Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Toasted Walnuts & Ricotta

Happy Saturday!  It's a gray, damp and overcast day here and only 37 degrees outside.  It looks and feels like snow, although I believe we only have some cold rain in our forecast.  I decided it was a perfect day to finally bake some cookies.  I've been wanting to bake some for a while now but unfortunately got the flu and missed out on 10 days of my usual holiday baking time.  So, I decided that today I would take a stab at making grain free cookies.  Since I couldn't find a recipe that really suited me, (although many I reviewed looked pretty good), I decided to create a new one.  I have made my share of traditional chocolate chip cookies over the years and for the most part they are pretty similar with only minor differences.  Chocolate chip cookies are one of those kind of treats that people usually have strong personal preferences about -- some like them crispy, some like them chewy...but I prefer mine soft and moist with the chocolate a little gooey like they are when they first come out of the oven.  Some like them with nuts and some without nuts.  I prefer mine with walnuts that are lightly toasted to bring out their flavor as well as make them crispy -- I like my cookies soft and my walnuts crispy!  To further moisten and produce a tender cookie, I added some whole fat ricotta cheese to the cookie dough batter.  I intentionally did not over sweeten the cookie dough because my sweet tooth is now significantly blunted after 5-1/2 months of not eating sugar or grains.  If you prefer your treats a little sweeter or are making these for kids, I would probably increase the sweetness just a little bit.  For my taste though, these are perfectly sweetened and delicious with a cup of hot coffee.  For the chocolate chips, I chopped an 85% cacao chocolate bar to use as my chips, but if you prefer yours a little sweeter, you may want to bump that up to a 70% cacao chocolate bar instead.

I would also like to share with you that I have now lost a total of 52 pounds in just 5-1/2 months simply by eliminating grains and sugar.  I have eaten extremely well during this time and have not been hungry whatsoever while following Dr. William Davis' Wheat Belly program.  I can't say enough about how awesome and effortless this plan has been to follow.  I have made it a point to celebrate the foods I can eat rather than to dwell and pine for the foods I can no longer eat.  I have re-learned how to cook delicious meals without using grains or sugar as well as adapt old recipes that used to be favorites to allow me to still enjoy them.  I can honestly say that I want for nothing and my hope is that by posting my meals that it might help inspire others to see that their days of eating delicious foods are not over -- but instead, have really just begun.  Rather than eat foods that are delicious but not good for your health, it is possible to enjoy foods that are both delicious AND good for your health too and to be able to do so shamelessly and without any guilt.  Below I snapped a few photos of my Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Toasted Walnuts & Ricotta as well as the recipe.  Enjoy! 









  
Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Toasted Walnuts & Ricotta

Ingredients:

2 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Swerve sweetener (add additional 1/4 cup if more sweetness is preferred)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven
3/4 cup 85% cacao chocolate bar (3.5 ounces), chopped (or 70% cacao bar for sweeter chips)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter, ricotta and Swerve sweetener in a medium mixing bowl using a hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).  Add egg and vanilla extract and beat another minute or so.  Add almond flour, baking powder and salt and mix into wet ingredients using a rubber spatula, stirring until the dough is mixed well.  Fold in toasted walnuts and chocolate pieces and mix just until blended.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet; and very lightly tamp down -- the cookies do not spread much while they bake.  Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Makes about 20 cookies.






54 comments:

Anonymous said...

These cookies look delicious! Congratulations on your weight loss. That is awesome and your positive outlook about your new way of eating is inspiring!. Liz in NC

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Liz -- they actually are good. Who knew that eating without traditional wheat flour and sugar could be so good (I surely didn't)? :-)

Kathryn said...

Congrats on your weight loss! That is awesome! I have been missing baking, more out of habit than missing the sweets, but I cannot wait to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kathryn! Thanks. I agree that part of the "baking" thing for me is habit too. Although, once in a while it is nice to have a special little treat. I find that when I do make treats -- they last a long time -- not like they used to when I was obsessed by them constantly. Now I eat a treat because I want to...not because I "have" to. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love the recipe and all the other wonderful recipes you have - such a treasure! I am going to try making these cookies over the long weekend ~ a sweet way to start out a new change for the better lifestyle. I've just come across the wheat belly way and am quite impressed by it. I don't know yet how much it would help me though. I am Indian, and vegetarian for the most part. Would you be willing to concoct up some Indian recipes please that I could try? :)
And congratulations on your fabulous weight loss efforts! Would you mind sharing before and after pics? I think that would be truly inspirational to those of us struggling. But I would understand if you wouldn't want to :). Many thanks and best wishes for a wonderful new year, Tara

Trina said...

