It’s been a while since I entered a recipe contest, and it’s fun to be back at it! I haven’t been baking as much as usual in recent months, and this contest was a good excuse to change that.
This latest contest — the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge — is through Steviva, a company that creates safe alternative sweeteners. I’d been wanting to try a monk fruit sweetener, so this was the perfect chance to do that. Steviva sent me a few products, including a bag of their MonkSweet+ sweetener, which is a combination of monk fruit, stevia and erythritol in granular form.
The contest has three category options: Beverage, Entree, and Baking, and I knew Baking was the one for me. What to bake? Cookies — duh. Cookies are, hands down, my favorite treat (both to bake and to eat).
But since we’re talking alternative sweeteners here — and since I’ve adopted a plant-based diet recently (more on that later) — I wanted to create a cookie recipe that was on the healthy side (without sacrificing taste, of course) and that was vegan.
The result? These cookies are good, y’all. Sure, they’re vegan and they’re gluten free and they’re pretty healthy, as cookies go, but they’re also just plain GOOD COOKIES. (Kevin approved wholeheartedly, and he can certainly be skeptical of some of my alternative baking and cooking endeavors.)
Wanna try some? Here’s how to whip up a batch for yourself!:
Vegan, Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/3 cup Steviva MonkSweet+ Simply Natural Sweetener
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats (I love the Trader Joe’s kind)
- 1 cup almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great version)
- 1/2 cup almond meal (you can find this at Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tablespoons cold water, mixed in a small bowl)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1/3 cup mini dairy-free chocolate chips (I love the Enjoy Life kind)
- 1/8 cup cacao nibs
- Additional sea salt to sprinkle on dough before baking
- Prepare the flax egg and set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (leaving out the chocolate chips and cacao nibs).
- Mix in wet ingredients.
- Fold in chocolate chips and cacao nibs.
- Roll dough into small balls (about two-ish inches in diameter) and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When you’re ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- Once the oven is preheated, remove the cookie dough balls from the fridge and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the dough with sea salt, then place the baking sheet in the oven.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies barely start to brown. (I like my cookies on the chewy side, so I always pull them a little early. 12 minutes was perfect when I made these!)
- Let the cookies cool completely, and enjoy! (Recommendation: Pair with a cup of coffee or a glass of almond milk for extra indulgence.)
Shout-out to Steviva for sending me some of their delicious sweeteners, and for hosting this contest! I had a blast creating this recipe, and hope y’all enjoy it, too.