Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Pot Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice

Coconut milk and I have a sort of love affair. We met later in life after years dating that boring old skim milk, which my parents totally approved of. Skim milk, parents? Seriously? Thank goodness we don't do arranged marriages in this country. I haven't seen skim milk in ages and I don't intend to ever again (his handsome older brother, cream, well, that's another story; and raw whole milk and I are totally friends). But anyway, enough metaphors with sordid milk references. This recipe is seriously good. The chicken's great. The rice is great--coconut rice, where have you been all my life?. It's a one-pot meal that's fairly easy to put together. The coconut milk gives it a creamy, hint-of-sweet,-while-still-feeling-wholesome-and-good kind of taste, which I love.

Here's what you do:

One Pot Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice
Adapted from The Bad Girl's Kitchen (which adapted it from Everyday Food)
Serves 6-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Cost: $8.65 (that's about $.86/serving)
chicken: 6.00, curry powder: .25, garlic: .10, onion: .20, tomato paste: .10, coconut milk: 1.50, rice: .50

Note: I halved this as I do with many new recipes. It made plenty for our family, but we're not huge eaters. If you guys are big eaters or have older kids, make the full recipe. Halving it made it easier to cook the chicken all at once and reduced the cooking time somewhat for the recipe. I liked that.

Note on chicken: You can use a whole chicken cut up or dark or light meat; I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts because Kip likes them better and because they cook faster than chicken on the bone.

4 lb chicken
4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (ours was closer to 1/4)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive)
5 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp minced garlic (about a 3 inch piece)
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 C rice (I used boring old white)
1 can coconut milk (the cheap stuff is okay in this recipe)
2 C water
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350. Toss chicken with curry powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (what I used) or another oven-safe pot (with an oven-safe lid). Cook chicken until browned on all sides. It should be nearly done, though it doesn't have to be cooked entirely through because you'll be cooking it more. Note: If you want this meal faster, cut your chicken into strips or pieces. If you have large breasts, thighs or whatever (by which I mean not you personally, but the chicken with whom you have chosen to work), it could add an extra 30 minutes of cooking time to this recipe. So if you want a 45-minute meal, then cut your meat into strips.

While your chicken is cooking, grate/mince your garlic, ginger, and onion (I always grate my onions because Kip hates big pieces of it. Then I can grate the ginger too).

Remove chicken and set on a plate. In the remaining oil/drippings (add more oil if you need to), cook your onion for 5-6 minutes or until it's translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Add tomato paste and stir till combined. Add rice, coconut milk, and stir. Add 2 cups water. Stir to combine. [Note: This makes a lightly coconut-flavored rice. If you want more coconut, try using 2 cans coconut milk and 1 C water. I haven't tried this, but fully intend to the next time I make this because I heart coconut.]

Bring this to a boil.

Reduce to simmer. Put chicken on top of rice. [Note: If your chicken has the skin on, place it with skin side up.] Cover with a lid and put in your oven for another 20-30 minutes (again--I halved the recipe--if you're making this full recipe, it could take longer--I'm guessing 40 minutes).  [Another Note: Want to decrease your cooking time? If your chicken is nearly cooked through anyway, let the rice simmer covered for a couple minutes stove top. Then add chicken and add it all to the oven. Could you do it all stovetop? Um, probably, but I haven't, so I can't make promises.] You want to cook it until the liquid is absorbed into the rice and the chicken is cooked through (160-165 degrees).

