Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
After having made these cookies six times in the past week (not an exaggeration), I’ve finally landed on my favourite version. As per usual, I’m trying to teeter across that fine line between using ingredients that are good for your health and our planet, whilst also achieving delicious tender chewiness for your tastebuds and soul.
Because food should be good for us, as well as a delight to devour. You know I won’t settle for compromise here!
How to make a healthy vegan cookie
Cookies are traditionally all white flour, sugar, butter, and egg. In other words, even my 2 year old can make them taste good with his eyes closed. But take all four of those away, and my friend, we have to do some serious experimentation.
Thankfully I have a family willing to take the taste-testing pain. And bring you the final goods! Here’s how I’ve butchered the traditional cookie fat-sugar-bomb:
- White flour -> I’ve used oats – higher in protein, fibre, and B vitamin – I’ve also kept some whole for texture and chew.
- White sugar -> I’ve halved the regular dose, and used mineral rich brown rice syrup instead (coco nectar or maple are also great). The dark choc also gives them sweetness.
- Butter -> I’ve subbed butter for chickpea brine or aquafaba, and added blitzed walnuts for that fatty/rich component. I’ve also opted for a liquid sweetener to add moisture, which normally comes from the oil. Ditching the butter does make them a lot lighter than your regular cookie, so if you want a more traditional richness, swap the aquafaba with olive oil.
- Egg -> Like egg whites, the chickpea brine/aquafaba helps with hold.
There are lots of other ways we can make cookies without sugar/egg/butter/oil/white flour, but I’ll leave that for a future post (excuse for more cookies).
Why you’ll love these Walnut Choc Chunk Cookies
You can’t not put these tasty Walnut Choc Chunk Cookies on your to-make list this week. Why??
- 10 minutes to make
- 10 minutes to bake
- Less than 10 ingredients (and all pantry basics)
- Zero oil (if you want to), and
- Super low in sugar
Book yourself a cookie date tonight!
Health benefits of walnuts
One of walnuts’ standout benefits is their omega 3 fatty acid content. They are one of the highest sources of omega 3 available, and contain a whopping 10g per 100g. This is almost five times as much as that found in fish such as salmon (often thought of as the gold standard of omega 3), with only 2g/100g.
Omega 3’s are beneficial in that they serve as an anti-inflammatory in the body, which can assist with nervous system and brain function, and are particularly beneficial for degenerative age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In our younger years, they ensure optimal brain and nerve function, and keep us performing mentally at our best.
Walnuts are also a fabulous source of vitamin E, which is particularly beneficial in protecting against heart disease.
Their fat content also makes them satiating (help to keep you full), and they provide a decent whack of protein too at 15g/100g (only lightly less than salmon at 20g).
Walnuts have an inherent bitterness in their skins, which can be removed by soaking them in water, dehydrating, or roasting them. For this recipe you can do any of these three, but even if you use them raw, you’ll still be removing some of the bitterness when you bake the cookies.
Want more healthy plant-based cookies?
I hope you love these cookies as much as I do. I literally think I’ve eaten 30 of them in the past week, but hey, when you’re cooking with plant-based whole foods, that’s one of the benefits. You get to eat to your heart’s content!
Enjoy these, and til next week, stay happy and well.
- 1 ½ c rolled oats (fine / quick)
- ½ c walnuts
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ⅓ c brown rice syrup (or coconut nectar / maple syrup)
- ⅓ c aquafaba / chickpea brine (or olive oil)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ c dark chocolate chopped
- ⅓ c walnuts chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F) fan bake.
- Blitz 1 cup of rolled oats with 1/2 cup of walnuts in a blender (or food processor) to a flour. Pour into a bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup of oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and stir together.
- Blitz the wet ingredients in your blender until frothy and thick, then pour into the dry with the chocolate and walnuts, and mix to combine.
- Scoop out 12 heaped tablespoons onto a baking tray, flatten slightly, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes on the tray, then remove and eat. Can store in a sealed container for 4 days, or in the freezer for a month.
- Gluten free: Use ½ c buckwheat flour + ½ c brown rice flour + ½ c tapioca flour instead of the oats. Or, ¾ c buckwheat flour + ¾ c brown flour + 2 tsp guar gum.
- Nut free: Replace walnuts with sunflower or hemp seeds.
- Oil free: Use the chickpea brine / aquafaba version.
- To make them richer – swap the chickpea brine for olive oil. Or you can add a heaped tablespoon of peanut / nut butter to the wet ingredients.
- I also love using wholemeal spelt flour for these, as well as buckwheat or rye – just the 1 cup of blitzed oats with these. You can also mix up the add ins – swap chocolate for raisins, walnuts for pecans or hazelnuts.
- If you don’t have dark chocolate in the house, you can use raisins instead – walnut and raisin oat cookies – delicious.