Right before I started Whole30 (on day 21, almost there guys!) I wanted to make something dessert-like but nearly paleo so that I could have something stashed away in the freezer for the moment it was over but wouldn’t totally ruin what I’d worked for. I knew that My New Roots would be a good source for these sorts of recipes but didn’t expect for the first recipe that I saw to be the one to get the final vote.
The reason: chocolate
The lack of chocolate in my daily life has been, without a doubt, the hardest part of Whole30. Much of the time I only ever had a piece at work and a small square when I’m watching tv at night but without those little pleasures during my day, I may just go insane soon. I’m sure the past 5 days of strict post-surgery bed rest hasn’t helped the feeling. My dad said I look like Grandpa Joe. It was kinda funny. But hey, if chocolate got him out of bed and good as new, maybe it’ll do the same for me. I guess I’ll find out in 9 days when I get to eat the rest of these cookies. Ah, yes, the cookies.
These are the most deceiving cookies I’ve ever encountered. Despite their texture, which seems to cross the lines of cookie and brownie, despite their pleasant crunchy coating to offset the fudgy center, and despite their deep chocolaty flavor, both earthy and sweet, they are as close to healthy as a cookie could possibly get. But with zero compromises. None!
The main bulk of the cookie comes from a combo of naturally sweet sunflower seed butter and rich dark cocoa powder, hence the name Sun and Moon Cookies. A few eggs hold them all together and they get an extra boost of flavor from some vanilla, salt, maple syrup, and big chunks of dark chocolate (the only ingredient making them non-paleo since it has a smidge of sugar in it). Once this sticky dough comes together, pieces are rolled in a mixture of sunflower seeds and shredded coconut and are baked. The resulting cookie has a really crackly look to it, breaking up the nubbly seed coating with rivets of deep brown. And maybe there’s even some melted chocolate oozing out of the top. Even when Whole30 is gone from my life and I’m back to “normal food” I have no intention removing these from the repertoire, they are seriously that good.
So 9 more days. A long time, it seems, to wait until I get to devour my remaining cookies but I’m hoping it’s all been worth it in the end. But for now I remain as Grandpa Joe-esque as you can get, holding onto that day when chocolate and freedom somehow become the very same. Soon enough.
Sun and Moon Cookies
Makes 18-20 cookies
Adapted very slightly from My New Roots
1 cup smooth unsalted sunflower butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup sifted cocoa powder
¾ cup raw unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk together the sunflower seed butter and the eggs. Add in the vanilla extract. Keep mixing until smooth; you may need to switch over to a wooden spoon at some point.
Stir in salt, baking soda, and syrup and then add in the sifted cocoa powder and chopped chocolate, mixing until smooth.
Combine the sunflower seeds and the coconut in a separate bowl. Use your hands to shape tablespoon-sized balls out of the dough and roll them in the sunflower seed and coconut mixture. You may need to keep your hands damp to keep the dough from sticking. Place the cookies on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes until cracked and set. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cool slightly before eating. These keep well in the freezer for several months or at room temperature for up to a week.