Remove from oven, add salt to taste, and serve garnished with cilantro. I suppose you should serve this with a vegetable on the side if you are a good person and whatnot, though I cannot entirely promise that we did this. I think peas would be a nice compliment, though if we ate a veggie with it, it was probably broccoli.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Optional (but Awesome) Nutella Filling

I'll have you all know that I've officially (and completely) fallen off my soap box about how I hate people putting Nutella in everything. To continue to pretend that Nutella should not be put into everything would be to live a lie. I mean why on earth do Europeans eat in on bread for breakfast--because it should clearly be put into everything. Except possibly Brussels sprout gratin or tomato soup. I've put it in pumpkin muffinsrollssmoothies, and made chocolate cookies from it. I really thought that putting it in a cookie that already contains melty chocolate chips really might be putting it over the top (and, yes, I suppose it kind of is over the top), but in a good way--not in an obnoxious way. I also thought that the hazelnutty taste might be off-putting to me, but it was very subtle. What you end up with is a cookie that you bite into and it's like you got a nice glob of melty chocolate chip in the middle. Only a little different. And the next day the glob is still soft and chewy. And while we're using the word 'glob' let me point out that it's not globby at all; it's just a little something extra and good and soft and chocolatey, well, awesome.

These cookies are divine out of the oven and amazing the next day.

And let's talk about just the cookie--the cookie sans the Nutella. It's still completely ridiculously good. It's my new favorite chocolate chip cookie. (I'm a total cookie floozy just so you know--I'm always looking for the next better one.) In fact, while I love chocolate chip cookies, I tend to make them every so often and be good with that. I like to mix it up, try different treats. But lately I've been a wee bit obsessed with these--I just keep making them and then wanting them again and then making them again. It's kind of a problem. I admit that I have another browned butter chocolate chip cookie recipe on this site and it's good too, but I'm going to have to admit here and publicly that today's cookie (even without the Nutella) is just better. I'm sorry other browned butter cookie, but it's true. Today's cookie has a rich flavor (I find that many chocolate chip cookies are good, but not very complex tasting), a perfect (in my opinion) texture--which to me means a tiny bit of a crisp edge or bottom with a perfectly chewy middle. You can add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top (highly recommended) and that adds another layer of depth and awesomeness to this cookie. It's just really really good.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Optional Nutella Filling
adapted from Ambitious Kitchen (thank you thank you thank you)
makes 36 unstuffed and fewer stuffed
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Cost: $3.60-$4.00 (that's about $.10/cookie people)
flour: .30, butter: 1.00, brown sugar: .35, sugar: .05, eggs: .10, chocolate chips: 1.80, nutella: .40

Note: I've seriously made these several times now and there are 2 caveats. 1) To get a perfect cookie, you've got to follow the recipe perfectly. I'm not saying you have to weigh your flour or anything. But if you leave out the egg yolk it will change slightly; if you don't use dark brown sugar it will change slightly; if you leave out the yogurt, it will change slightly. I'm not saying it will be ruined--it will still be very good, but it won't be quite as utterly perfect as it will be if you follow the recipe. The second caveat 2) is that this require a little tiny bit of patience. I know--who needs that instruction for a chocolate chip cookie. But if you make these with HOT browned butter, the chocolate chips will melt and it'll be a little different. Also, if you let the dough wait for 2 hours as instructed, you will just have a better cookie--you will.

2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I like it a bit coarse and chunky, but you don't have to)
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Greek yogurt (or 1 Tbsp sour cream)
2 C chocolate chips
several tablespoons Nutella (or a nice generic version)

Brown your butter. To do this, put the butter in a pot. You can set it on low and wait 30-45 minutes (and swirl it every so often) for it to gently brown while you clean your kitchen. Or you can set it at medium or medium high and keep a close eye on it. It will froth and bubble and you should whisk it often so you know when it is actually browning (the froth won't brown till it's super burned if you don't mix it). This is my favorite way. It's much faster, but really--you've got to watch it and whisk it. Your butter is browned when it--wait for it--becomes brown. This will happen on the bottom while the top is a cheerful pale yellow froth so mix or whisk it so you can see the bottom. Also, it will smell nutty and divine. If it doesn't smell nutty it's not browned yet.

As soon as your butter is browned, remove it from heat and pour it into a bowl (that can handle hot butter). You want to do this because it will continue to cook in the pan and it will burn, so put it elsewhere and let it cool off so it's not cool, but it's not hot either--lukewarm is what we're after here.

