I feel as if this time of year people fall into one of two categories. There are the ones who cling to summer, never wanting it’s warm rays and lush produce to end. Then there are the others who are craving fall, a break from the sun and some cozier food. Last year I fell into the first camp, having survived my first real winter in Colorado and getting a taste of what mountain adventures in the summer could amount to – I never wanted it to end. Now that I am back in southern California, I’m eager for less crowds, cooler temps, and fall activities. I often feel exhausted by the end of summer (in a good way), with it’s long days of sunlight keeping me active. But we are approaching the time when the earth’s cycle balances the long active summer days with shorter days and an easier light.
We are still a few months from completely experiencing the change here on the west coast, but I’m already dreaming of what’s to come. Foggy morning walks through the pumpkin patches, cinnamon in my coffee, and a weekly baked good are a few of the things I’m looking forward to the most. Above them all, however, is our end of summer camping trip. When the weather cools off a bit, and the schools start up again – draining crowds from popular destinations – this is when we head out to explore. Last year it was to Arches NP in Utah, then through the Rocky Mountains along the Crystal River and up to Sylvan Lake. This year it will be to Redwoods NP in northern California, after stopping for a night in Yosemite on our way north, and staying along the golden central coast on our way back south. We will be camping for several nights on the sandy beach of the redwoods, with trees lining the coast and a herd of elk to keep us company. My mind is already consumed by the impending peace, adventure, and beauty that is coming up next week. I am so ready for a little away time in the woods with my man. Where the only task each day is to “live”. With plenty of s’mores, of course.
A little over a year ago from today I posted my last recipe on FW that contained processed sugar. Since then, this ingredient has not set foot in our home. The recipe I had posted was for my go-to chocolate chip cookie at the time. But after a few mis-attempts at recreating it to perfection myself (as well as by a few readers who struggled) I decided it’s removal from my recipe page was necessary. I promised myself I would develop one free of processed sugar that I approved of wholeheartedly. I needed to believe it was truly incredible before I brought another one to you here. After an entire year of recipe testing further, and about six batches made last week alone, I am so thrilled to share the final result with you today! A soft, pillowy chocolate chip cookie. Perfectly sweet, and studded with dark chocolate. These absolutely melt in your mouth. I hope you enjoy a little pre-fall baked treat in the midst of soaking up the last few weeks of summer. And if this recipe happens to make the cut, I’d love to know what you think.
I will be making a special variation of these cookies on my Nom show today if you’d like to tune in, as well as be airing another show this upcoming Sunday covering our camp food as I am packing it up for our big trip next week! I hope to see you at one of the shows, and cannot wait to share our adventures with you next. Have the loveliest of weeks now friends. – xx
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes 16 cookies.
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (as a liquid)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups light spelt flour (whole grain works too)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and mix. Sift the flour (see note), baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt into the mixing bowl. Stir until the mixture just starts to come together. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of almond milk on top of the dough and continue to mix until the soft cookie dough forms. If it is too dry, add an additional teaspoon of almond milk at a time until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. If it is too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour until it becomes more manageable. Add the chopped dark chocolate and stir once more to incorporate.
Roll spoonfuls of dough (2 tablespoons each) into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Press down slightly into disks. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cool on the counter or a wire rack. Enjoy warm with a glass of almond milk, and store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter (or in the freezer) until ready to serve. Let frozen cookies thaw on the counter before serving.
Cookie ramekins: divide cookie dough between 4 – 4 inch, or 3 – 6 inch ramekins and press down firmly (dough should be one inch thick). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, let slightly cool, and serve right away. Preferably with a glass of nut milk or scoop of coconut milk ice cream.
NOTE: For best results, fluff your flour with a fork before scooping with a spoon into your measuring cups and leveling with a knife. This ensures no “packing” of the flour into your measuring cups, which will leave you with a drier dough. For the chocolate, I use a 77% dark chocolate bar that I love – use whichever is your favorite. I chop mine in small and large chunks to make the cookie bites a bit more interesting. Light spelt flour is my favorite here, however whole spelt will yield a tasty cookie all the same.