Saturday, May 23, 2020

Double Chocolate Protein Cookies with @nakednutrition

Need to add a protein boost to your day? Try these vegan, gluten free double chocolate cookies - full of decadent flavour with two scoops of @nakednutrition Naked Rice protein powder. 

One of the biggest things I miss about my pre-social distancing life was going to the gym. Now I'm no body-building, rock-hard-abs kind of girl, but I love my Zumba and the energy it gives me. At home, I keep up as best I can with classes - an interesting experiment when your "workout room" is also your office!

One of the things I do have to be mindful of in my day-to-day life is my protein intake. For me, this is not because I'm active (I have many friends who put me to shame in that respect) but because my autoimmune condition can make it difficult to get enough in every day. When I know I haven't been eating well, I opt to add a little protein powder to my food. I've never been one for drinking smoothies or milkshakes (of which protein powder always seems to become), but if the right powder came along I wouldn't mind giving it a shot! When Naked Nutrition approached me about a collaboration, I was intrigued - they were a new brand to me, and their transparent, no-nonsense labeling was a gigantic plus. So often I am stuck scanning label after label for gluten, dairy or my arch nemesis, coconut, but the website (and the bottles of powder) have clear, easy to read wording and nutrition facts.

Naked Nutrition is best known for their whey powders, and again it is easy to see why they're unique in a sea of various blends and flavours typically lining the shelves. For the longest time, whey in general has dominated the protein market, but since it's not an option for me I keep looking for alternates. Along the way, I've encountered powders that were gritty, slimy or that turned my drink or food into concrete - not a recipe for success - but when I saw that Naked Nutrition offered a rice protein I was intrigued. Rice has a tendency to be on the sweeter side naturally, but can also be gritty - how would this stack up?

Well, the first test was right when the 2.27kg bottle arrived - digging for the scoop (which always happens, I don't know why companies don't attach it like they do those ice-cream spoons) I took a little bit of the powder between my fingers. It was smooth - not baby-powder smooth, but smoother than most powders I've tried before. Taking that as a sign, I added a scoop to my mug of hot cocoa. The texture of the drink got a tiny bit thicker, but not like I was drinking a hot milkshake, and most importantly there was no grit or "off" flavour. It made the drink a little creamier though, as if I made it with whole milk instead of water. It has become my go-to treat on dance days!

Bolstered by those findings, I turned to my area of expertise - baking. I have several people in my life that (for whatever reason) could use a little boost of nutrition but who are also not big eaters. One thing they all have in common, though, is a love for chocolate and cookies. Taking that knowledge and my newfound protein powder, I set about tweaking a recipe I make with the kids in Home Economics class to make double chocolate, chewy, protein rich and lower-sugar cookies.

The cookies got a boost of flavour and fibre from the inclusion of oat flour and rolled oats, which I pulled from my gluten-free stash. Whenever I work with an oat-based cookie dough, or any gluten free batters in general (excepting my angel food cake), I always let it sit at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour at room temperature, which allows the dry ingredients to hydrate and the whole mixture to bake smoothly. My patience was rewarded with these thick, chewy discs - and now that I know they're a hit (they disappeared within a few days) I've made a double batch to hang out in my freezer, pre-scooped, for when the cookie hunger strikes again!

Many, many thanks to Naked Nutrition for this opportunity! Remember, Naked Rice is an all natural, nothing added protein that is gluten free and vegan, with a slightly sweet flavour and NO grit - perfect for adding to your smoothies as well as in culinary applications. Whether it is a mug of hot cocoa, a bowl of oatmeal or a chocolate-packed cookie, you'll never believe how smooth and tasty (or taste-free) this is!

Double Chocolate Protein Cookies
Makes 18
1/2 cup vegan "butter" (stick-style), softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup oat milk
1 cup oat flour (use certified GF if you need this gluten free)
2 scoops Naked Rice protein powder 
1/2 cup oats (again, GF if needed) or quinoa flakes
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger)
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance, salt, nutmeg, Truvia, sugar and cocoa until well blended. 
  2. Add the flaxseed, vanilla and oat milk, mixing well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine into a slightly sticky dough (this will be a little "wetter" than standard chocolate chip cookies but not runny).
  4. Cover bowl and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment or SilPat.
  6. Scoop 2-tbsp portions of dough onto the sheets, leaving a generous space between (I did 6 cookies to a sheet and they almost spread to touch).
  7. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15-17 minutes. Cookies will look underdone but will firm as they cool.
  8. Cool completely on the sheets.

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