Quarantine inspires guilt-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

Martha Lynch
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Chef Nicole Burgess developed a guilt-free chocolate chip cookie.

It can be tough to maintain good eating habits in stressful times, when the snack you hanker for probably begins with “chocolate” and ends with “cookie.”

Chef Nicole Burgess offers some help through a recipe she developed for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, observed Aug. 4. Burgess, the pastry chef at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, wanted a recipe for those who may be working to shed so-called quarantine weight.

But these definitely don’t taste like diet cookies.

“I originally made these ‘healthy’ chocolate chip cookies on accident at home,” said Burgess, who decided to substitute almond flour on a day when she was out of regular flour. The almond-flour version, lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats and fiber, was a pleasant surprise.

Comparing the new version with the original, “They tasted the same to me,” she said, adding that she made more healthy substitutions to make the cookies even healthier.

“So far, we’ve had great feedback!” Burgess added. “Personally, I love them. They’re the same decadent cookie taste, but without the guilt. And now that so many people are struggling from gyms being closed, it’s the perfect time to try what we call a ‘diet cookie.’”

Quarantine Choco-chip Cookie

Makes 14 to 20 small, 2-ounce cookies or 10 to 15 large, 4-ounce cookies

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup almond flour

Pinch of Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons regular sugar

2 tablespoons agave or honey (whichever sweetener you prefer)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

11/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

4 tablespoons oat milk (more can be used if needed)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.

Add wet and dry mixtures together and stir until all of the dry mixture has absorbed. If using an electric mixer, mix enough to incorporate everything (roughly 2 minutes). Stir in the chocolate chips. Remember to never overmix cookie dough.

Make dollops of dough and separate on the cookie sheet. Tip: Use an ice cream scooper.

Bake 7-9 minutes and take out before the outsides get slightly browned.

Let sit 10-15 minutes to allow the dough to finish cooking, then enjoy.

Cooking note: If you like your cookie a little more crispy, leave it in the oven for a minute or two extra. Check every minute to make sure you don’t end up burning them.

Storage note: The baked cookies can be frozen and if you’re short on prep time, freeze the cookie dough balls and bake them when you need them.