Taking a Study Break with Chocolate Chip Cookies

UPDATE: I had a friend try these with Splenda, her preferred sweetener, and they turned out well. She said they could have been sweeter, but the sweetness level was just right for her taste.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I’m stressed, I bake. There’s something comforting about the mindless measuring, the systematic method of the steps, and of course, the instant gratification. Not that I’m too uptight this time of the semester. It’s just really nice to step away from my reading material a few moments for a sweet reward. Cookies fit the bill nicely!

After working and re-working this all natural sugar-free gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, I am now satisfied with the results. Cookies without real sugars (including natural sugars–agave, honey, etc.) OR artificial sweeteners are a tough nut to crack! I really try to avoid both because of the metabolic response caused by sucrose and fructose (e.g. agave nectar!), as well as the artificial nature of manmade molecules such as Splenda. This may be an overly cautious approach, but being the science junkie that I am, stevia and erythritol seem like the safest options for now. If you like Splenda and other artificial sweeteners, and they help you to stay on your low carb plan, use ‘em. You’re likely healthier than you would otherwise be eating “real” sugar. You have find what works for you.

These fabulous cookies are flavorful, soft, and just sweet enough. The recipe was inspired by this wonderful basic cookie by Batspit at the Active Low Carber forum. If you can tolerate dairy, definitely use butter in this recipe for the most flavor. The slight cooling from the erythritol is not distracting, but “refreshing,” as my roommate and faithful tester phrased it in her lovely British accent. That was the problem with every cookie recipe I had tried before–the erythritol would make the pastry feel like a mint the minute it hit your tongue. Not very chocolate chip cookie-like. The key ingredient here is xanthan gum, so if you haven’t invested in a bag, do it now. I mean it! Grab your keys, drive to the health food store, and make a positive change in your life by buying this miraculous gluten replacer. It keeps the erythritol from causing its mischief, leaving you with a tray full of pleasantly sweet chocolate chip cookies instead of icy pucks.

Other reasons to buy xanthan gum: It thickens smoothies, ice cream, homemade salad dressings, keeps your gluten-free quickbreads from crumbling, and stabilizes whipped cream for longer term storage. A little bit of it goes a long way, so use a light hand or you’ll end up with barbeque sauce flavored pudding… not that I would know!

If you want to save time, pick up some 73% cacao chocolate disks from Whole Foods. I used El Rey’s Apamate Chocolate, but Dagoba makes a nice product as well. No, the chocolate isn’t super low carb, but you’re only using a touch of luxurious chocolate in these adorable drop cookies. Just remember that it’s not a healthy indulgence if you eat the whole batch at once! I recommend just baking these cookies as you’d like to eat them, both to aid in portion control and to experience them at their peak–warm from the oven. Like most gluten-free baked goods, you don’t want to wait around to indulge. A quick zap in the nuker can also restore these cookies to their former glory. Keep the dough in a ball in the fridge and pop a couple of cookies in the toaster oven when you need a sweet escape from the madness.

Flourless, sugar-free, dairy-free… flavor-FULL!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies, 2

BLOG PHOTOS choc chip cookies3

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 18 large cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted organic butter OR coconut oil
2 cage-free organic eggs
3/4 cup erythritol OR 1/2 cup preferred sugar-free sweetener
3 cups blanched almond flour (can replace 1 cup with unsweetened coconut)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon organic blackstrap molasses
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract (omit if you use Splenda)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (not necessary if you use Splenda)
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup homemade chocolate chunks OR a chopped Lindt 70% cacao bar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Powder erythritol with sea salt in coffee grinder or magic bullet (use the flat blade). Melt butter or oil in mixing bowl with the microwave, using 15 second intervals. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Whisk in erythritol, sea salt, stevia extract, and blackstrap molasses. Pulse coconut flakes into a powder in magic bullet, if desired. Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together and stir into wet ingredients, adding nuts and chocolate chunks after the dough comes together. Shape dough into balls and squish on an ungreased cookie sheet with the clean bottom of glass–these cookies will not spread. If you are making the drop cookies, omit the blackstrap molasses and press chocolate drops into the tops of your cookie dough rounds, smoothing the edges with your fingertips if they crack.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until barely brown on the bottom. You don’t want to overcook these and dry them out! Let cool completely on the cookie sheet without touching, then remove from the pan and store in an airtight tupperware container. Nuke in the microwave before consuming for maximum enjoyment and gooeyness! Serve with unsweetened almond milk, flavored with a touch of stevia.

