Cookie Dough Truffles, Take Two

It’s been a while since my three-year-old ate beans other than in tofu. It’s also been a while since I whipped up a batch of my cookie dough truffles. Thankfully, I can solve both problems with one delicious and nutritious treat!

The first time I made these truffles, I used peanut butter and garbanzo beans as the base. This time, I’m using sunflower butter (which has also made appearances in my power balls and bars) and great northern beans. Like many beans, great northerns are jam-packed with fiber, protein, iron, and folate. Beans are a true super food and incredibly versatile. They’d have to be if I’m using them in dessert, right?!

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Please excuse the mushed appearance of these beans, which came from a can. Remember, always try to buy dry beans and soak and sprout/cook them yourself. I am working on finding a system that works for me, but for whatever reason, I have a terrible time digesting beans that I’ve prepared. They are the only item I buy canned, ideally organic and/or with no salt added whenever possible.

Anywho, today’s PSA aside, we are ready to roll, literally! These truffles make for an easy snack for humans big and small…

…or, dip them in melted dark chocolate, let harden, and bring to a party. I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they can’t get enough of my food and then I tell them it’s vegan. Since when is vegan food supposed to be repulsive?! 🙂 Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES

Yields 16-20 balls

  • 1 ½ cups cooked or sprouted white beans (e.g. garbanzo, great northern, cannellini, etc.) –> I’m using great northern.
  • ½ cup seed or nut butter (nuts/seeds ONLY) –> I’m using sunflower.
  • 1/8 cup+ liquid sweetener (e.g. agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.) –> I’m using pure maple syrup.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using homemade vanilla.
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –> I’m opting out.
  • ½ cup chips (e.g. chocolate, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.) –> I’m using a heaping ¼ cup of mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan). This time around, my dough was a tad too sticky to roll, so I also added ¼ cup ground flaxseed and unsweetened desiccated coconut (I keep both on hand in my pantry at all times).

Combine all ingredients—except the chips—in a food processor and run until smooth.

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Transfer dough into a bowl and stir in chips. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, form into balls and roll in your hands until smooth.Ready to eat immediately! Store leftovers in the fridge.

 

 

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Double Chocolate Mint Brownies

Need one more dessert for your holiday parties? These brownies are easy to throw together, delicious, and festive. I had such amazing unexpected success with my mint chocolate chip cookies that I had to try out the mint milk concept with brownies. If you’re a fan of the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mint cookies, you will LOVE these. And…this particular rendition is gluten-free, too. 🙂

When I made my mint chip cookies, I used traditional peppermint in lieu of incorporating processed candy canes. All out of peppermint, these brownies include another mint I have growing at my house: spearmint. Like peppermint, spearmint can assist with gastrointestinal issues and can also help to remedy nausea. As I mentioned before, these desserts with real mint are the ultimate post-dinner dessert!

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With visitors in town and the daily grind of a newborn and a two-year-old, it’s been slower than usual on The Fresh Formula. After the holidays, I’ll resume posting progress reports on my journey to my pre-baby body and of course, sharing formulas and recipes. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

BROWNIES

Fills a 9 x 13 pan with approximately ¾-inch thick brownies

  • 2 cups flour –> I used 1 cup brown rice flour and 1 cup white rice flour.
  • 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk –> I used ¾ cup almond.*
  • 1 cup sweetener –> I used ½ cup turbinado sugar and ½ cup agave syrup.
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup oil –> I used coconut.
  • 1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds + 3 tbsp hot water (“egg”) –> I used flax.
  • 1 tsp extract –> I used vanilla.
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • OPTIONAL:  ½-1 cup chips –> I used ½ cup packed spearmint leaves and ½ cup mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).