Happy for you! I am still stuck at 44 pounds lost (not that I'm complaining but I have more to lose and I'd be happy if the scale would move again). I've been dreaming about choc chip cookies all day but don't have any ricotta. Wonder if sour cream or coconut milk would cut it?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

In case you didn't see it -- I posted on FB that I would probably go with the sour cream instead because I'm afraid the coconut milk might thin the batter too much and make the cookies spread. I am sure the scale will budge again soon for you! :-)

Annie said...

Bravo on your weight loss! It's been 4 1\2 months I follow the program of Dr. Davis, and no weight loss for me (but I have only 7 pounds to loose). My health is improving so much, that I'll eat like that for all my life for sure (no more joints pain). Your blog is like a gift for me, since I use it every week as an inspiration for my dinners and sweets. Thank you! Do you think I could use cream cheese instead of ricotta for these cookies?
Annie from Quebec, Canada

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Tara -- thanks! Do you have any specific recipes you would like me to help you convert? That way I would know what type of recipes you like to eat so you would enjoy them more! As far as the photos -- I hate to say it, but I typically avoided getting my picture taken at all costs when I was heavier -- I don't particularly care for my pictures when I am thinner, but I absolutely DESPISE looking at my photos when I'm heavier. I may drag some out one day though. Why is it we always look heavier in pictures? :-) There is a photo of me on my blog (head shot) taken about a month ago.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Annie -- thanks! I agree with you that this plan is a healthy plan to follow even if you really don't have weight to lose. Yes, I do think you could substitute about 4 ounces of cream cheese (cream it along with the butter) for the ricotta. I do think part of the reason I lost weight so rapidly is because I am unusually carb sensitive and reducing them made the weight literally drop off. Thanks for your kind comments! :-)

Kathy Turner said...

Welcome back! Missed you. The cookies look delicious. I've been doing Wheat Belly as well and have lost some weight, but mainly I feel so much better. Congratulations on your loss. I'm so happy for you!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Kathy! Feeling better is ALWAYS a good thing! :-)

Gina said...

Im not familiar with the wheat belly diet but I recently started The Virgin Diet which has you eliminating soy, wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, gluten and artificial sweetners/ sugar. you also can not have peanuts. I never realized how many "healthy" products contain at least one of those ingredients. I bought xylitol because it is a sweetner I can have only to find out it is derived from corn! I had to special order birch derived xylitol. If you have recipes that I could use I would be forever grateful! I love your blog. Im not much of a Cook but I can follow a recipe and the recipes ive tried from your blog are delish. Thank you and congratulations on your success!

Cynthia Schelzig said...

Thank you for all the great recipes you give us here on your blog. Good on you with the 50 some lbs. too...wow,,,,that is fabulous news!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Cynthia! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Gina -- the Wheat Belly program only allows sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, etc. and I believe xylitol because they don't impact blood sugar like other "natural sweeteners" like honey or agave do. Of all the foods your diet eliminate, 2 are allowed in moderation on WB -- dairy and eggs although a number of people don't do dairy because of the casein it contains. Those that don't do eggs use "flax egg substitutes" in baked goods. It's always safe to eat "whole foods" which is what I tried doing, especially in the beginning -- then I started tinkering more with combining ingredients to make recipes. I'm sure some of my recipes would work for you with some modifications. I will look up your Virgin Diet as I am not familiar with it. Thanks! :-)

Kimberly Collins said...

While reading (devouring) the Wheat Belly blog, yours was mentioned. I've reading and bookmarking your recipes the last few days like crazy. I've been thinking about trying the WB diet but your blog sold me. And then today to read your own success story! Good for you!! I also have 50 lbs to lose. Given your story, I'll be in good shape by summer! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipes. The cookies are in the oven now and praying my 6 yr old daughter will eat them. I thought about buying the new WB cookbook but now see no need - I have you! :)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kimberly! I hope your daughter likes the cookies too -- did you make them a little sweeter for her? I probably would for kids that are used to eating sugar -- probably some adults might prefer them sweeter too until they are completely off of sugar for a while. I used to have the biggest sweet tooth but its amazing how much its been reduced by not eating wheat/grains/sugar. I hope you lose your weight as easily as I have. Some people lose it faster than others -- I guess I was really carb sensitive -- I have never lost weight this quickly before and without exercising my butt off too! Hope you find a few recipes you like! :-)

kevel88 said...