~3 grams net carbs per big cookie (with homemade chocolate chunks included)

Dairy-Free Option: Use coconut oil or palm oil based shortening (shortening NOT recommended, as it doesn’t add any flavor) in place of butter. Use full fat coconut milk in place of the cream added to the chocolate chunks.

Dainty little drop cookies wearing cute chocolate buttons. Aren’t they adorable?
healthy-chocolate-chip-cookies

Sugar-Free Milk Chocolate Chunks (updated recipe HERE):

Ingredients:
1-3.5 oz 85% cacao chocolate bar (Lindt or Ghirardelli)
3 tablespoons erythritol, powdered
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract

Preparation:
chop chocolate bar and add powdered erythritol. Microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH and stir. Mixture will be clumpy. Heat for 15 more seconds and stir until chocolate is smooth. Microwave in 10 second intervals to melt completely if necessary. Stir in stevia and pour into a pan lined with parchment paper. Quick set in the freezer for 10 minutes. Chop into chunks and store in a zip top baggy.

BLOG PHOTOS choc chip cookie bite

  • Kathryn

    wow.
    Seriously.
    wow.

    I have such high hopes for the low carb lifestyle, largely in part to your blog!
    I want to make all of this stuff, teeny problem is living in Oslo, Norway and lack of availibility of the fancypants natural ingredients! Do you have a list you would reccommend of must have staples for the kitchen? I’m thinking my mom can do a Whole Foods run for me and send me a care package! So, if you were living in Scandanavia, what would your care package from the states have in it??
    Thanks in advance!!!
    Best!
    K

  • meronica vars

    Oh, bless you child. I am so on this one, just need to hit up the health food store.

    Glad you posted a new one!

  • jeri

    I can’t wait to make these
    BTW-you’ve been tagged!
    Jeri

  • Anonymous

    I recently checked on erythritol at the health food store I shop at and it is outragously expensive! I have been interested in lower carb recipes but I can’t pay that when trying to feed a family of five. Your cookies look yummy, but unfortunately I will have to pass:(

  • Lauren

    Kathryn – You can do it! :) Check out the “ingredients info” tag on the side bar. That should direct you to the post about GF wraps that has most of the products I keep in the pantry! Email me if you have any more questions.

    Meronica Vars – I know who YOU are. Miss you! :D

    Jeri – Thanks for the tag! Hope you enjoy the cookies.

    Anonymous – Emerald Forest, iherb.com, and Honeyville Grain (Google those) have
    the best prices for erythritol I’ve seen. In stores, erythritol IS outrageously expensive! You could try Splenda as the primary sweetener if you don’t mind it.

  • Anonymous

    May I just say that I love you?:)
    You have the best low carb food blog I’ve ever read – not only do you fill it with interesting nutrition information about the ingredients – you also don’t use funky stuff in your recipes.

    Not to mention, everything tastes incredible!

    I have a question about the pictures.
    How do you get everything to look so nice in the pictures – are you a hobby photographer as well?

    Thanks again for the yumminess!
    Angela

  • carrol

    Whole And Natural has a large selection of organic agave nectar in raw, light and amber.

  • Anonymous

    HI,
    I am new to the low-carb thing and had a few questions. First of all, I am mainly looking at low-carb because I am having some issues with my blood sugar. I was wondering about all the FAT in low-carb recipes that I have been looking at online. I can’t imagine eating so much fat! I was wondering if you are at a healthy weight even with eating almond flour, coconut milk etc. I have also read that it is NOT safe to go no-carb. Do you eat carbs at all? What made you want to go low-carb?

  • Lauren

    Angela – Thank you for the kind words! Glad you’re enjoying the recipes. As far as the photos are concerned, I have a 10 megapixel digital camera that pretty much does all the work for me! A great editing software like Paint Shop Pro can really sharpen up edges and brighten the colors of your photos as well. :)

    Anonymous – Here is a wonderful link condensing a lot of the science behind low-carbing:

    http://www.youmeworks.com/whylowcarb.html

    To put it quite simply, as long as you’re not eating carbs, you can’t store fat because the fat-storing hormone hasn’t been released. Dietary fat is the LEAST likely to be stored as fat on your body, as long as you conusme it with very few carbs. Less carbs = less insulin. Your body can thus tap into your STORED fat, causing you to lose weight. As long as I don’t go overboard, I can maintain and even lose weight easily eating low carb treats. Fat is incredibly nourishing for your body (as long as it’s natural and minimally processed)–embrace it! Don’t buy into the cholesterol myth. Read as much of the scientific info you can handle about low-carbing before taking the plunge! :)

  • Sophie

    Wow, these look awesome! Love the huge chocolate pieces too :).

