If you are a chocoholic, you will love my February blogs… all on chocolate!
At this point, I could remind you of the wonderful things dark chocolate does for us, but I’m not going to. Instead, I give you permission to eat dark chocolate simply for your sheer enjoyment. And, that’s a good enough reason right there!
Another nice thing about this recipe is that it only takes one kind of flour (rather than a blend) and it gives you a chance to try different gluten-free flours. Instead of sorghum or brown rice, perhaps the same amount of whole grain flours such as amaranth, buckwheat, or millet flour instead. The deep chocolate flavor will mask these stronger-flavored flours, yet you will get their nutrient benefits.
But let’s take it one more step. Is there any better combination than chocolate AND peanut butter? Well, maybe….but this blissful combination is my focus today.
Dark Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies©
by Carol Fenster
You can freeze some of the balls of dough for later baking when the chocolate urge strikes.
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa), divided
3 tablespoons butter or buttery spread
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sorghum flour or brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
 In medium microwave-safe bowl, heat 8 ounces (1 heaping cup) of chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter on Low power in microwave oven 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted. Stir; set aside to cool.
 In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt with electric mixer on low speed until very well blended. Beat in melted chocolate mixture until no flour streaks remain. Stir in walnuts and remaining chocolate chips. Dough will be soft. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.
 Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 15×10-inch baking sheet (not nonstick) with parchment paper. Shape dough into 48 walnut-sized balls and place 12 balls, at least 1 ½-inches apart, on sheet.
 Bake just until cookies are shiny and crust starts to crack, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool cookies 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Or, freeze balls up to 1 month and bake later. Makes 48 cookies
A Health Note from Carol
To get serious for a moment, aside from the important benefits of dark chocolate that we hear about, the walnuts in this cookie are important too. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, they are natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats that promote cardiovascular health, help maintain optimal cognitive function, and tone down inflammation. They also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that helps support a healthy immune system and protect against cancer, as well as L-arginine, an essential amino acid that promotes healthy blood pressure. And, new research released this week touts the benefits of walnuts in the Mediterranean diet. While chopped peanuts are also a healthy choice, I like the taste of the walnuts. So, there you have it. Many reasons to eat these delicious cookies!