I love to rely on dates—rich in fiber and phytochemical compounds—to offer natural sweetness to baked goods, such as breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies. It’s a good thing to reduce your consumption of added sugars, such as white sugar, cane sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, in your diet.
And turning to dates for sweetening power is a good strategy.
Skimming Refined Ingredients
In this recipe, I take a classic chocolate chip cookie and seriously skim the refined sugar by sweetening it with a small amount of agave nectar and a generous dose of diced dates. I’ve also turned to white whole grain flour—a milder form of wheat with all of the nutritional benefits of whole grain flour, as well as walnuts and dark chocolate to add a rich flavor and additional nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and polyphenols linked with heart health.
Using Egg Replacers in Baking
These cookies are also dairy- and egg-free, making them suitable for vegans or those suffering from allergies. While it’s easy to replace dairy in baking by substituting dairy-free ingredients, such as dairy-free margarine spread and plant-based milk, it can be a bit trickier to replace eggs.
Eggs have a long culinary use in leavening, binding, structure, and texture in baked goods. When you add eggs to recipes, such as cookies, they can provide needed structure, height, softness, and moisture. Thus, learning about baking substitutes for eggs can require a bit of know-how.
Fortunately, many new products for replacing eggs have come on the market in recent years. One that has been around the longest is Ener-G egg replacer, which I used in this cookie recipe. Made from tapioca starch, this egg replacer is mixed in with liquid in order to replace the structural characteristics of eggs in baking.
Other egg replacers include the VeganEgg (by Follow Your Heart), which is made from an algae-based, gluten-free flour and The Vegg, which is made from nutritional yeast. Look for these products in natural food stores or online. You can even replace eggs in baked goods with chia seeds, which creates a gel-like consistency when combined with water.
Here’s the full recipe: Indio Date, Walnut, and Dark Chocolate Cookies (Dairy-free, Egg-free)
This delicious cookie recipe is a great alternative to traditional cookies made with highly refined ingredients you’ll find in most supermarket shelves. Pack them into a lunch box or picnic basket, or serve them with fresh fruit or sorbet the next time you host dinner guests.
Here’s the full recipe: Date, Walnut and Dark Chocolate Cookies
Thanks to Sharon Palmer, RDN, for guest blogging.
Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, is an award-winning food and nutrition expert, journalist, and editor. She is author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012) and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014). Sharon also is editor of Environmental Nutrition, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, blogger for The Plant-Powered Blog, and publisher of her monthly The Plant-Powered Newsletter. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting her local farmers market, gardening, and cooking for friends and family.