Chocolate Cherry Flax Cookies

The sun is shining as a few leaves are still clinging desperately to their branches. All too soon there will be snow to shovel. But today there is a brilliant sky filled with sun, and warmer temperatures. Bright leaves are resting on top of the faded green and quickly browning grass. Today is a good day for a cookie that is hearty, healthy, crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I turned to flax, dried cherries and dark chocolate…

 

This cookie recipe is healthier than most and has a beautiful nutty quality to it. Before you set out to make this, please read this post by Not Without Salt.  This cookie recipe may be found at the end of that post. Ashley’s writing is utterly beautiful, the pictures are gorgeous and her messages are filled to the brim with truisms of life.

I used the recipe for “Cherry, Almond Chocolate Chip cookies” from Not Without Salt. I did modify a few things based on the ingredients I could find and already had on hand. There is always risk involved when you go substituting major ingredients in baking! The bulk bins at my local grocery did not carry almond meal so I decided to toast golden flax seeds and grind it into meal. The white wheat flour the recipe called for was replaced with 1/2 cup of white flour and 1/4 wheat flour. This is risky business people! My cookie title also changed to “Chocolate, Cherry Flax Cookies”…no it does not have a super catchy title. Yes, it is a mouthful to say. But that is ok – after one bite of these cookies you will be reaching for another.

Without further delay I present to you my modified cookie recipe. I do want to track down some almond meal and grab a bag of white wheat flour to taste the original recipe as it was intended. But for today this cookie was the ‘perfect’ fit.

Chocolate Cherry Flax Cookies
adapted from Not Without Salt

These cookies are vegan friendly. Make sure your chocolate follows suit. I used Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Chips – which does contain a small percent 1-2% of milk fat. Other changes I made was using flax meal vs. almond meal and a combination of white and wheat flour for whole wheat white flour. 

½ cup  butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup Turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw)
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 Tablespoon ground golden flax seeds
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup  of toasted and ground flax meal (Toasted whole at 350 * for 15-20 minutes until they smell ‘nutty’, then ground until it resembles a slightly coarse meal
1/2 cup white all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup dried unsweetened cherries
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% baking chips, as noted above)

Pre-heat the oven to 350* and line two baking pans with parchment paper or silpat.
Make a flaxegg: combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 1/4 cup of warm water in a small ramekin, stir and set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar until smooth and light in color. This will not be super smooth as if you were using regular granulated sugar. This will give it great texture. Mix in the espresso powder. Add the flaxegg along with the vanilla extract. Mix this on low until well combined.

In a separate smaller bowl mix the ground flax, white and wheat flours, baking soda,  and salt. Turn the mixer on ‘stir’ setting and add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture.  Just before the mixture all comes together add the dried cherries and chocolate. Stir until just combined.

I used a smaller cookie scoop for this recipe. You could easily use a tablespoon to shape your cookies as well.  I find the cookie scoop simply makes the whole process easier. Bake the cookies at 350* for about 13 – 15 minutes. The cookies will look golden around the edges, smell nutty from the flaxy goodness and be slightly firm to the touch but will ‘give’  ever so slightly to the touch when pressed in the middle of the cookie. Let them cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Start your day off right with this cookie, cup of coffee or tea and you will be smiling as you walk out the front door…I guarantee it!