Congrats on your weight loss!! I know that you will start out the new year feeling better physically and emotionally about yourself. What a fab way to start the NEW YEAR!!
Thanks for the new recipe.

Kevel

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Kevel! You are right about feeling better starting the new year -- I feel like I already have a 5-1/2 month jump start on everyone else. ;-) Happy New Year!

Trina said...

Thanks GGC! Still hasn't budged. I may attempt these right now with cream cheese. I did get your response on FB :) I'm hoping my kids will like these.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

I hope they enjoy them too Trina! Keeping my fingers crossed that you will see "budging" soon! :-)

kelly said...

Thank you so much for the cookies! I jut thought I'd let you know that my mom made these for me right when I started trying to go grain free. My husband liked them so much that I have made them for the last 3 weeks in a row! Mine weren't as good as my moms. The second batch was very fragile so I cooked the third batch a little longer and they turned a bit dry. But still very good! There is a local restaurant that makes ricotta pancakes that I really liked so I wasn't afraid of the ricotta. These cookies are awesome!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kelly -- so glad you enjoyed the cookies! If yours seem to turn out dry and crumbly, you could add a little extra ricotta (like 1 or 2 tablespoons). They are usually more delicate when they are hot out of the oven and as they cool off they aren't (or at least mine weren't). Maybe you should see if your Mom could tell you if she measured anything differently so you can copy what she did! Again -- so glad you enjoyed them. I plan to make them again this weekend! :-)

Kimberly said...

Just made my second batch of these cookies - love them and so does my sugar obsessed daughter! This time with 3 tbsp of Truvia - plenty sweet. Thanks so much for all your great recipes!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kimberly -- Thanks! So glad you AND your daughter are enjoying the cookies! It's amazing how good a simple cookie can taste without wheat and sugar isn't it? :-)

Dee from NH said...

Also made these on Saturday (with Greek Style Spinach Pie) and they were so delicious they won over skeptical hubby. Another new favorite! And an FYI: When I placed my (first) order for 3 bags of Swerve, I mistakenly purchased Swerve Confectioners. Oh oh! I wasn't sure if it would work to use in this recipe but I used it and it worked beautifully. Thanks Gourmet Girl, or as my family now calls you - GG! As in, is this a GG recipe? GG rocks in our home!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

LOL...thanks so much Dee! I'm glad you all enjoyed the cookies too! I have never tried the Swerve confectioner's version -- I will have to try that. I'm sure it works better for icing and things like that too. Thanks for your kind comments and am so happy you enjoyed the cookies too! :-)

Bethany Fralick said...

Hi! I made these cookies the other day and they are so yummy! Mine kept falling apart though and my dough didn't look as thick as yours. what do you suggest? Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Bethany! Did you use blanched almond flour or the regular kind? If you used blanched...what about the ricotta -- did you use regular full fat (which is more dense than the part-skim variety)? Lastly -- are your cookies still fragile later on after they have completely cooled? Mine were only a little fragile when I tried to eat them when they were still hot. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with! :-)

Bethany Fralick said...

I used blanched and regular ricotta. Yes they were still fragile not sure why. Do you think I should maybe add another egg to see if that helps hold it more? Thank you!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Bethany -- I don't think it could hurt to try another egg -- worse case scenario, the cookies might spread a bit. I will try making them again this week if I get a chance to see if I might be able to trouble shoot and give you suggestions -- are you using a granular type sweetener too like I did? P.S. -- You don't have to twist my arm too much to give me an excuse to make cookies! ;-)

Bethany Fralick said...

I finally made the cookies again and I found my problem! I had put the butter in the microwave to soften but melted some of it. So this time I fixed that and they turned out much better!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

That's awesome Bethany! So glad you figured it out!!! Glad you enjoyed them enough to try them again! :-)

unter der laterne said...

I can not wait to make these! Is it possible to use yogurt cheese( drained Greek yogurt, really dry)
instead of ricotta?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Unter! Yes, it would definitely be okay to use that as a substitute for the ricotta -- I hope you enjoy them and sorry it took me so long to get back to you! :-)

Liz said...

