WTAF Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

There’s no such thing as a reimagined-to-be-healthy recipe that’s as good as the original. Anyone who says otherwise is either delusional or magic. That’s my long-held belief, anyway–which is why I’m naming my recipe WTAF Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies. If we’re in need of a bit of decoding, WTAF stands for “What The Actual F***,” a fitting exclamation of surprise at how perfect these cookies are. Why was I so surprised? Because, after months of experimenting with healthier cookie recipes, I had resigned myself to the fact that without AP flour, butter, sugar, and other highly-processed ingredients, healthier cookies would just never compare. Then I made these (!!!), drawing from a recipe I saw on Whole and Heavenly Oven. Maybe the trick is the making my own cashew butter (easier than it may sound), or that I’ve left in just enough brown sugar to be a *little* bad. But the first bite from my first batch was so damn good, these cookies earned their name and then some. If my mom’s chocolate chips are an 11 on a 1-to-10 cookie rating scale, I’m awarding these guys a solid 9.5. They meet all my cookie requirements: golden color, chewy texture, good chip distribution, and they taste pretty much perfect. PLEASE make them soon, and know true healthy dessert joy.

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INGREDIENTS

1 heaping cup raw cashews
1 heaping cup honey roasted cashews (or, cut out all the cashews completely and replace with 1 cup store-bought cashew butter, WITHOUT the oil layer on top stirred in, as this will likely make the cashew butter too liquidy)
scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like to go lighter on chips (…I know…) so feel free to add more)

*Note on replacements: This recipe doesn’t turn out anywhere near as good if you omit the raw cashews and replace them with another cup of roasted cashews. For whatever reason, it throws the texture off. Stick with 1 cup raw and 1 cup roasted.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.

In a food processor or bender, add both types of cashews and grind them into nut butter. It takes my food processor about 5 minutes to get to the right stage: completely pulverized and able to hold together as a ball (read: a thick, just-barely-spreadable nut butter), but not liquidy.

Measure out 1 cup of the cashew butter (you should have just about that amount in your food processor, with maybe a little left over) and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir until combined. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Your batter will be sticky.

Scoop the dough into small balls and press them flat onto the baking sheet–not too close, as they do spread just a little bit. Then, pop them in the oven.

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After about 6 minutes, bang the bottom of the cookie sheet onto the oven door a few times to deflate the cookies (this step will help result in cookies that are more chewy than cakey–I HATE cake-y). Continue to bake for 4-6 more minutes, til the cookies have turned a gorgeous golden brown color. Let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Like all chocolate chip cookies, they’re at their most amazing while still warm, right out of the oven. If you do have any leftovers, keep them sealed and they’ll last up to a week.

IMPORTANT SERVING NOTE: I have also successfully baked these pressed into mini-skillets with a scoop of ice cream on top. Highly recommended.

Chickpea Flatbread.

I’ve become obsessed with these chickpea flatbreads. Lately I’ve been making them every week, because they go with everything and are so good. They’re the basis of a breakfast tostada-like thing I make on weekends, a great addition to a curry chicken and cauliflower rice work lunch, and I’ve even tried to make them into a quesadilla for dinner (with mixed results). They’re also very forgiving–it’s tough to overcook them–and have so few ingredients, I can barely call this a recipe. But a recipe it is, and such a versatile one. Chickpea flatbreads are quickly becoming one of my go-tos and I’m not mad about it.

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups chickpea flour
3 cups cold water
olive oil
salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Pour the chickpea flour into a mixing bowl, and slowly whisk in the cold water, stirring to break up any lumps. Once you’ve added all the water and the batter is completely combined, use a slotted spoon to skim off any foam that has risen to the top. Get rid of that foam! Your digestive system will thank you later. Set the de-foamed batter aside on the counter to soak overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
A note on soaking: I’ve made the flatbreads after waiting only 3 hours, and while they still turn out delicious, they are also a lot harder on your digestive system (remember that rhyme about beans?). So I soak the batter overnight at a minimum.

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Once the batter has soaked, use a slotted spoon again to skim off any foam/impurities that rise to the top. Then give the batter a good stir to make sure it’s well-combined, and you’re ready to make some flatbreads!

