Salted Flourless Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

salted flourless chocolate chunk cookies | pamela salzman

I swore I wouldn’t post this recipe, but I gave in to persistent begging.  I didn’t know the world needed another chocolate chip cookie recipe!  But apparently many people could not live without this one.  I will admit, these are quite, quite delicious and you can’t always say that about a grain-free, flourless cookie.

salted flourless chocolate chunk cookies | pamela salzman

The reason I was reluctant to post this is because it is a very finicky recipe.  I probably made these cookies 20-24 times and I had a couple of fails.  Not inedible fails, but they didn’t look like the pictures you see here.  Again, these are totally delicious in every way.  Big chunks of melty dark chocolate and crispy flakes of sea salt are always a win in my book.  The fact that these are also grain-free/flourless is just an added bonus, especially for all my GF and Paleo students, who seem to be growing in numbers.  Although that might just be the post-holiday detox trend.  I digress.


salted flourless chocolate chunk cookies | pamela salzman

The two ingredients that affect the outcome of these cookies are the almond butter and the sugar.  You cannot use a runny almond butter or one that is very oily.  Once during a class, I had a new jar of room temperature Maranatha almond butter which I may not have stirred properly to incorporate the oil on top.  I had oil dripping down my arms while I was rolling out the dough.  I knew the cookies were going to be a disaster and they kind of were — very flat, oily and crumbly at the edges.  Thankfully, this batter is a snap to make, so I just made another batch quickly with almond butter I had in the fridge.  The next round was perfect.

These cookies are slightly softer than traditional chocolate chip cookies, unless you use brown sugar and then they do get a little crispy around the edges.  The flavor is spot-on with just the right amount of sweetness.  After 2 days, I store them in the fridge.  They also freeze well.

salted flourless chocolate chunk cookies | pamela salzman

salted flourless chocolate chunk cookies | pamela salzman

Instead of giving you a blow-by-blow of all cookie escapades, let me summarize here:

  • use cold, refrigerated almond butter;
  • thicker almond butter is better than thinner;
  • if your nut butter is thinner, you can add 1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut flour to the batter;
  • you can make these with sunflower butter, but there will be a reaction between the sunflower butter and the baking soda which will tint the cookies green;
  • mix by hand (with a wooden spoon) not a mixer;
  • brown sugar, although a refined and not Pamela-approved sweetener, gave the best results — slightly crispy and chewy;
  • muscovado sugar was the second best and coconut sugar came in third — see the images in the post to compare;
  • do not use maple syrup, honey or another liquid sweetener;
  • you must allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan, not a cooling rack;
  • I always make 12 cookies, but you can make fewer and just make them bigger.

Ok, that’s all she wrote.  Hit me with your questions and let me know if you make them!

brown sugar used here
brown sugar (and peppermint bark instead of chocolate chunks)


muscovado sugar
muscovado sugar


coconut sugar
coconut sugar

4.8 from 5 reviews
Salted Flourless Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Serves: 12 cookies
  • 1 cup unsweetened, unsalted almond butter (raw or roasted, make sure it is well-blended)*
  • ½ cup coconut sugar, brown sugar or muscovado sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate (about 4 ounces) or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • optional add-ins: 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to make chocolate cookies or ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix almond butter and sugar until well combined.
  3. Stir in baking soda, egg, vanilla and ½ teaspoon flaky salt until well combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate.
  5. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before transferring to a rack. To keep longer than one or two days, store in the refrigerator.
*If your almond butter is thin and runny or very oily, add 1 ½ Tablespoons of coconut flour to the batter.
Please read the suggestions outlined in the post.