Made these for the first time last night. Best grain/sugar free cookie I've had! Delicious!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Wow...thanks so much, Liz! I am so happy you enjoy them. Thanks for letting me know! :-)

Matthew BIlls said...

Hey!
I am a DUDE who reads your blog a lot for ideas on how to cook healthy meals, I only began doing the diet in earnest a few days ago. (I have been "testing the waters" as it were, for a few months now to see if I could live eating this way- it turns out, I can!) Thanks for all your ideas, my wife and I have been enjoying a great many of them!

I was wondering if you would share with me what exercises you did to acheive your weight loss? I am still lost in the world of kettlebells and medicine balls and treadmills. :) Thank you again, and keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

~ Matthew Bills, Green Bay, WI

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Matthew! So glad you and your wife are enjoying my recipes! Honestly, for the first 6 months and 55-lb weight loss, I did not do any exercise -- I literally wanted to test JUST the difference in eating this way without any other factors involved. For the last couple of months I walk about 5 times per week for at least 45 min (started with 30 mins the first week or 2). I walk up to an hour if I have the time and the weather is nice and probably walk at least 4 miles -- maybe 5 on my hour walks -- these are brisk "power walks"...not strolls. I would like to add weights to my routine. What I found out is that the change in diet was enough for me to lost weight -- I am exercising because I like to now -- for toning, endurance, cardio, etc. I am now down 61 lbs (55 without any exercise). I hope this helps! Good luck with following this program -- I wish you LOTS of success with it! It really does work. P.S. -- I had a problem with triglycerides -- mine are normal AFTER dropping over 400 points with eliminating wheat/grains/sugars! :-)

Anne said...

I made these cookies with Macadamia nuts and turned out very good. Before I made these cookies, I noticed on Elana's Pantry that she only uses Honeyville or Lucy's Kitchen Shop. She does not recommend Bob's Red Mill. I have used used Bob's Red Mill almond meal and the cookies fell apart. I purchased Honeyville Almond Meal from Amazon at a very good price, and found the texture of the cookies was much better. I am doing the Wheat Belly diet because I have plateau with my weight loss. Also, my husband cholesterol is elavated, and I am trying to lower it by diet.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anne! I only use Honeyville blanched almond flour as well. I have tried Bob's before -- it is okay to bread chicken, etc...but for baking you want the finer texture like Honeyville since it more closely resembles regular wheat flour. I've used it for almost 1 year now and it's the only almond flour I buy. I wish you lots of success w/ WB. I have lost 63 lbs and my triglycerides went from 546 to 115...so I am a believer for sure. So glad you liked the cookies! Good luck to your hubby, too! :-)

samudra said...

i just discovered your site with your scrumptious looking recipes!! made the cookies last night and they are delicious. i had to bake them longer than 18 minutes to get browned, but they were still very soft to the touch. i let them cool for an hour or so but they were still too soft to hold together well when picked up. i put them in refrigerator overnight and that helped, but they still come apart very easily. is this the way they are supposed to be, or should they be firmer? if the latter, how would i achieve that? the only change i made in recipe was to use 1/4c TRUVIA baking blend instead of SWERVE. also, my butter was VERY soft, not melted but very soft...i notice someone earlier mentioned partly-melted butter as a problem. when i make them again, i will try not letting it get as soft.
i look forward to trying more of your recipes. thank you so much for providing them, along w/the enticing photos!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Samudra -- The cookies should hold together. They will be soft when hot, but when cooled should stay together well without any refrigeration. Did you used blanched almond flour (the fine grind) or almond meal? I use the finer flour. You also used 1/4 cup granular sweetener instead of the 1/2 cup Swerve I use...so maybe that makes a difference, too. They are a little more "tender" than a regular chocolate chip cookie...but definitely should hold together and not be fragile after cooling. Thanks for the kind words...I hope you find some recipes you like here! :-)

samudra said...

i did use the honeyville blanched almond flour. i have only 2 left from original batch so will be making more tomorrow!! will not let butter get as soft, but will have to use truvia again because that is what i have right now. are you saying that you don't refrigerate them at all?

