Each year all of the families, babies included, of my 6 year-old son’s school go camping together by a river that flows from natural hot springs with waterfalls and lush vegetation here in Mexico. The fun river activities, including ziplining (ziplining is the sport of soaring high above the ground while your body is secured in a harness and attached to an overhead cable), campfire dancing and singing, and the general conviviality make this the annual event we all look forward to, because it unifies us as a community. This year I volunteered to organize the trip, which includes the important job of coordinating the food for the meals we will prepare and joyfully eat together. I wanted to bring a dessert we could all enjoy, adults and children alike. I chose a recipe I’ve been making since I was in college. I call them my Healthy Chocolate And Nut Chunk Cookies. They are full of protein-rich nuts, rolled oats, coconut, brown sugar, whole-wheat flour, dates, and chunks of premium dark chocolate. You don’t need to wait to go camping to make these, but I assure you they are just what you will want to have by the campfire with some hot chocolate when you do.
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats
¼ cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor or blender until fine.
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
¾ cups chopped pecans
¾ cups chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
20 oz. premium dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into about 3/4 inch chunks
Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, rolled oats, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate, nuts, dates and coconut to the dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
For the best results, chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies.
Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart. Bake in a 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle. Store in a sealed container when cool to keep soft.
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