Dates – 1 cup plus 1/4 cup, firmly packed SUPER SOFT dates
Vanilla Extract – 2 teaspoons
Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons
Cacao Powder – 1/4 cup, firmly packed
Almond Butter – 1 cup (crunchy or creamy, drained of excess oil)
Yield: 24 cookies
In a food processor, blend dates, vanilla, salt, and oil until smooth and paste-like. Add last: cacao powder and almond butter. Blend until well combined. Mixture should resemble the texture of cookie dough when pressed together with fingers.
Using a tablespoon-sized mini scooper, form rounds by scooping the dough onto a cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the rounds with a fork to form crisscross hash marks. This technique helps add texture and crispiness as the cookies bake. Cookies should not be thin; they should be slightly thick, about 1/2 inch high.
Bake cookies at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes (or sooner – until the edges and bottoms slightly start to brown). Don’t over-cook or they will burn! Promptly remove cookies from the oven. Cookies will be very delicate upon removal; use a fork or stainless steel spatula to place them on a plate. Cool cookies for about 20-30 minutes. Edges will be crispy and the insides will be a tender cake-like “crumbly” texture.
-Create chocolate thumbprint cookies and fill them with a fresh fruit compote (i.e. raspberry, agave, dash of lemon juice, and salt).
-Add chopped nuts stirred in by hand before scooping the dough into rounds, or simply sprinkle the tops of the cookies with chopped nuts.
-Use a cookie cutter to create special shapes for a special occasion.
-After forming cookie rounds, bake a few cookies and freeze the rest like a pre-made cookie dough. This makes it easy to snack on a few cookies at a time if desired.