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*Because they are raw plants, the peppermint leaves themselves contain additional moisture, so I am using less milk to ensure that the dough/batter is the right consistency.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Puree the mint leaves and milk in the blender and set aside. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients, sans sweetener.  In another bowl, mix your wet ingredients (including mint milk), plus sweetener.  This includes your “egg,” which should be prepared separately before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. Slowly mix your wet ingredients into your dry until a dough or thick batter forms; different sweeteners and oils will change the consistency.  Point is, don’t be concerned if what you expected to be a drippy batter turns out thick.  🙂 Mix in your chips (if using) or save them to sprinkle on top.

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Lightly grease a 9 x 13 backing pan or dish (I prefer glass).  Spread your dough evenly throughout and top with chips, if you’d like. Bake for 20-22 minutes for a fudgy brownie or 23-25 minutes for a cakey brownie.  Using gluten-free flour and/or liquid sweetener? Baking time will likely be longer. These went for 27 minutes for fudgy. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

As promised in my last post, peppermint cookies are here! When I originally conceived this recipe—a holiday take on my classic chip cookies—I imagined it would come together with candy canes to really signify the spirit of the season. I was willing to incorporate an ingredient so heavily processed because I was including only a small amount of it…and I love candy canes. 🙂 The more I thought about it, however, I realized that there was a way I could get a purer peppermint flavor in my cookies, free of Red #40 and refined sugars.

Here you see my peppermint plant (I also grow spearmint). What better place to start with obtaining a peppermint flavor than with the plant itself?! Peppermint is truly a super food. Most notably, peppermint can relieve indigestion. The plant’s oil is even sold on its own for this and other medicinal purposes.

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I figured I would just throw the leaves right into my cookies, making these treats the ultimate post-dinner dessert: Help soothe your upset tummy after that filling holiday meal and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  CHIP COOKIES

Makes 24-30 small cookies

  • 1 ½ cups flour –> I’m using whole wheat.
  • ¾ cup unsweetened plant milk –> I’m using ½ cup oat.*
  • 2/3 cup sweetener –> I’m using turbinado sugar.
  • ½ cup oil or nut/seed butter –> I’m using coconut oil (room temperature, not melted).
  • 2 tbsps flax or chia seeds –> I’m using flax.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (depending on flavor intensity) –> I’m using 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract.
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2/3 cup chips –> I’m using 1/3 cup mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan) and 1/3 cup packed peppermint leaves.

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*Because they are raw plants, the peppermint leaves themselves contain additional moisture, so I am using less milk to ensure that the dough is the right consistency.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Puree the mint leaves and milk in the blender and set aside.

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With an electric hand mixer, cream together the coconut oil, extract, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients and stir by hand to combine. Stir in the mint milk and finally, the chocolate chips.

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Grease 2-3 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.  Place heaping spoonfuls of cookie dough into your palm and form a loose ball (doesn’t need to be perfect). Space approximately a 1.5 inches apart. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until the cookie edges are slightly golden brown.

 

 

 

 

Protein-Packed Cookie Dough Truffles

Alright guys, today’s formula is something you need to taste to believe. I’m making cookie dough truffles that contain no eggs, no oil, and no flour, and that do contain garbanzo beans. What?! I know, I was skeptical, too, but these are seriously delicious and have the same texture as a traditional cookie dough. Just how does this work?!

First of all, let me start by saying that in my opinion, eating cookie dough is sometimes more satisfying than eating the baked cookies themselves. I know you were thinking the same thing, so I’m glad we got that covered. 🙂

I found this idea for a bean-based cookie dough on Instagram (@bestofvegan, @chiacathy), where I follow a number of vegan cooks, chefs, and bloggers. I immediately captured a screen shot so that I could easily come back to the idea when I was ready to incorporate beans into a dessert. Gotta wrap your head around that one…

Having heard of bakers sneaking black beans into brownies pretty well unnoticeably, I thought that this idea definitely held some merit. With thousands of likes on the picture (which looked just like cookie dough) and the recipe, I just knew that these had to be good. On top of looking and tasting delicious, loaded with beans and nuts, these truffles are a protein-packed sweet snack that is waaaaaaay better for you than that dough that comes in a log in the refrigerated section.