Mix the butter with the sugars until thoroughly blended. Add the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.  All you need for this is a good old fashioned wooden spoon. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add chocolate chips. If you're a dough taster, taste this stuff because it is the best dough you'll ever taste.

Let the dough sit for 2 hours in the fridge (oh, the cruelty--I know, but your texture will be so much better).

Now if you're just going to make regular cookies, roll the dough into balls (I like rolling my cookies--it gives a less airy texture and makes a perfectly round cookie).  If desired add some sea salt. I love this in this cookie--the browned butter and brown sugar give it caramel overtones and then to add the sea salt--it just really works.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are just browning. (

If adding Nutella, flatten your cookie, add a small plop of Nutella (or generic hazelnut spread, which is actually sometimes firmer and easier to work with). Then wrap the cookie around the Nutella. Add a little more dough if necessary to cover the Nutella completely. Note: In general in my life, I usually make small cookies so I can justify them in my life. However, these can't be made too small. Sorry. You'll have to find another way to justify them in your life (like their awesomeness). These tend to be about 2-3 inch balls when done. Just accept that you just made a huge cookie stuffed with Nutella and try to move on with your life.

Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes (or until bottoms are browning. Tops may still be fairly fair; that's okay).


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

Okay, so apparently I'm just going to hurl sweets at you until you give up and gain 400 pounds (I haven't even gotten to the Nutella filled chocolate chip cookies yet). Yeah, I don't know what my problem is either. My only suggestion is that you take it to a party in order to unload your (my) bad habits on your unsuspecting friends. If that doesn't work, I should tell you this freezes very well so you can try to hide it from yourself in the depths of your freezer. Until you really really need it of course. But by then your husband/kids may have pillaged it out of your freezer hiding spot, so you've got to watch your back with these things.

In all honesty, I've had a little bee in my bonnet for a good peanut butter cake for a long time. However, peanut butter can be tricky to bake with. For whatever reasons it will often dry a cake out faster than a sandy picnic. Yet when I saw the picture for this in a little cookbook called Eat Dessert First there was a picture and that picture sure didn't look dried out. Now those cookbook pictures can be a little deceiving (don't get me started) so I was still a little wary, but this cake was awesome. It was moist and dense--almost brownie like while still being cake. 

I was worried that the peanut butter cake and peanut butter frosting would be just too much peanut butter, so I added a drizzle of chocolate ganache, which I think was just the thing. You could even try a drizzle of strawberry glaze or jam for a PBJ effect, or you could try serving this with strawberry ice cream or whipped cream and strawberries or, well, yes you could go nuts with the whole PBJ theme. 

Now go forth and gaineth 12,000 pounds. Or go forth and causeth your friends to gaineth 12,000 pounds. Or hideth this from yourself so your husband gaineth 12,000 pounds. Or, really, just try to be a little moderate and enjoy the darn thing.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache
adapted from Eat Dessert First
Makes one 10x15 inch pan (or a 9x13 inch and a few cupcakes)
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $4.00
cake: sugar: .30, flour: .30, eggs: .20, sour cream: .60, peanut butter: .60,
icing: butter: .25, peanut butter: .60, milk: .05, confectioner's sugar: .50
ganache: chocolate chips: .50, milk: .05

For Cake:

2 C sugar
2 C flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 C sour cream
2/3 creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 C butter
1 C water

For Icing:
1/2 C butter
2/3 C creamy or crunchy peanut butter
6 Tbsp milk
2 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For ganache:

1/2 C chocolate chips
several Tbsp milk

For cake: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, combine sugar and flour.

In medium bowl mix eggs, baking soda, and sour cream. Set aside. In small saucepan, combine peanut butter, butter, and water. Bring to a boil. Add boiled mixture to flour mixture and mix. Stir in egg/sour cream mixture.

Pour into greased 15x10 inch sheet cake pan. (Note: I didn't have this size pan and I didn't want to put my math hat on and change the measurements, so I used a 9x13, poured a thin layer of cake and then set a couple cups of batter aside and made several cupcakes--about 6 with the leftover batter.)