  • Sophie

    I nominated your blog for a blog award on my blog (Flour Arrangements) :). You don’t have to pass it along if you don’t want to, just thought I’d let you know that I’m a fan of your recipes and photos. Have a great weekend!

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much, Sophie! I’m coming over to visit your blog asap.

  • sugarfree

    I will bet my life that all the food that you posted here tastes good!!!!

    also.. i really love your food photography… great shots! keep it up.

  • Carrie

    Lauren — I’ve been a secret admirer of yours for MONTHS! Seriously! I’ve read every one of your posts and now that my doctor officially told me that Atkins was the best thing for me to lose weight, I am really excited because of all YOUR recipes! I made these chocolate chip cookies tonight with the following exceptions (due to what I had on hand)

    - I used spectrum palm shortening because I was out of butter and coconut oil

    -I didn’t have a whole lot of almond meal, so I subbed 1/2 cup ground flax seeds (great for low carb baking because they have an equal amt of fiber and carbs therefore 0 net carbs!!) and 1/2 cup soya flour in place of one cup of almond meal.

    - I only used 1/2 cup of erythritol and 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum.

    Lauren, I cannot tell you how AWESOME these cookies turned out! I am so excited! I LOVE erythritol! You are so right, it is a wonderful sugar sub! I cannot believe it do and how GOOD the cookies tasted!!

    Thank you for making my first attempt at a low carb, gluten free treat delicious! I am freezing the rest of my cookies so I won’t eat them tonight!

    But also, I think because of the high fiber and protein content, I was totally satisfied after eating two of them!! That is so awesome!

    Thank you for all of your recipes and your fantastic blog! I am a huge fan! Come visit me sometime at: http://www.gingerlemongirl.com

    With MANY thanks!!
    Carrie @ http://www.gingerlemongirl.com

  • rachel

    Thankyou for your refreshingly unjudgmental stance towards splenda users. I use both splenda and natural sweeteners such as stevia in my food, and I do so with knowledge of what I am using. I love health food but occasionally its easier to use splenda instead of stevia or sugar, and I get weary of these holier than thou nature eaters condemning that. Thanks for being cool.

  • Erika Bell

    Lauren,
    I discovered your blog months ago and have been trying a few of your recipes. I love everything chocolate and so this website is great for that!
    I started blogging about my lc journey 2 months ago and I did a post today about a chocolate chunk recipe and gave credits to yours.
    If you wanna go read it, its at erikabell.com
    Have a great day!
    thanks again

  • viagra online

    I recently checked on erythritol at the health food store I shop at and it is outragously expensive! I have been interested in lower carb recipes but I can't pay that when trying to feed a family of five. Your cookies look yummy, but unfortunately I will have to pass

  • Amy

    These cookies look a-mazing, but it doesn't say what to do with the xanthan gum? I'm an erythritol novice and have no idea what to do. Thanks!

  • Jeannie

    Just made these and they are awesome! Have been trying to figure it out on my own for a while now with only fair at best results. Thanks for figuring it out for me. Way impressed. Will try the ice creams next.

  • sherrie

    I am new to your blog and absolutely love it. I cook when stressed and use many of the usualy flours like quinoa, beans and amaranth. I just found out I am severe diabetic and even unsweetened chocolate, nuts and coconut raise my sugar levels until I get it under control. Do you have a cookbook out yet with all these great recipes so I don't have to print them all. I cook for so many friends who are GF, sugar free, and even complete allergy free and love to create desserts that have great taste and texture.

  • Anonymous

    Just to look this it makes me want to prove it. This are great specially 'cause I loved chocolate.In fact a friend of mine told me that chocolate give us energy, so is like visiting Viagra Online

  • Meg

    These were so fabulous! I just started on the low carb lifestyle and my family was craving something yummy and baked. This was a great treat! Your recipes are awesome! I hope you'll still continue to post them….I feel so lucky to have found your blog. :)

  • PhotographyMom.com

    Lauren!

    LOVE THIS! I'm so excited that I found this blog since my kids are full of allergies (GF/CF) and I'm trying to diet low carb.

    These cookies were AMAZING and we loved them!

    Can't wait to try the other recipes!

    THANK YOU!

  • Dusky Lady

    Hey sister! Nice to meet a fellow health food cookster! I'm 20-year old girl and I was so pumped to find this blog!! I was thinking I was the only girl trying to bake yummy things like cookies and chocolate without sugar and wheat :( LoL :)
    SO THanks so much for doing what you do.

    Cheers. (gotta go pull the cookies (wheat free) from the oven!)