Grain-free Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe

grain-free cinnamon apple cake | pamela salzman

One of the first desserts I made my boyfriend-now-husband was the Chunky Apple Walnut Cake from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  Do you remember that book?  Even though it’s from 1982, I still have it on the shelf in my kitchen with more current titles.  It was probably the second cookbook I ever bought and still one of my all-time favorites.  That Chicken Marbella is legendary!

mixing it altogether

But I might have won my husband’s heart with that apple walnut cake.  It was dense, sweet and chock full of apples and walnut pieces.  I actually healthified it many years ago with whole wheat flour, coconut oil and sucanat, with delicious, but still decadent results.  But lately I’ve been trying to limit the gluten and indulge in it when it counts (e.g. crusty bread, pizza).  After the wildly successful grain-free chocolate zucchini cake (if you haven’t made that, you must!), I decided to do a twist on that and make a cinnamon apple version.

grain-free cinnamon apple cake | pamela salzman

This apple cake is very different from the Silver Palate one, but my husband has also come around to a lighter, more healthful way of eating, especially since we hit 40. When he and the kids went crazy for this grain-free cake, I knew I had to teach it in my classes.  It was a big hit there, too.

grain-free cinnamon apple cake | pamela salzman

When September rolls around, it’s not only back to school, but apple season and the Jewish new year, too.  This was the perfect week to post this recipe since this Sunday is the first night of Rosh Hashana.  Even if you don’t celebrate the Jewish holidays this cake is a delicious treat in a lunch box or after dinner with a dusting of powdered sugar to make it look a little fancier.  My husband loves pieces of walnuts or pecans in here, but my son preferred a version I tested with raisins.  Either way, this is a more wholesome, clean cake than most out there and who can resist tender chunks of apple enveloped in a sweet and cinnamon-y cake?   And you won’t know this is flour-free or grain-free.  It tastes as good as “normal” cake no matter how you slice it.

grain-free cinnamon apple cake | pamela salzman

It freezes beautifully and I found out that it even tastes great frozen after I tried to tuck some away so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it.  Can someone please explain “self control” to me?  Who eats frozen cake???  I am planning on making at least one of these for my Rosh Hashana luncheon next Monday and I know I won’t have to worry about leftovers.

grain-free cinnamon apple cake | pamela salzman


5.0 from 4 reviews
Grain-free Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe
Serves: 1 cake
  • unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter for greasing pan
  • 1 cup creamy, unsweetened, unsalted almond butter, raw or roasted (or use unsweetened sunflower butter for a nut-free cake)
  • ⅓ cup pure Grade A maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼” cubes (about 1 ½ cups)*
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or you could use raisins)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9-inch pan or an 8- or 9-inch round pan. If you want to remove the cake from the pan in one piece, line it with unbleached parchment paper as well. You do not have to grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, egg, vanilla, and baking soda until smooth.
  3. Stir in apple pieces and nuts or raisins.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Do not overbake. A 9 x 9 pan will take 35-45 minutes. An 8 x 8 pan will take 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
I like the chunks of apple in the cake, but you can also use 1½ cups of shredded, peeled apples (about 2-3 medium apples.)

Grain-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe and VIDEO

You’re either going to love me or hate me for this post.  Why?  Because this grain-free chocolate cake which just so happens to have zucchini in it is AMAZING.  You will love how rich and chocolaty it is,  how moist and tender.  You will be utterly amazed that this cake has no flour of any kind and that there is zucchini in it.  Zucchini!   It is sweetened with maple syrup and that’s all.  After your first bite, you might exclaim, “Three cheers for Pamela!”

All the ingredients -- one bowl

Orrrrrrr, you will find this cake, which is more like a cross between a brownie and cake, completely irresistible and TOO amazing.  You will walk by it on the countertop and find the uncontrollable need to even out all the edges until you are left with a mere crumb.  But you’ll convince yourself it’s healthful!  It contains almond butter and zucchini.  Zucchini!  And you will not be able to stop eating it.  The next time you make it you will freeze most of it so that you are not tempted by its chocolaty goodness and inhale three-fourths of it before the kids get home.  But you cannot stop dreaming about this cake so you find out it even taste good FROZEN because there is no waiting when it comes to this cake.  And after you eat all of the frozen cake, you might exclaim, “I curse the day I met Pamela!  Darn this chocolate amazingness!”



Grain-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake | Pamela Salzman

And that’s what I’m talking about.

Even Mr. Picky himself went crazy for this cake.  I actually came clean and told him there was zucchini in here and he didn’t care!!  If you are nut-free, don’t sweat.  Substitute sunflower butter in an equal amount and it will work perfectly.  Sunflower butter does have a slightly nuttier flavor, almost like peanut butter.  But I when I made the cake with sunflower butter for some nut-free people, they couldn’t detect it.  Make it.  Devour it. Love it.  Share it.  Tell me all about it.