Bake 20 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean (mine took a little longer than 20 minutes).

For icing:

Combine butter, peanut butter, and milk in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Stir until thicken and pour over cake while cake is warm. (Note: Mine was too thick to be exactly pourable, so I spread it--all was still right with the world.

Once it had cooled, I made a simple chocolate ganache by microwaving 1/2 C or so of chocolate chips with a couple Tbsp milk. I microwaved at 30 second intervals, stirring until it was combined and thick (if not thick add a few more chocolate chips), let it cool for a few minutes, and then drizzled this over top.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Death by Chocolate Mousse--Potentially Paleo

No. Really. This is seriously seriously rich. It can also be very very dark (but you can lighten it up if you want by using semi-sweet or possibly even milk chocolate chips).

It is surprisingly not coconut-y. There's a hint of it to be sure, but just a faint faint hint. If you want more coconut, you can add some coconut extract or top that whipped cream with some shredded coconut. Or you could whip the thick part of a can of coconut and make coconut cream and top it with that. Kip doesn't like coconut, so I was glad that that flavor wasn't too intense.

The best thing about it is that it is so so so stupidly easy to make. Sometimes I think that I should have called this blog "Stupidly Easy" instead of "The Tasty Cheapskate." (Seriously, we're looking at 5 minutes plus chill time.)

Or maybe the best thing about it is that it could be considered somewhat virtuous as a dessert--dark chocolate and coconut milk. It's gluten-free and can be paleo, dairy-free or vegan if you use vegan chocolate chips.

Or maybe the best thing is that a very very little can be satisfying. I poured this into four 4-oz ramekins. I wish I'd poured it into 8 miniature vessels of some type (I'm thinking Chinese-style tea cups would have been gorgeous).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Death by Chocolate Mousse
adapted from The Darling Bakers
Serves 4-8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Chill time: At least an hour
Cost: $1.70 (or about $.42/serving)
coconut milk: .75, chocolate chips: .80, egg: .10, other stuff: .05

Note: Doubling would be nice since then you could use a larger blender and a can of coconut milk instead of a partial can. Just keep in mind that this dessert is intense and filling.

Note on chocolate chips: I used 60% Ghiradelli chips and got a very dark final result (I looove dark chocolate.) I think this was intended for semi-sweet chips and I even think that milk chocolate chips would work great.

Note on extracts: I'm sure you could use some type of orange (probably even a Tbsp or two of orange juice) or raspberry or even mint as well, but I didn't want any flavors that would detract from the chocolate.

2/3 C coconut milk
1 C chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
good pinch sea salt

Heat coconut milk to near-boiling (I did this in microwave).

Meanwhile blend chocolate chips, egg, and extracts in blender (it'll kind of chop the chips small and beat that egg a bit). Note: With such a small amount you'll likely need a smaller blender. I used my Magic Bullet and that worked. I'm not sure a large blender would work with the small amounts.

When your coconut milk is nice and super hot, pour it into the blender. I was worried it might lump the egg up, but it totally didn't. Pulse, then blend until it's smooth and creamy.

Pour into your tiniest, cutest dishes and let chill.

After it's cool, you can top it with homemade whipped cream or homemade whipped coconut cream.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coconut Granola

This month for Secret Recipe Club, I had The Bad Girl's Kitchen. Run by Min, it actually invites other bloggers to post things as well.

I chose the Coconut Granola because I love love love both coconut and granola (tonight I might make the curried chicken with coconut rice, so clearly I have coconut issues). The granola is pretty basic, but it uses extra coconut and coconut oil as the fat. By the time you're done mixing, your hands will smell like angel breath because, ah, coconut and vanilla and nut. I mean, even if you hate to eat all those things (and, seriously, who are you), it still smells awesome.

A word on coconut oil: The new health darling is cold-pressed, extra-virgin, organic awesomeness. It smells like coconut and infuses a coconuty flavor into things. The cheaper coconut oils are fine to use, but they won't be as coconut-y as their healthier, better-quality brothers.