Heat a crepe pan or other non-stick surface over a low flame (2 out of 10 on my stove) and add a good amount of olive oil to the pan – not so much that you completely cover the bottom of the pan, but more than you’d use to just grease it. The olive oil is a fantastic flavor in this recipe, so you really do want to taste it.

Once the pan is hot, you’re ready to add your batter. The amount you add will depend on the size of your pan: I use about 1 cup of batter, which covers the entire pan so that you can’t see the bottom–thicker than a crepe. Pour it in, add salt and pepper to taste, and let cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Once the batter is set on top, turn up the heat to medium/medium low (4-5 out of 10 on my stove) for 2 minutes to brown the bottom.

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Flip the flatbread over and cook the other side for another 8 minutes or so, until both sides are browned and the flatbread is cooked through.

That’s it! I prefer to serve these right away, with some melted cheese, salsa, and eggs. Or you can let them cool, cut them up into quarters, and serve later. These heat up fine in the microwave, but they’re best reheated on a skillet. Usually I make one at a time, and I keep the rest of the batter in the fridge to make later (up to a week after first mixing it).

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Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Sorbet.

Raaaaaspberry sorbet. The kind you find in a secondhand store. For me, raspberries are about as good as berries get. I rank them at the very berry top, the pinnacle of berry perfection. So, of course, my first use of my ice cream maker this season had to be raspberry. Their vibrant fruity flavor is the star here, and they’re so sweet on their own that this recipe doesn’t need much added sugar. Which is exactly how I like it. I mean, if you add minimal sugar, that gives you free rein to add all the chocolate chunks you want!

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Sorbet | KellyintheKitchen| Ingredients: water, sugar, raspberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, chocolate

INGREDIENTS

2 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or substitute half a cup agave nectar if you want to skip a step, see below)
1 lb. (about 4 cups) raspberries (I used fresh, but frozen will work, too)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate, chopped (I used milk chocolate chips. Dark chocolate would also be a great decision.)

DIRECTIONS

If you’re using sugar and not agave nectar, start by combining the water and sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes. In a food processor or blender, blitz the raspberries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar syrup or the agave nctar and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (the longer the better).

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When the mixture has cooled, churn it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. I didn’t actually keep track of how long I churned the sorbet for – it was less than one full episode of LOST…around 25 minutes, probably.

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When the sorbet is thick and churned, it will have a “soft serve” consistency. Pour it into the container you’ll be freezing it in, and stir in the chocolate chunks. Freeze a few hours or overnight.

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When your sorbet is set and frozen, it’s ready to go! Scoop it into pretty cups and tell yourself “This is fruit, it’s fine to have seconds.”

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Sorbet | KellyintheKitchen| Ingredients: water, sugar, raspberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, chocolate

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork.

Pulled pork is legendary. I could probably eat it a few times a week. But its 4-6 hour cooking time can be brutally long, especially on a weeknight, when you’d have to be nuts to attempt it. Four to 6 hours cooking after work means either a midnight meal or a “creative solution,” and that’s what I’ve got for ya here. Complete with its own quick homemade sauce, this one-pot dish cooks on the stove top and is ready to go (even if you’re a slow recipe-maker!) in under an hour. Now of course, this isn’t the same as the 6-hour slow-cooked version, but it’s tender and flavorful and still makes for awesome leftovers the next day. And the day after. And it’s an excuse to eat some of my favs – coleslaw and refried beans!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp butter
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup ketchup
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 lb boneless pork loin roast, cut into 4 pieces

DIRECTIONS

Heat a Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid over medium heat. Melt the butter (plus a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning) and add the onion, cooking until soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and salt and cook another minute, careful not to burn the garlic. Add the cayenne pepper, cumin, and ground coriander. Stir and toast the spices for about a minute.

When the spices are fragrant (and you feel like you might sneeze from the smell of the cayenne pepper), add the ketchup, stock or water, brown sugar, thyme, and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and then add the pork to the pot. Cover the pot and keep at an active simmer for about 25 minutes. I flipped the pieces of pork over halfway through.

When the pork is tender and cooked through, remove it to a plate. Turn up the heat so that the sauce comes to a steady boil and let it bubble away until thickened a bit – I let mine go for about 15 minutes.