Grain-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake | Pamela Salzman

Grain-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 23 reviews
Grain-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe and VIDEO
Serves: makes 1 8 x 8 or 9 x 9-inch cake
  • coconut oil or butter for greasing pan
  • 1 cup creamy, unsweetened, unsalted almond butter, raw or roasted, or sunflower butter for a nut-free cake
  • ⅓ cup pure Grade A maple syrup or raw honey
  • ¼ cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini, about 2 small
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9-inch pan. If you want to remove the cake from the pan in one piece, line it with unbleached parchment paper as well.
  2. In a large bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cacao powder, salt, coffee powder, egg, vanilla, and baking soda until smooth.
  3. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Do not overbake. A 9 x 9 pan will take 35-45 minutes. An 8 x 8 pan will take 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Notes: You can also add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter.

Homemade chocolate-peanut butter cups and almond butter cups recipe

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Cups | Pamela Salzman

It is really ironic that I try to discourage sweets but I have always have so much fun making them!  I had the best time last Christmas making gingerbread men with my kids.  My favorite part of every Thanksgiving meal for me is baking all the pies.  And more recently, I thoroughly enjoyed making these chocolate peanut butter and almond butter cups.  After my friend Rachel Sarnoff from MommyGreenest guest posted here about choosing higher quality Halloween candy, I did a little research looking for the best options (organic, non-GMO, free of artificial colors, etc.)  And then I thought it might be cool to make my own candy for when I have guests over or to give as a hostess gift.  Do not for a minute think I would ever make my own Halloween candy to give out to trick-or-treaters!  That would for sure put me over the edge.  If you do that, however, I think you are amazing.

melting chocolate

I’ve seen DIY chocolate peanut butter and almond butter cups all over the internet, so I figured that would be a good one to try.  Plus, my husband and I both love them.  Reese’s peanut butter cups were always among my favorites at Halloween.  Let me tell you, these are a cinch to make!  No candy thermometer required.  No special ingredients needed.  You probably have it all in your pantry and they come together in a jiffy (no pun intended.)

almond butter cups in the making

Even better, I made these when I wasn’t in a rush.  I wasn’t trying to beat the sunset so I would still have natural light for photographing.  I wasn’t making these at dinnertime when I had other things to tend to.  In fact, my son was sitting at the kitchen table doing his homework, quiet as a mouse, and my girls were out at their activities.  And I found making these chocolates to be almost meditative.  I can’t wait to make them again!!  In fact, if you invite me over for dinner, I will likely bring you a little box of these!

pour melted chocolate on top

I know that some of you are ready to point out to me that these candies, no matter how much love and organic ingredients go into them, are not healthful.  And you know what?  You are totally right.  I am not going to sell these to you today as something that’s going to save your life.  Are they less bad for you than Reese’s?  I can argue that yes, they are probably less bad for you than Reese’s which contains GMO-sugar, non-organic peanuts and TBHQ, a toxic preservative which is a derivative of butane.  Nope, no butane in mine, but also not exactly health food.  But it is Halloween and I think we’re entitled to a few treats now and then and that’s that.

chocolate peanut butter cups

I have already made these several times, with both dark chocolate (less sugar) and milk chocolate.   I have used (homemade) almond butter as well as organic peanut butter.  And I have sweetened the filling with powdered sugar and also with a combination of powdered sugar and honey or maple syrup.  Clearly the least bad (I know that’s grammatically incorrect) option would be dark chocolate with almond butter mixed with powdered sugar and maple syrup.  And those are so delicious I can’t even believe it.  But if you are looking to make something closer to a Reese’s peanut butter cup, then you need to use milk chocolate, peanut butter and all powdered sugar.  Those were my kids’ favorites and I have to say they taste better than the real thing!

homemade reeses peanut butter

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids or grandkids, look no further!