can't wait to try more of your recipes. recently cleaning out kitchen cabinets, i discovered a spiralizer i've had for years and never used. had it out to donate to good will until i saw your recipes for using squash in place of pasta. bought squash at farmers mkt today and look forward to making 'pasta.' tonight's menu w/sausage and peppers over squash pasta looks like a good candidate!!

thank you, thank you!! : )

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Samudra! When you make the cookies next time, in case you didn't the first time...keep them in "balls" just barely press a little on top -- that will keep them thicker as they bake and maybe that will help too. Let me know how they turn out. I haven't made them with Truvia before...so don't know if that makes a difference or not. I hope you enjoy the yellow squash pasta -- it is my favorite. I don't use any water when I cook -- only lightly saute in a nonstick skillet with a bit of olive oil and dash of salt. I hope it turns out well for you! Thanks. :-)

samudra said...

hey GG! today's batch of cookies turned out a lot better. i think not letting butter get so soft was key. the truvia (baking blend) seems to work fine. also i didn't flatten them as much as i did in first batch. i can't get over how fabulous they taste. i keep reminding myself that gluten-free does not mean calorie-free, because i could easily eat one after another after another!!! is it ok to leave them unrefrigerated?
i made the almond butter/flax bread tonight but haven't used it yet. took a tiny taste and am amazed that it really CAN be used as bread!!
thanks for prep tip for squash pasta...i will be doing that tomorrow for dinner.
you're a genius. i'm so grateful!!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Samudra -- so glad they turned out better for you this time! I have left them without refrigeration for up to 1 week without any problem. If you think they will be around longer than that, you might want to refrigerate them (especially if you do not have air conditioning)...otherwise mine have done well without. Hope you enjoy having the "bread" to use and I hope your squash "pasta" turns out to your liking too! Thanks for letting me know! :-)

samudra said...

i just have to write...after finishing my heavenly dinner of pizza and choc chip cookies!!! have made many batches of the cookies, all good, but very soft and kinda grainy. today's batch was FABULOUS...the best so far. i used swerve for the first time...have been using truvia baking blend which measures half of swerve. i guess that makes more of a difference than i would have thought. also, after they finished bakng, i put them on a wire rack and then put them back in oven (turned off) for awhile. i think that crisped them up...not too much...perfect!!!
this was first attempt at pizza crust. i made the recipe for one but could only eat half after i loaded it up w/sauteed onions, squash, mushrooms and turkey kielbasa. i spread it pretty thin and it held up very well. i will be makng this recipe again, thicker for bread and thinner for crackers.
as usual, i am singing your praises and bowing in gratitude for your creativity and generosity in sharing. blessings to you.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Samudra! So glad you enjoyed both the cookies and the pizza. It is nice to be able to enjoy something like that without any wheat or added sugar, isn't it? It is hard to believe until you actually try it, like you did, that sometimes it is the physical "volume" of the sweetener in a recipe that makes a difference...not just the degree of sweetness. I think you will like how your baking turns out with Swerve -- I have tried numerous types and it is one of my favorites. Yes, I find the pizza crust filling and satisfying and find that it usually makes 2 meals and sometimes 1 dinner / 2 lunches for me. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed them! :-)

Sonshine Girl said...

Another recipe to make this weekend. :) I just LOVE your site and could spend all day looking through your recipes. I have been following Wheat Belly for a little over two weeks and today marked a 10 lb. loss for me. I am amazed at how easy it is and how it just seems to be melting off of me.

~Cindy

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Cindy! Wow, 10 lbs already -- you are off to an amazing start! Congratulations!!! :-)

Valmarie Bester said...

Hi Gourmet Girl. I have started with a high fat low carb diet some days ago. I am only allowed about 20grams of carbs a day.I also eat "real" food only and avoid bread , cakes and so on. This compares well with the wheatbelly diet. Do you think that I will be able to use your recipes and still stay in ketosis ?
your recipes really looks very tasty and I cannot wait to try them out !!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Valmarie,

If you plan to avoid the treats and baked goods, it should be fairly easy. The Wheat Belly program allows 50 net carbs per day (15 for each meal with 5 extra for snacks, etc.).

I think if you stick more to the meats, fats and veggies it should be doable. The best way to be sure you stay within your range is to do your own food calculations to keep track of your carbs. Many folks like fatsecret.com or myfitnesspal.com. I use one. to calculate entire recipes -- http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

I hope that helps and good luck with your journey! :-)