beaten
Pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
Heaping 1/4 c (60 grams) Chopped dark chocolate


Preheat oven to 350/line sheet with baking paper.
Beat almond butter and sugar together (no need for mixer, wooden spoon is good here)
Mix in egg, vanilla, baking soda and beat until combined
Fold in chocolate just until combined
Dump dough onto plastic wrap and press together into log.
+Optionally chill for 10-30 min
Pluck tablespoon size rounds of dough and flatten a tad on baking sheet
Sprinkle a few grains coarse salt.
Bake 10-11 minutes. They will be fragile and puffed but starting to brown on the sides and crack on top.
Cool on tray 10 min.
Cool further on wire rack until ready to eat : )

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