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cups | Pamela Salzman



5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
Serves: makes 24 candies
  • 12 ounces dark or milk chocolate
  • ½ cup natural creamy almond or peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter if you’re nut-free)
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar (or 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar + 1 Tablespoon raw honey or pure maple syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • sea salt flakes or pumpkin seeds for topping, if desired
  1. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners. If you are using a silicone muffin pan, it's probably a good idea to place the pan on a baking sheet so you can transfer it more easily to the refrigerator.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a glass bowl big enough to fit over the pot of boiling water without touching the water (this is a double boiler).
  3. Lower heat so that the water just simmers and place the bowl of chocolate on top of the pot. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until perfectly smooth. Set bowl aside.
  4. Mix the almond or peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl until smooth. This mixture should be a consistency that allows you to roll it into small balls.
  5. Spoon a teaspoonful of chocolate into each lined cup.
  6. Scoop a teaspoon of the almond/peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball with your hands and press down slightly to flatten a little. Place in the center of each chocolate cup and push down slightly to allow the chocolate to cover the sides, but not the top of the almond/peanut butter disc.
  7. Pour another teaspoon of chocolate on top of the cups covering the peanut/almond butter mixture completely. Use the back of your teaspoon to smooth out the chocolate on the tops of each cup.
  8. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt or a couple pumpkin seeds if you like and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. If you need to speed this up, place in the freezer.
  9. Because the chocolate is not tempered, you should keep these refrigerated.
I use this silicone mini muffin pan.  Each individual mold measures 1½ inches across the top.  I found two mini baking liners at Michaels which worked perfectly, but these were just slightly too big for my pan.



Almond Butter-Millet Blondies Recipe (gluten-free)

almond butter-millet blondies | pamela salzman

We have survived the first week and a half of school and an early Jewish holiday!  I started this year right by having my girls order their own school supplies and Mr. Picky helped me out by writing out a list of lunch box-approved foods.  Not sure we’ve expanded the repertoire since last year, but at least I don’t have to think too hard.  I am also so glad I was inspired to bake and freeze a few treats before school started this year.  Those are coming in very handy for lunchbox and after-school snacks.  Plus it has been so hot here, I can’t imagine turning on my oven to bake banana bread right now!


These Almond Butter-Millet Blondies are a new favorite around here.  Don’t automatically say “my kids would never eat those!”  Guess what?  Your kids were probably at my house in the last 6 months and did eat these.  Did I say, “Jimmy, would you like an almond butter-millet blondie?”  What am I, a rookie?  Of course, not.  I ask the kids, “would you like a chocolate chip blondie?!”  Only people that do not like chocolate ever say no.

wet ingredients

Blondies are similar to a non-chocolate brownie.  They are less spongy and a little denser than cake.  I love them right out of the fridge so you can really sink your teeth into them.  Because blondies don’t have the same lift and airiness of a cake, I tried these with two gluten-free flours, millet and quinoa.  Even if you’re not gluten-intolerant, it’s a great idea to not overdo wheat and other gluten-containing grains.  Gluten is not only hard to digest, but acid-forming and pro-inflammatory.

ready to be baked

The quinoa blondies were not a hit because they totally tasted like quinoa.  I love quinoa, but not as much in dessert form.  Millet is much blander and really has no flavor to fight with chocolate.  My kids and I had no idea the millet blondies weren’t made with wheat flour.   I also tried the recipe separately with peanut butter and almond butter and not only were they both delicious, the blondies kind of tasted the same, as in both tasted a bit like peanut butter.  Even though I give my kids peanut butter now and then, it’s actually not a fantastic choice.  The fats in peanut butter are very pro-inflammatory and if you don’t buy organic, you are also consuming a lot of pesticides and fungicides since peanuts are very heavily sprayed.  Even organic peanuts have a tendency to develop a mold called aflotoxin.  In moderation, fine, but almond butter is far and away a better, more healthful choice.  Did you know almonds are the only alkalizing nut?  And if you have a solid food processor, you can make your own almond butter!

almond butter - millet blondies

These blondies are awesome the next day, which is so nice if you have to bring a dessert to a potluck.  If you have leftovers more than a couple days, it’s best to keep them in the fridge.  And if you have no self control like me, you may want to just keep out what you need for the day and freeze the rest.  Happy baking!

almond butter-millet blondies | pamela salzman

Almond Butter-Millet Blondies
Serves: makes 16 2 x 2-inch blondies
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, softened + additional for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup creamy or crunchy almond butter or other natural nut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup millet flour*
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper so that the bars are easy to take out.
  2. Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the millet flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes before cutting into 16 squares. Leftovers can stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. These also freeze beautifully.
*Look for millet flour in the baking section or near gluten-free flours. Or, to make your own, grind whole grains of millet into a powder in a clean coffee grinder.