  • kamagra

    My nephew loves Chocolate Chip Cookies so I'm a little bit clumsy in the kitchen, so I could see the recipe in here is really easy, I think I'm gonna please my nephew.m10m

  • Cassie

    Nothing like the smell of chocolate chipe cookies baking! Made these last night. I got 22 cookies out of the recipe. Would prefer them a bit sweeter but other than that very satisfied!

  • Lisa

    Lauren…made these yesterday and they were amazing!! Thanks so much for this recipe, your recipes have helped me lose 50lbs. in the last year. Your pancake recipe is also fantastic!!

  • JamBelly

    Hi Lauren,

    I made these cookies today, and mine were not very sweet. I used powdered erythritol. For your batch, did you use powdered or the crystal kind? I'm thinking I probably should've doubled the amount…

  • WinterRose

    Haven't tried this recipe yet, but I wanted to thank you for the low carb article that you posted for "Anonymous."

    The article was very informative and enlightening, and I shared the information with my dad.

    I've started eating low carb/no sugar because of Candida problems. After seeing how fired up I've become, my dad really wanted to try to eat healthier along with me, especially because of his Type 2 diabetes.

    After reading the article, I think it helped give us both an extra push. :)

    Now, if only my mom would come on board…

  • Lauren

    Hi JamBelly, sorry to catch your comment so late! I powdered my granular E. Did you use NuNaturals pure stevia?

    WinterRose, glad you found that article helpful. I am so happy to see all your comments! Thanks for sharing pics of your baked treats on Facebook, too. :)

  • WinterRose

    Hehe, no problem. :3 Although my treats don't come out nearly as beautiful as yours… but I'm working on it! ;) You're inadvertently mentoring me through your wonderful blog.

    Thanks so much!

  • Anonymous

    Hello…..first of alll kudos to you for making My life wonderful and delicious as a low crabber

  • Lauren

    Hello Anon! I would say the cookies won't be sweet enough without that amount of E. The xanthan gum might not be necessary, but I find it keeps the E from crystallizing and holds the cookies together without a sticky sweetener like real sugar. Let me know how they turn out for you!

  • sugarfreeandproudbitch

    I made these tonight. I used spectrum butter flavor shortening and used 2 tsp of almond extract for 2 of the 4 tsp of vanilla extract. I also used flaxseed as an egg replacer. Freaking stupendous!! You are a cooking genius Lauren! I love the truly sugar free (or minimal as possible) approach you have. It really is hard to find. and I love that you don't use splenda as your main sweetener! Thank you for your recipes!!!

  • Lauren

    Sugarfree (great username by the way, haha!) – So happy to hear the cookies worked out for you. Glad that the substitution worked! I will experimenting more with flax and chia now as egg replacers. :)

  • Anonymous

    I tried to make these cookies, and I they didn't turn out. Wondering if you can help me figure out what I did wrong?

  • Anonymous

    Lauren, I just took the second batch out of the oven and had one from the 1st. WOW! These are wonderful. I LOVE your blog and recipes and photos! You totally rock!!! I cannot tell you how it feels to have “sweets” of my own. I am type 2 , and the only one in my family, so to say the least I am stuck in a house full of carbs. I am determined to control it with diet! All your hard work and wonderful cooking talent is a blessing to me!

    Thank You!
    Della

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04347087598359953838 Rennie

    These cookies are so amazing!!! They are utterly delicious and don't seem to affect my blood sugar at all. I prepared the batter and rolled it into a log to store in the fridge, so I can slice and bake a few at a time. Otherwise, I would definitely go overboard! Thanks for figuring out how to make chocolate chip cookies low-carb! Also, the chocolate chunks are awesome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12992918908739085132 Lauren

    Rennie – Making a slice and bake “log” for quick chocolate chip cookes is a wonderful idea. :)

  • Anonymous

    Theses cookies look so good and i really want to make them. I was wondering what exact recipe you used to make the cookies in the picture? Cause there was a couple ingredience that had two options on what ingredience to use..? thanks:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13618599299440054908 Lauren

    Hi, Anon! I made these with the unsweetened coconut and stevia/erythritol combo. :)

  • anonymous

    These look amazing!! I really want to try it out. Instead of almond flour, can you use brown rice flour?

  • http://www.creativegreenliving.com Carissa Bonham

    These look like the tastiest gluten free cookies I’ve ever seen! I included it in a round up of 25 gluten free desserts. Thanks for sharing. :-) http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2013/03/25-delicious-gluten-free-desserts-that.html

  • http://mamamousesays.wordpress.com mikaela