Friday, March 14, 2014

Low Cal Peanut Cookie Bites

Speaking as someone who spent most of their adolescence on a diet, I know that some days you just need a cookie. Now granted, most of those days you're ready to say "calories be d@mned" and reach for the Oreos, but then you have the whole guilt factor kicking in afterwards... and who needs that? Besides, for those people unfortunate enough to have allergies or celiac, your run-of-the mill cookie just won't cut it.

My whole class last week was definitely in need of some comfort food, given that most (if not all) of us had spent many sleepless nights completing a project the week before. Counting my instructors, 10 of the 11 of us are women - and even though I doubt anyone is on a weight-loss regime at the moment there is something to be said for having something more figure-flattering in the break room than store-bought muffins, doughnuts and croissants. Given that one of my classmates has celiac and at least one other is vegan, I try to be fairly inclusive in my offering that way too... that way everyone can share the same thing without having a separation between "safe" foods and "everything else".

I came across this cookie recipe a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to give it a try. I mean, really - vegan and gluten free, but with chocolate and peanuts too? I'm sold! I wound up making my drops a bit bigger than the original, so each cookie is 46 calories instead of the advertised 25, but that's still a far cry from the 160-odd you'll find in a packaged cookie! Heck, these are even light enough that you could sandwich two around a spoonful of my date fudge frosting, your favourite jam or more peanut butter and still have room in your "dessert calorie" budget for a side of fresh berries!

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Drops

One of the ways I kept the calories low was with Truvia in place of any sort of caloric sweetener. A blend of erythritol and stevia, it's sweeter than sugar without the strong aftertaste that pure stevia can carry. So far, I've found it useful in both baking and beverage-making (their website has lots of ideas too), and I have a modified version of cream fondant I can't wait to try with this sweetener too. What I've found, though, is that with "regular size" batches of cookies, brownies and cupcakes (as opposed to this tiny 10-bite one) you really should use sugar for at least 1/3 of the total amount. Not only does sugar sweeten, but it helps retain moisture, creates air pockets in fat and egg whites and tenderizes... roles that super-sweet substitutes (even natural ones) just can't perform as well.

That said, Truvia is proving to be a boon in our household of sugar-conscious eaters, and adding it to the rotation of natural alternatives is certainly not doing us any harm!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Drops

Low Cal Peanut Cookie Bites
Makes 10
¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup peanut flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
5 packets Truvia (or 4 tsp Truvia Spoonable)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
½ tsp natural vanilla extract
⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
1.5 oz chopped stevia-sweetened dark chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla, then stir in the almond milk a little at a time, until a dough forms. 
  3. Mix in chocolate pieces.
  4. Roll into 10 bite-sized balls and place on the tray. Press cookies down slightly with the back of a fork.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 46.2
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 6.4 mg
Total Carbs: 5.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 2.5 g