Mini flourless chocolate cakes recipe

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes | Pamela Salzman

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes | Pamela Salzman

The last school the kids attended allowed cupcakes with 2-inch high thick blue frosting to be handed out at 10:30 am on your child’s birthday.  And if I do the math, that was about two birthdays every month.  The school also made a big deal about celebrating holidays with food, so my child went to school on Halloween and loaded up on candy even before she started trick or treating.  Then there were the ubiquitous bake sales and Friday candy, soda and pizza sales to raise money for whatever.  Nevermind the disruption to classroom teaching and the disastrous effect on learning, but what a poor message this sends to the children about food and how much we care about their health.


melt almond butter, butter and chocolate

smooth and creamy

The public schools my kids attend now have a policy against any food (even if you wanted to bring in kale chips) being sent in for birthdays and holidays.  If your child is in elementary school and you would like to mark his birthday, feel free to buy a book to donate to his classroom and volunteer 15 minutes to read it to the students.  All the kids will also give him a big card that says all the things they like about him.  Is this freakin’ awesome or what?  Just a happy birthday with no sugar rush before noon.  No bouncing off the walls when he gets home.  No pressure to be the mom who brings in the treat with the most sugar or artificially colored candy.  I always lost that one.

egg whites

I think 99% of children get more than an appropriate amount of sweets and treats outside of school that we don’t need to give it to them in places where it doesn’t belong.  Don’t even get me started on snack after soccer games.  BUT, I am of course a reasonable, fun mom who encourages eating a wide variety of wholesome foods with the occasional treat.  Actually, I allow treats more often than I’d like to, but the message is that those are not foods to be eaten more than once a day, preferably only once or twice a week.  But when a special holiday like Valentine’s Day rolls around, I am the first one in the kitchen baking up something special for my darlings.

folding egg whites into chocolate

I discovered these flourless chocolate cakes from the True Food Kitchen website.  True Food Kitchen is a chain of healthful restaurants started by Dr. Andrew Weil.  It’s really the kind of food I love — natural, unprocessed, flavorful, but not extreme in one way or another.  I happen to love chocolate and I drank Dr. Weil’s Kool Aid, so to speak, and believe all the wonderful benefits about dark chocolate’s antioxidant benefits and high mineral content.  It also happens to be a natural aphrodisiac.  Hmmmm……  Before you get any ideas, M&M’s don’t fall in the same category, sorry!  I also try to limit everyone’s consumption of gluten to just a wee bit, so these mini cakes looked perfect since they are flourless.  You figured that out on your own, I’m sure.

they'll puff up in the oven

These are the bomb, no joke.  I have never served them to anyone who didn’t think so, even Mr. Picky who could probably down all six of them if I let him.  They’re kind of a cross between a rich and dense cake and a souffle.  The cakes have a really nice chocolate flavor without making you tired of chocolate after two bites.  I think they’re just great plain, but everyone loves the raspberry sauce I make to go along with them.  The raspberry sauce is a great instant sauce to know how to make regardless of the cake.  It’s terrific poured over oodles things like yogurt or ice cream, French toast or pancakes, even your favorite porridge.  Did you catch that amazing nut butter and banana French toast I posted on facebook?  You’re not my facebook fan?  Bummer.  You should be!  This sauce would be awesome with that.  How about this, let’s say you don’t have time to whip up these chocolate cakes for dessert on Valentine’s Day.  Make the raspberry sauce the day before and serve it with store bought ice cream or pancakes just to have something a little special.