Due to their nutritional benefits and simplicity, these truffles remind me a lot of my power balls, which are always a success. I’ve now mastered many a flourless dough that yields a not-too-sweet, perfectly shaped little bite that pleases my whole family, satisfying their sweet teeth and providing them with a valuable source of protein at the same time.

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So, I took the recipe I found on Instagram and made it my own, into a Fresh Formula of course! I had Travis taste the first truffle and he said he would have liked it to be a tad sweeter, so you’ll see that reflected in the ingredients below. Since I opted for semi-sweet chocolate chips, the sweetness level was perfect for me, but certainly the type of chip you select will make a big difference.

Travis’s overall reaction to the garbanzo bean cookie dough bites? “I am kind of in shock.” He couldn’t believe how yummy such an unexpected combination of ingredients could be. Having made traditional chocolate chip now, I am already fantasizing about chocolate mint, lemon almond, and whole host of other cookie dough flavors. Give these little delights a try!

FORMULA BASE: COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES

Yields 16-20 balls

  • 1 ½ cups cooked white beans (e.g. garbanzo, great northern, cannellini, etc.) –> I’m using garbanzo.
  • ½ cup seed or nut butter (nuts/seeds ONLY) –> I’m using peanut.
  • 1/8 cup+ liquid sweetener (e.g. agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.) –> I’m using agave.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using homemade vanilla.
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –> I’m opting out.
  • ½ cup chips (e.g. chocolate, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.) –> I’m using mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).

Combine all ingredients—except the chips—in a food processor and run until smooth. Transfer dough into a bowl and stir in chips.

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Using a melon baller or teaspoon, form into balls and roll in your hands until smooth.

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Ready to eat immediately! 🙂 Store leftovers in the fridge.

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Quick and Easy Oatmeal

One of my family’s favorite breakfasts is oatmeal.  It’s filling, delicious, and has endless possibilities.  In addition, it is excellent baby and toddler food.  Today, I’m making it extra special for Nolan with mini-chocolate chips.  🙂

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I typically make oatmeal with rolled oats since I always have some on hand for muffins, power balls, and granola, but steel cut oats—which are richer in nutrients—would be a great choice, too.  I include no salt and keep the added sweetener low by flavoring the oats with fruit or other already sweet components.

Should you opt for rolled oats, you can have this oatmeal on the table in about five minutes (steel cut take a bit longer to cook).  It is the ultimate quick and easy breakfast that will keep you full and energized for hours.  Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  OATMEAL

Serves 6-8

  • 4 cups uncooked oats (rolled or steel cut)  –>  I’m using rolled.
  • ½ cup specialty ingredients + extra for garnishing (finely chopped raw fruit, dried fruit, raw nuts, raw seeds, etc.) –>  I’m using 1 tbsp each hulled hemp seeds and ground flaxseed, plus ¼ cup slivered almonds.  I’m topping my oatmeal with a sprinkle of mini-semisweet chocolate chips (vegan).
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sweetener  –>  I’m using 1/8 cup raw agave syrup.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount will depend on flavor intensity)  –>  I’m using 1 tsp vanilla.
  • 1 tsp spices  –>  I’m using ground cinnamon.
  • Liquid of choice for cooking (water or unsweetened plant milk)  –>  I’m using a combination of water and almond milk (there is no particular reason for this – I just didn’t have enough almond milk to sufficiently fill the pot!).

Place your oats in pot.  Fill the pot with liquid enough to cover the oats by about half an inch.  Place the pot on the stove and set to medium heat.  While your oats are softening, add all other ingredients and stir frequently until cooked, which may take as little as 4-5 minutes from the time that you turned on the burner.

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Upon completion, your oatmeal will be slightly soupy.  As it cools, the oats will continue to absorb more of the liquid.

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Garnish and serve.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

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