Chocolate Indulgence for Valentine’s Day with An Ayurvedic Twist

By Lisa Joy Mitchell

Craving chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Indulge in these double chocolate chip cookies with a healthy Ayurvedic twist, cardamon!

Today’s joyful offering is a recipe for vegan and gluten-free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. With this dish, I offer my salutations to the Goddess of Chocolate and my gratitude to the chocolatiers of yore who infused an ancient pagan holiday with the chocolate tradition!

Who doesn’t love an excuse to revel in Mother Nature’s finest flavor? Whether you prefer extra dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate, February 14th gives you full permission to indulge your chocolate fix—yes even on the Ayurvedic path. Made with almond and oat flours, and sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar and dark chocolate chips, these cookies fit my guilt-free version of desserts…when eaten in moderation, of course!

The Scoop on Chocolate, According to Ayurveda

According to Dr. Vasant Lad, a renowned Ayurvedic physician and educator, it’s good to eat chocolate mindfully as it increases all the doshas, the body’s innate organizing intelligence. The stimulant theobromine (or caffeine-like chemical) in chocolate, increases vata, and boy, do I know it! If I eat too much chocolate at night, I have difficulty falling asleep, and too much any time of day makes me feel uncomfortably jumpy as if I’ve had a strong cup of coffee. Chocolate’s acidic quality increases pitta. Because chocolate is always mixed with some amount of sugar to make it edible, it increases kapha.

Enter cardamom! You may have first encountered this lovely flavor with a cup of well-prepared Indian chai (which is far better than Starbucks, which I find sickeningly sweet!) I’ve heard Dr. Lad say that cardamom is the “antidote” to chocolate’s problematic effects. So, if you enjoy cardamom’s flavor, you’ll love adding a teaspoon of ground cardamom to this recipe. If you’re a chocolate purist, you may prefer these cookies without the added flavor, which I admit to being my preference. But either way, they’re delicious.

Choose Your Chips Wisely

My personal favorite chocolate is dark chocolate anything. When buying chips, I get 65 to 70 percent chocolate, just a little sweet to overcome the bitterness, but not enough to bring on the sugar blues. If you’re gluten or dairy intolerant, read labels carefully. I buy the Enjoy Life brand, which is vegan and gluten-free.

Enjoy this awesome chocolate treat on Valentine’s Day and whenever you want to hear murmurs of pleasure. That’s what happens when someone bites into one of these Double Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preparation Time: About 1½ hours (20 minutes active)
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

7 tablespoons coconut oil
⅔ cup fine almond flour

¾ cup oat flour

⅓ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

1½ teaspoons psyllium husks (whole flakes)

1 cup coconut sugar

2 tablespoons warmed water

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

9 ounces chocolate chips

Baker’s Tips: 1. Be sure to use whole psyllium husks (the flakes!), not psyllium powder, or your cookies will be hard as rocks. 2. Take special care to measure everything precisely, and use every drop of the fat and water as directed, or the cookies will be dry. 3. You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips, although I prefer the 65 or 70 percent cocoa chips, which contain less refined sugar. 4. These are chewy cookies. If you prefer crisp cookies, bake the cookies 2 minutes longer. 5. For richer cookies, add 1 additional tablespoon of fat (8 tablespoons total) and refrigerate the baked cookies when storing.

1. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on low heat. Remove the pan from the heat source to cool to room temperature.

2. While the coconut oil is melting, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cardamom (if using), and psyllium husks in a small mixing bowl, and set aside.

3. Remeasure the coconut oil into a separate mixing bowl, and return any excess to its container. Add the coconut sugar to the melted oil along with the water and vanilla; whisk together. Add the flour and cocoa mixture, and take time to mix it very well with a spatula. Fold in the chips. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (but no longer).

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Use a small scoop or measuring tablespoon to gather one heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie. For perfectly shaped cookies, roll the dough in your hands for a second or two to form a ball. Drop 12 balls on the parchment, leaving about 2 inches between so the cookies can spread. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. The edges will have begun to set; the centers will still be soft.

5. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet; then transfer the baked cookies on their parchment sheet to a rack to continue cooling for at least 10 minutes before serving—if you can wait that long! Keep the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serving Suggestion: Serve with a cup of chai tea spiced with an extra pinch of cardamom. Or serve with a cup of fresh hot almond milk spiced with cardamom . . . yummy!

Want a different kind of indulgence? Treat yourself to a free mind and meditation session, Beyond Breath to learn about SKY Breath Meditation

Lisa Joy Mitchell, with a B.A. in Journalism, is an author, speaker, wellness mentor, and Ayurvedic cooking instructor. Her book Sacred and Delicious, A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook has won 5 national book industry awards.

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