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes | Pamela Salzman

For lots more fun Valentine’s ideas, check out this post from last year.  You won’t believe all the things you can do with a heart-shaped cookie cutter!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes
Serves: 6
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon for greasing the ramekins
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted creamy, raw almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated cane sugar*, divided
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • Raspberry Sauce
  • 5 ounces frozen raspberries, about 1 cup
  • ¼ cup natural cane sugar (Sucanat) or granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Over a double boiler (can use medium glass bowl over a pot of simmering water), melt chocolate, butter and almond butter. Let cool. Stir in vanilla.
  3. While the chocolate mixture is cooling, lightly grease 6 4-ounce ramekins with the teaspoon of butter. If you don’t normally have success turning out cakes without leaving some in the pan, feel free to trace circles of parchment paper to line the bottoms of the ramekins.
  4. Separate the eggs and place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 3 tablespoons sugar and beat until a light, pale yellow color, about 6 minutes. Slowly pour the in the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Pour back into the bowl that had the chocolate. Wash and dry the mixing bowl.
  5. In the clean mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Whisk until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and salt and whisk until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the whites into the chocolate mixture until combined. You do this by getting your spatula to the bottom of the bowl and pulling some chocolate out and over the egg whites. Turn your bowl a little and do it again. Keep pulling the chocolate out and over until you don’t see any more white streaks.
  6. Spoon the batter into the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are dry and the cakes are set. They will be puffed when you take them out of the oven, but if you let them sit on the countertop, they do deflate. Feel free to eat them warm out of the ramekin or allow to cool before unmolding. If you unmold them while they are too warm, they won’t unmold easily.
  7. Prepare the raspberry sauce: place raspberries, sugar and hot water in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (Can be made one day ahead and kept refrigerated.)
  8. Serve each cake with raspberry sauce spooned around decoratively.
*You can substitute coconut palm sugar for cane sugar in the chocolate mixture. If so, increase cooking time by an extra 2-3 minutes.


How to Make Almond Butter

Why would you need to know how to make almond butter?  After all, you can buy it very easily at the supermarket or even via amazon.  You can pick your pleasure — with a hint of sea salt, lightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup, laced with chocolate, raw or roasted.  But what if you have an intense craving for a spoonful of this creamy, heavenly spread and you enter the kitchen only to see your younger daughter scraping the last bits of it from the jar?  Nooooo!  Don’t panic.  You’re organized.  You have a well-stocked pantry.  Except today.  Drat.

This was my sad reality a few weeks ago.  As my daughter scooped up the last drop of almond butter with a crisp wedge of apple, she very nonchalantly suggested, “Why don’t you just make some?  It’s just almonds, right?”  She had a point.  So I took out my Vitamix which can basically grind rocks into flour (don’t take my word on that one), and threw in some beautiful raw almonds from Organic Pastures.  Didn’t work.  All the ground almonds got stuck on the bottom of the blender.  Shoot.  So I transferred everything into my Cuisinart and with a lot of patience and optimism, I made almond butter!  And it was fantastic!  And I almost ate the whole cup!

We go through a lot of almond butter in this house, more so than any other nut butter.  We like it slathered on toast with jam, sliced bananas or a drizzle of honey.  It makes a high quality breakfast or snack spread on cut apples or stirred into oatmeal.  Almond butter has even found its way into some unexpected places such as flourless chocolate cake or these delicious cookies.  Besides the fact that almond butter is so yummy, it is also pretty good for you, way better than peanut butter (which is high in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids and very often contains a toxic mold called aflatoxin – yikes!).  Like all nuts, almonds are high in protein and fiber.  But unlike all nuts, almonds are alkalizing to the blood and cells and contain lots of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

But here’s the deal with nuts, and I hope this doesn’t send you over the edge:  nuts which haven’t been soaked or lightly roasted (at home) contain enzyme inhibitors which makes these suckers really rough on the digestive system.  In a perfect world, you would either soak the almonds overnight and dry them out in an oven on its lowest setting or in a dehydrator, then process them into almond butter.  Or you can lightly roast them on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes and then process them into almond butter.  I don’t advise buying already roasted almonds from the supermarket as generally they have been roasted at way too high a temperature, damaging the natural fatty acids and oftentimes cooked with nasty refined oils.  Yuck.  Roasted almond butter tastes different from raw and has a richer, nuttier flavor.  Which brings me to my next tidbit of info about raw almonds.  Guess what?  The USDA allows nut producers to label almonds as RAW even if they’ve been steamed and pasteurized.  So unless you buy your almonds DIRECTLY from the nut grower, like I do from Organic Pastures at the farmer’s market, you’re not getting raw nuts no matter how big the lettering on the package.  Call me crazy, but I think that should be illegal.