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen

Let the meat cool until it’s not too hot to work with, and then shred it with two forks. It won’t shred as easily as the slow-cooked kind—don’t worry, just power through it. Toss the pork in the sauce and serve!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

S’mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers.

Ohmygod these are the best s’mores ever. I don’t even give ’em the ol’ campfire treatment and they’re still the best ever—even in the oven, they’re toasty and good. I’m eating my way through my current batch very very quickly. The crackers have just a bit of ginger and cinnamon—enough to make things interesting—and their texture is different from your average light and crispy graham cracker. They’re a little more crumbly and a little more substantial. Makes for a really nice batch of s’mores! The only problem is keeping enough of the graham crackers around so that I can have one whenever I want. I think this means I have to up my graham cracker production…

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

INGREDIENTS

for graham crackers:
1 cup plus 3 tbsp almond meal (or grind up 1 heaping cup of whole almonds)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp milk
splash of vanilla

to assemble:
jumbo marshmallows
chocolate (I only had chocolate chips in the house, so that’s what I used)

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, pulse together the almond meal, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Then add the maple syrup, molasses, butter, milk, and vanilla and pulse just until the dough comes together. If it’s looking too wet, add a bit of coconut flour and pulse again.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper, press into a flat disc, and wrap in the parchment. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into squares (or whatever shape you want) and lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, use a fork to make some kind of cute little design. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.

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That’s it for the graham crackers! When you’re ready to make the s’mores (which, for me, was immediately), turn the oven up to 400 F. While it preheats, top the graham crackers with chocolate and add a marshmallow to each. I tried sandwich s’mores and the open-faced kind, and open-faced is the way to go. You get double the s’mores goods that way, and still all that toasty marshmallow on top. Pop them in the oven just for a minute or two, until the chocolate has melted and the marshmallows are lightly browned.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

That’s it! Keep the rest of the graham crackers in a sealed container and just repeat the melting process when you’re ready for another s’more. I put them in my cast iron skillet to toast in the oven, and maybe I’m imagining it, but they seem to toast up just perfectly this way.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

Strawberry “Nutri-grain” Snack Bars.

I was traveling for work this week. That meant four nights in a hotel, with – dun dun DUN – no access to a kitchen! And as nice as it is to have the hotel make you breakfast every morning, I am now sick to death of *other people’s* food. I want Kelly food again! After all, who is Kelly if she isn’t in the Kitchen? So to celebrate being home again, I made these snack bars. Snacks might be the worst part of travel food – the standard options are almost always processed, over-salted, and packed with sugar. Gross. These are the opposite of the airport convenience store snacks I ate this week. Strawberry Nurtri-grain-esque snack bars – yay, I’m home!

Strawberry "Nutri-grain" Snack Bars | KellyintheKitchen | 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 1/4 cups almond meal, 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 10 medium-sized strawberries, 1 tbsp honey, pinch salt

INGREDIENTS

for crust:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, melted (or go for coconut oil if you want)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups almond meal
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

for filling*:
10 medium-sized strawberries, washed, dried, stems removed
1 tbsp honey
pinch salt
*if you don’t want to make the filling, just skip this step and use use 1/2 cup pre-made jam.

DIRECTIONS

First, make the crust. Combine maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in almond meal and salt until dough comes together. Refrigerate 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. Use a food processor to totally blitz the strawberries and honey. Transfer the puree to a pan, add salt, and heat over medium low. Bring to a low bubble and stir occasionally. Cook about 15 minutes, until reduced and thickened. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of cooked filling. Put it in the fridge to cool down.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Then take the chilled dough out of the fridge and split it into quarters. Put one quarter on a sheet of parchment paper and put the rest back in the fridge. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, into a long rectangle. Trim the sides so that it’s actually a rectangle and not a free-form wavy-edge shape. Then spread one quarter of the strawberry filling over half of the rectangle.

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Use the parchment paper to gently fold the non-filling half over the filling half, creating a long seam. Cut into bars and use your fingers to pinch the sides closed, so the filling doesn’t leak out (mine did leak out a bit and it really wasn’t a big deal). Carefully move the bars to a baking sheet and put them in the fridge to keep cool while you repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

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Bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the edges are darkened.

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That’s it! These are good right out of the oven, but they’re also super good at room temperature. Make sure to cool them completely before storing in a sealed container; they’re best when eaten within 2-3 days.