Coconut Granola
adapted from The Bad Girl's Kitchen
makes a whole heck of a lot (about 10-11 cups)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Cost: $5.50
oatmeal: .60, nuts: 2.00, fruit: 1.00, coconut: .75, honey: .50, coconut oil: .55 (guessing here; not sure), other stuff: .10

Note: I halved this and just used 1 pan.

Note: If you like your granola sweeter, you might want to up the honey to 3/4 C.

Note on coconut: If you really love the stuff, I'd go ahead and use even more; it's just good.

6 C oatmeal
1 C chopped nuts (I used cashews and almonds
1 C dried fruit (chop it if it's big--I used some dates, some figs, and some cranberries)
1 C dried coconut (I used raw/dried, but the store bought stuff will work too and make it a little sweeter)
1/2 C honey
1/2 C coconut oil (melted)
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In large bowl combine oats, nuts, dried fruit, and coconut.

In microwave-safe bowl, combine honey, melted coconut oil, and dark brown sugar. Heat in microwave until sugar melted. Stir in vanilla.

Pour wet over dry and stir well. It takes a minute or two--you want all the dry parts to get some of the good wet stuff, so take your time and use your hands if need be (they'll smell awesoooommme).

Spread onto two baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes. Mix. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. After that, check it at five minute intervals.

Remove from oven when it's a lovely golden brown.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Pecans, and Goat Cheese

January has been a slightly schizophrenic food month for me in which I have haphazardly skipped from intensely healthy foods to intensely indulgent ones. This one goes in the healthy camp since it's basic element is a nice, healthy vegetable. However, I'm sure there would be those who would argue that pecans, goat cheese, and maple syrup don't really deserve fully healthy billing. I'm not going to quite give it to them because the boiled unsalted unbuttered Brussels sprouts of the world are just the type of sin that has made the universe hate this completely delicious vegetable. Last week when I had some friends over for lunch, I asked them if they wanted Sunday supper or a warm Brussels sprouts salad. Yeah, they chose the Sunday supper. And while I don't blame them for this (because Sunday supper is amazing), I have a feeling that they didn't really know what they were missing out on by passing up the Brussels sprouts. It felt kind of like I'd asked them, "Hey, do you want this cracker that just dropped on the floor and got stepped on or these Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies that just came out of the oven?" They smiled politely when I asked about the Brussels sprouts, but I sensed the terror in their eyes--"Is she really going to make us eat Brussels sprouts for the lunch she invited us to." And Brussels sprouts deserve better feelings than that. Way better. Also, I should point out that this awesome salad is more than just a salad--it is a perfect little well-rounded meal complete with protein and calcium. Also, even though it calls for all kinds of indulgent and potentially expensive ingredients, you use just a bit of each to create a really decadent, fabulous vegetable dish without breaking the bank. I could eat it every day.

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Pecans, and Goat Cheese
adapted from Rachel Schultz
Serves 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cost: $3.20
brussels sprouts: 2.00, cranberries: .30, pecans: .50, goat cheese: .30, other: .10

Note: This is fairly adaptable. You could use walnuts instead of pecans or even probably pine nuts to good effect. You could use feta or blue cheese instead of the goat cheese (any softish, spunky-ish cheese will do). Also, I used dried cranberries (that I threw in near the end), but the original recipe called for fresh, which she cooked with the brussels sprouts so they would burst and shrivel a bit on their own. So feel free to use what you've got.

Note: I halved this recipe (and then ate it all myself, yes, I did). If you make the full recipe, be sure you've got enough space in your pan that your brussels sprouts are all in more or less one layer on the pan.

Note: Yes, I did just use "handful" as a measurement and, no, that's not fair. My hand holds about 1/4-1/3 C of stuff, but seriously, this is a very adaptable recipe, so don't get too caught up in exact measurements.