If you don’t eat nut butters frequently or if you don’t notice digestive problems after eating nut products, then feel free to do what’s easy for you.  Sometimes when I mention soaking or sprouting in my classes, I here a few sighs and a comment like, “Pamela, please don’t tell us we have to do one more thing.  Isn’t it enough that we’ve gone from Jif to natural, organic peanut butter?”  The answer, of course, is yes.  Yes, it is.  I’m just here to provide food for thought and inspiration to have fun in the kitchen, not cause undo stress over something as scrumptious as almond butter.   If any of you have good internet sources for raw almonds or have fun ways to enjoy almond butter, please share!!

How to Make Almond Butter
Serves: makes 1 cup
  • 2 cups almonds, either raw, soaked and dehydrated or roasted
  • optional add-ins: a pinch of sea salt, a spoonful of pure maple syrup or raw honey, ground flax seed, or a spoonful of raw cacao powder
  1. Place almonds and optional add-ins in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Turn motor on and process, scraping down the sides occasionally until desired consistency is achieved. This can take up to 15 minutes, although roasted almonds take a little less time than raw. Keep in a covered glass container in the refrigerator.

Almond butter and chia seed cookie recipe

Remember the commercials for Chia Pets, the clay animals with a green furry layer of sprouted chia seeds covering their bodies?  Did your parents let you have one?  I SO wanted a chia puppy!   I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that 30 years ago chia seeds were popular as an arts and crafts project and now they are the latest super food.  Chia is giving flax and hemp a run for their money.  So what’s all the hype?  Chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, contain lots of protein and fiber and are rich in antioxidants.  Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds do not need to be ground up or soaked for you to be able to benefit nutritionally.  What’s kind of cool about chia seeds, though, is their gelatinous quality.  If you add them to a smoothie or yogurt, they swell up and thicken whatever they’re in.  My Whole Foods sells them in the bulk bins if you just want to buy a few spoonfuls and play round with them in your oatmeal or salad dressing.

But chia seeds are not in these cookies because I think they will magically turn this dessert into a healthful food — it’s still a cookie, or as my husband calls them — the “Chia Pet Cookies.”  Nutrition aside, chia seeds just add a really fun crunch, almost like a poppy seed.  You can add more crunch and texture if you like by adding finely chopped almonds, dried cranberries or chocolate chips.  No matter how you make them, these cookies are really quite tasty and a nice change from peanut butter, which Mr. Picky eats enough of.

My friend Peggy invited me to a large dinner at her house a few weeks ago and asked if I would bring a dessert.  The dinner happened to fall on a busy day for me (whom am I kidding?  Everyday is a busy day, isn’t it?), so I whipped up two batches of batter the night before and hid them in the fridge way back there so certain people who can’t keep their fingers out of raw cookie dough wouldn’t see them.  The next day while I tested someone on vocabulary words, I scooped dough onto cookie sheets and baked them off.  Everyone at the dinner asked, “what kind of cookies are these?”  “Almond butter and chia seed,” I replied.  “Like the Chia Pet??!!”  Never fails.


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Almond Butter and Chia Seed Cookies
Serves: makes 20 3½-inch cookies
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar (e.g. Sucanat) or regular granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour or gluten-free oat flour*
  • ¼ cup ground almond meal (buy this already ground or make your own by processing blanched almonds in a food processor until powdery)
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds (optional, but fun!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter, sugars and almond butter with an electric mixer until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, sea salt, baking soda and chia seeds. Add to the mixing bowl and stir until just combined.
  4. Using a 1 ¾ -inch ice cream scooper, drop batter onto prepared pans. Press down lightly on the cookie with the tines of a fork, making criss-cross marks. Bake 14-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  5. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack.
To make a smaller cookie, use a 1 ¼-inch scooper and bake for 9-10 minutes.

If you like a thicker cookie, refrigerate the dough for a few hours before scooping.

*Oat flour results in a more tender, cake-ier cookie.