I usually pretend to forget about the class cake sale at my daughter’s school but last week she kept going on about it so I had to concede and agreed to make an offering. These sales usually consist of shop bought sugary cakes and biscuits covered in sickly icing, almost neon from artificial colourings. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn up with something I wouldn’t normally offer my kids.
My daughter loves these chocolate chip cookies and I was happy to load her up with a basket of them for the sale. I am quite a fan of the health benefits of dark chocolate and find that by combining it with ground almonds add protein and healthy fats which helps lower any impact on blood sugar levels. I especially love these biscuits as they are a great way to use up the coconut flour leftovers from making coconut milk.
The sweetness comes from dates which I softened with boiling water. I use this paste as a sweetener in many of my cakes as it gives a rich sweetness and is probably one of the healthiest options as far as sweeteners go. Although high in natural sugar, dates are an excellent source of fibre, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and selenium. Date paste freezes well and so its well worth having a jar in the freezer for sweetening cakes, biscuits, porridge etc.
The problem with refined sugar is that it’s been stripped of its nutrients so provides nothing but empty calories. The body needs nutrients to process sugar and as it doesn’t contain any, it may rob them from other places such as bone and tissue. Overuse of sugar can cause imbalances and deficiencies in a number of vitamins and minerals. This is part of the reason high sugar intake is associated with so many degenerative diseases. On top of this, the rapid absorption of sugar into the bloodstream creates havoc with blood sugar levels and the surges in insulin this produces are endemic in our society, escalating the global rise in diabetes and obesity.
So, by using a sugar that actually contains the minerals needed to metabolise it, the delicate balance within the body is maintained and it’s not going to create a deficit elsewhere. Also, the special fibre in dates (beta-D-glucan) helps slow down the absorption of sugar so avoiding surges in insulin.
Other sugars that provide good amounts of nutrients are maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, fruit syrups and coconut (palm) sugar. I sometimes use these, or xylitol which tastes just like sugar but doesn’t impact blood sugar levels. The key thing to remember is that no sugar is good for you, but you can minimise the damage and have occasional treats, made with healthy ingredients that support the system not steal from it.
We hope you enjoy these chocolate chip cookies, let us know how you get on in the comments below or on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive more recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.