1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered (and with ends and any wilty-ish leaves removed)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (yes, balsamic is definitely best, though you could probably get away with something else)
1 Tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 handful dried cranberries
1 handful pecans (lightly chopped or in pieces)
1 handful crumbled goat cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add Brussels sprouts and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally. Let them get some golden or even brown color to them. This is important. Do not fear the brown edges.

When they're browned and delicious, add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Stir. Add in pecans and cranberries and stir, letting cook for another minute or two.

Take off heat and add the cheese. Taste and add salt if necessary. Eat it. Oh, it's so good.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Peanut Butter (and Almond) Cookies--Raw and Vegan and Gluten-Free and Awesome

I could have called these sugar free as well. Because they use dates instead of sugar. But I'm tired of going to all those recipes that say "SUGAR FREE!!!" only to find that the recipe uses 1 1/2 C of maple syrup or something (I'm sorry, but I do not count maple syrup/honey/agave as sugar free; maybe refined-sugar free, but seriously people--maple syrup is not sugar free). So anyway, I thought I'd spare you the hype. Still, come on, a cup of dates is totally better than a cup of maple syrup or honey or agave or, yes, sugar.

These were delicious. They could be eaten for breakfast. But guess what? I didn't tell my kids that and I didn't make them for breakfast. I made them for dessert. And then fed them to my kids for dessert. And my kids ate them as a dessert. And never even questioned whether or not they were really dessert material (because they totally rocked). And if there's something in the food world that really makes me happy, it's a cookie that can pass for breakfast AND dessert.

These are raw, though if you use toasted nuts, they'll turn out fine too. They're gluten free. They're vegan, but I'm not vegan so I don't post a vegan recipe unless I find it pretty incredible. They're fabulously satisfying. They're not crispy on the edges or low-cal because you read the parts about them being raw and containing peanut butter right. So we won't fault them too much.

These are also easy to make. Although you do need a good food processor to make them--one capable of processing nuts and handling the sticky dates. (It's possible that a nice blender could also work, but I don't have one so I can't promise anything.)

Note for those who want their brains to twist in a knot with overmuch detail: I made these by combining everything but the dates and then adding the dates in and processing. However, the dates made it clump up in a motor-threatening sticky ball where the dates were still big and clumpy. So I ended up taking out half the dough and processing, then putting the other half in and processing. Then combining the two. If I did it again, I'd process the nut parts, then take them out and process the dates. Then add the nuttish-butter back in. I think this would work better for getting the dates all chop-mashed up and then incorporating the other ingredients into the smooth texture you want. However, below I'm going to give instructions for how I actually did it since I know it works, even if you do have to do things in batches.

Peanut Butter Cookies--Raw, Vegan, Gluten-free
adapted from A House in the Hills
makes 12-15 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cost: $2.65 (about $.22/cookie)
almonds: 1.00, peanut butter: .50, dates: .75, chocolate chips: .40

1 C raw almonds (I used regular non-raw almonds)
1/2 C peanut butter
1 C pitted dates (be sure there are NO pits)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 handful chocolate chips if you want to throw raw, veganism to the wind (preferably dark--yum)

Put almonds in food processor. Pulse and pulse and pulse until they're chopped enough to process. It's loud at first, so brace yourself. Eventually the nuts will be not quite a nut butter, but getting there--incredibly chopped and starting to stick together and release a few oils. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and pulse then process until it's combined and pretty smooth.

At this point, I added my dates and they just seemed to clog up the food processor (made a big sticky ball) without ever getting sufficiently chopped up. So I took out half the batter and then was able to process what I had until it was a smooth, dough-like concoction. I took that half out and did the other half of the dough. Then I combined the two. (Note: As stated above, I think that if you processed your nuts and dates separately, then combined them you wouldn't have this problem, but I haven't tried it yet, so I'm going with what I did do.)

Take dough out and add chocolate chips. Or skip them (because this is raw and vegan, right). You can add a sprinkle of sea salt on each cookie, which I think would be amazing, but I wasn't sure how well the minions would react, so I took the low road and added dark chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and press with a fork. Or just eat as clumps like some type of paleo monster.



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