Saturday, July 13, 2013

Carob, Peanut and Cranberry Cookies

I don't get the marketing of certain foods sometimes. Take carob, for example: it's promoted as a "chocolate substitute", with varying reports as to it's health benefits over cacao products. While it's true that carob is caffeine and theobromine free, it is not chocolate in any sense of the word to this 70% cocoa-holic. Putting a hockey mask on Julia Roberts does not make her Jason, in other words.

That's not to say I have a vendetta against carob itself - in fact, I rather like it as it's own thing, without the association to chocolate or cocoa. It has a nice, "natural tasting" sweetness that plays particularly well with fruit and nuts, and is one of the few foods I actually like paired with them (I'm a fruit purist in particular). Carob chips, especially when they're naturally sweetened (I love Sunspire), have a slight malty tang to them as well that really takes out any cloying saccharin-esque notes from frosting or cookies (which necessarily have a higher sugar content).

I had been intending to try a vegan, carob-laced version of Fifi O'Neill's chocolate chip raspberry cookies from The Romantic Prairie Cookbook for a while now, and I finally got around to it! We don't have any dried raspberries around here though, so along with the carob chips, I swapped in raspberry flavoured dried cranberries, then added flaxseed for binding, and whole wheat flour for nutrition and flavour and chopped peanuts for an awesome crunch and an overall PB&J feel. While they look at first blush to be a simple chocolate chip cookie, the taste is anything but - one of the ladies in the group I shared them with described them as tasting "healthy yet decadent, both complex and comforting". Who am I to argue?

Carob and Cranberry Cookies (with Optional Peanut Crunch!)
Carob, Peanut and Cranberry Cookies
Makes 26 large cookies
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light-flavoured olive oil (or more canola oil, I ran out)
2/3 cup sucanat (or sugar)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups vegan carob chips
1 1/2 cups raspberry flavoured Craisins
2/3 cup chopped peanuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line 4 baking sheets with parchment or silicone.
  2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and hot water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the oils, sugars and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add the flax mixture and beat in.
  6. Beat in the flour until well combined.
  7. Fold in the carob chips, cranberries and peanuts.
  8. Portion onto the sheets, about 1 1/2" apart.
  9. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes.
  10. Cool completely on the sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 220.4
Total Fat: 11.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 115.2 mg
Total Carbs: 29.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 2.6 g

Carob and Cranberry Cookies (with Optional Peanut Crunch!)