Healthy(ish) Almond Joy Cookies

Happy New Year everyone! Two days into 2017 and I’m already dipping things in chocolate. New year, not-so-new me!

Many people start off a new year with grand ideas of what they’d like to accomplish. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, to leave the mistakes of the old year behind.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic here, because I love grand ideas and hopes and dreams. Without them, none of us would ever be motivated to do anything. But it’s keeping up that motivation that can be tricky. Gyms are at their busiest the first few weeks of January. Wait a little longer, and the numbers drop dramatically. Why is this?

We tell ourselves that we were too ambitious, that our goals we set for ourselves were too lofty, that no one would have been able to do it. This may be true, but more often than not, we just talk ourselves out of getting fit, being healthy etc. because… it got too hard. We like easy, and if you don’t believe me, there’s an entire company called La-Z-Boy. Generally, we like the good life.

As I’ve said before though, I genuinely do feel a lot better when I’ve been eating well, so how do we find the balance between low effort and unhealthy, and high effort and healthy?

By cutting ourselves a break from time to time. We are human, and that fact can’t be avoided. The grand majority of us do not have entire teams of people working to make us look like the guy on the Academy Awards statue. So eat your veggies, but also eat something dipped in chocolate. Try going meat free one day a week. Put some greek yogurt in a smoothie with your favourite fruit. Baby steps. Without sounding too cliche, make 2017 the year of your best self, not just in terms of what food you’re putting in, but also the words that are coming out. Be kind and give yourself a compliment from time to time. You’re working hard, and you deserve it.

As a bonus, these cookies are also vegan-friendly and gluten free and can be made completely organic. Just make sure you find chocolate that does not have milk products in it if you want them to be vegan, which is actually easier than you would think.

Makes about 20

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Approximately 20 roasted unsalted almonds (have a few extra just in case)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips/chopped chocolate
  • Flaky sea salt (Maldon is a favourite of mine)

Directions

  1. Put coconut in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it comes together in a slightly sticky almost paste like texture. If your coconut is like mine, it may need some help, so add coconut oil a tsp at a time until it reaches the right texture. Don’t add more than 2 tsp however, as you will be adding the maple syrup next which will help it even more.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup, mix just to combine
  3. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop and pack balls of the coconut mixture and shape into disks. Place on a cookie sheet.
  4. Press (gently) one almond onto the center of each cookie.
  5. In a double boiler or in the microwave in 1o-15 second bursts, melt the chocolate until it is fully smooth.
  6. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.
  7. Sprinkle a small amount of the flaky salt on each cookie.
  8. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer or fridge just until the chocolate is set, 5 minutes or so.
  9. Bring the cookies back out and cover the bottoms of the cookies with chocolate, using a spatula or pastry brush. Put cookies back on the sheet and place back in the fridge/freezer to set, another 2-10 minutes.
  10. Serve the cookies at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Tip: If you have leftover melted chocolate, dip clementine pieces in it and cool them on the cookie sheet with the cookies to set. Delicious!

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