New Years Resolution Cookie.

Happy 2015 to all! 

Theres a lot of talk this time of year about resolutions, goals, and intentions to set, welcoming in a fresh start and reveling in all that has happened in 2014. And while some of us are on a great start to eating healthy, wholesome foods, there are others who don't know where the heck to start! Its a large jump for some people to go from the indulgent holiday season to salads and green smoothies, while others can't wait to make the leap. I wanted to share a recipe with you that helps you start to make gradual, lasting change and would be welcomed by anyone; no matter where they are in their wellness journey. And sometimes you need a treat, even when you're being healthy.  So I'm giving you a smarter choice for a cookie. A cookie to celebrate a New Years resolution you say?? Yes, please.

Standard homemade cookies, delicious as they may seem, are loaded with refined flours and sugars... not the best for your health I must admit. But this cookie! This cookie is made from wholesome wheat free flours, less processed sugars that wont drive your blood sugar wild, and contains overall quality ingredients. And, its delicious. Amazing dare I say.

The lowdown on sugar.  As Americans, we ingest around 100 pounds of the sweet stuff a year. Yikes! Most common foods containing added sugars include: soft drinks, bread & crackers, desserts, candy, yogurts, cereals, and in general, processed foods. Biologically we are attracted to sugar because it is instant energy: allowing our blood sugar levels and energy to immediately rise. The problem is that when we eat too many sugary foods it can cause a slew of problems and imbalance in our systems, called dysbiosis. Another downfall of processed, white sugar is that while it contains calories, it doesn't contain vitamins, minerals, protein, or healthful fat. It is basically a food that isn't giving our bodies anything! How stingy. (That is the reason for the term "empty calories") And it that wasn't bad enough, white sugar actually pulls vitamins and minerals from our body's reserve, leaving our immune systems compromised and our bodies at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, type 2 diabetes, various cancers, and many more diseases. Very sad indeed.

But, theres hope! Cutting out the white sugar in your diet can be a gamer changer, but that doesn't mean you have to forget about the occasional cakes, cookies, and your cherished treats. Coconut sugar is an excellent choice when baking cakes and cookies. It is a granulated sugar, therefore easy to substitute one for one for white sugar, and is rich in vitamins and minerals and low on the glycemic index. (The glycemic index is a measure a certain food will effect an individual's blood sugar level. A high number indicates a large jump in blood sugar, while a small number indicates a small rise in blood sugar levels.) It is rich in flavor and has a slight caramely taste. Maple syrup, delicious and beautiful in color, is a natural sweetener that contains zinc, manganese, and antioxidants... actually aiding your immune system in keeping strong and maintaining healthy and strong cells. Yay!

So needless to say, for this New Years resolution cookie recipe we ditched the white sugar and loaded this delicious thing with maple syrup and coconut sugar to help inspire you to phase out the excess white sugar in your diet and choose healthier, more wholesome sweeteners instead. This recipe will NOT disappoint. Its nutrient dense, its tasty, its easy. Enjoy!

New Years Resolution Cookie
by Stephanie Horning
A deliciously wholesome cookie, perfect for celebrating the New Year and easing into a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes

3/4 cup unsalted butter, or 1 1/2 sticks
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup  coconut sugar
3/4 cup almond butter
1 tablespoon coconut butter, optional
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½  cups rolled oats
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons oat flour
½ cup brown rice flour (almond meal works great too!)
½ cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans (or other nut of choice)
½ cup dark chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream together the butter, maple syrup, coconut sugar, almond butter, vanilla, and coconut butter until throughly combined. Beat in one egg at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flours, flax meal, soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Cup by cup, stir in the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Lastly, stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Let dough sit for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
Roll dough into one inch wides balls. Place on a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies just begin to crack. Let cool and savor.

Note: In lieu of butter, you may substitute 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil.