I have a little (read: huge, out of control) obsession for sea salt. I think it’s because I spent so many years avoiding adding salt to my food because I thought it would bloat me (it doesn’t). I am a recovering salt-avoider and now sprinkle with abandon and own many a variety of sea salt, both fine and flaked.
If you’re wondering when to use one versus the other, reserve flaked sea salt for times when you want the salt to contrast with the dish significantly rather than just bring out the flavors. Flaked salt also melts wonderfully into freshly grilled steak. Steak deserves all the salt you got.
So I rarely bake but when I get the sudden inspiration to do it, I follow that instinct. I had chocolate chips, I had EPIC Pastured Lard, and I had a bag of lonesome almond flour that I haven’t even looked at in I don’t know how long (don’t worry it was unopened and fresh). I thought, “Does the Paleo world really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe?” Then I mused at the irony of that statement.
These cookies are real damn good: chewy, moist (unless you don’t read my tips in this blog post), vanilla-y, childhood memory-y. Clearly I answered “Yes” and here we are now. So I am a terrible baker, especially when following other people’s recipes (???), but I do know intuitively how something should look and feel before it goes in the oven. Cookie dough is easy because it’s supposed to hold together well, be slightly moist, just a wee crumbly, and taste like vanilla fairy babies.
I tested this recipe 3 times, and I’m paying the price today (cookie hangover), so you’re welcome. I don’t eat things unless they taste good, especially dessert, so that’s your insurance for this recipe.
Here is what I learned by sampling from 3 batches:
How to Not F-Up Your Cookies
LARD vs SHORTENING: If you’re using lard for this recipe, expect a cookie with a deeper, richer undertone (a hint of bacon, really), a little denser, and more golden in color. Use softened lard that is at room temperature. You may also need to bake for 9 minutes rather than 8 but just use your eyeballs and nose to make that decision. If you’re using palm shortening, expect a thinner (but not thin), chewier, lighter color cookie that tastes more like traditional bakery chocolate chip cookies. Also use palm shortening at room temperature. If you don’t love the taste of lard, I would go with the palm shortening.
LIGHT VS DARK COOKIE SHEET: I prefer using a light cookie sheet for this recipe. Lighter pans absorb less heat, decreasing the likelihood your cookie will brown too much on the bottom. I find this true even when using parchment paper. Also, don’t you dare skip the parchment paper and DO NOT use aluminum foil. Rookie move.
GAME-TIME DECISION ON THE COCONUT FLOUR: Every brand of coconut flour I tried has a slightly different absorbency which does affect how the cookie turns out. If after adding the 3 (scooped and leveled, not packed) tablespoons of coconut flour, you find the cookie mixture too dry, add 1 teaspoon extra of coconut oil. I cannot control for all the possibilities of coconut flour out in the universe, so if you find your cookie drier than you like, blame the coconut flour and not me. Thanks.
IF YOU INSIST ON USING ALMOND MEAL: Your cookies will be a little chunkier and grainier most likely. Bob’s Red Mill sells both “Almond Meal/Flour” and “Super Fine Almond Flour” <– this is the one you want
DON’T GO TO THE BATHROOM: Don’t take a bathroom break while they are in the oven, even if you think it’s just a quick pee. It may turn into something that requires a longer time commitment and you will bake your cookies 1 or 2 minutes too long. This didn’t happen to me (this time) but I did get distracted looking at pictures of this adorable Asian baby dressed up in the weirdest, coolest baby costumes ever, and ended up with one particularly crispy batch (still delicious, just not what I was going for). When you start to smell the cookies, take a peek. If the edges are a light golden brown, take them out of the oven NOW. Do not wait until they are a medium or deep golden brown unless you like crunchy, crumbly, messy AF cookies.
DON’T USE 100% DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Ew, I did this for one batch. The cookie portion was awesome, but it was more like chalk-alate rather than chocolate. That should cover it, but it probably won’t since baked goods recipes open you up to a whole host of new and odd questions from fellow “non-bakers who like to bake”. “Hi, my cookies turned out purple and they taste like onions. I’m not sure why. Can you tell me?” Throw ’em at me, hopefully I can help! I figured this little guide would be helpful for those who don’t really understand the why’s and how’s of Paleo baking. Because it’s a wild, untamed animal.
Ready for the best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ve ever had!?
Paleo Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/4 cup EPIC lard (room temperature, softened)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons liquid honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fine almond flour
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 3 tablespoons Vital Proteins Collagen (do not use gelatin)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% or higher)
- Flaked Sea Salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, cream together the lard or palm shortening, coconut oil, honey, coconut sugar, and vanilla for 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. It is okay if the coconut sugar does not dissolve.
Add almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, collagen, baking soda, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to the food processor and combine until a smooth ball of cookie dough forms. Be sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the food processor. Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop tablespoon-size rounded mounds onto the cookie sheet, leaving two inches between each cookie. Lightly press down on top of the mound to flatten the top (they should still be at least 3/4-inch tall after doing this, do not flatten!)
Sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Bake on the center rack for 8 minutes, or until the edges are a LIGHT golden brown. Cool slightly until you can safely transfer them to a wire rack on the countertop to finish cooling.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or on the countertop for no more than 48 hours.
NUT FREE: Sub finely ground tigernut flour for the almond flour.
May use palm shortening in place of the lard for slight variation in results.