Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Ballz

Growing up about eight miles outside the city limits of Bozeman, I would take a half-hour bus ride home each day after school. There was a point on the route where the bus driver could either turn east down Nash Road, adding ten extra minutes to the ride, or head straight south to my hood.

Larry the bus driver rocked a red cowboy hat EVERY DAY. And on the last day before Christmas break, he would dress up like Santa Claus. He drove my bus K-8, and we were homies.

If I managed to finagle the seat behind him, I could lobby incessantly about heading straight south. 'Cause dude, FULL HOUSE WAS STARTING AT 4. If he floored it past those suckers off Nash, I would have time to make cookie dough before the Olsen Twins stole my heart. Again.

Most days Larry would pummel straight south, drop my snotty ass off, and I'd tear into my house like the white-haired banshee brat I was. (No, seriously, I was a demon child. Just ask my brother.)

But the real show, folks, happened before Full House. I'd pretend to be a star on a cooking series, and I'd instruct the audience of billions on how to make the best cookie dough this side of the Mississippi. 

Then I'd eat the whole bowl of raw cookie dough.

Flash forward to today and I'm still a freak for cookie dough. But a few things have changed. I no longer have to claw my brother's eyeballs out for the remote control, and I don't tend to eat entire bowls of cookie dough in one sitting. Partly because that whole metabolism-slowing thing is, well, a thing, and partly because, let's be honest, that's pretty gross. 

Cookie dough is undeniably delicious and I made it my job to figure out how to make it 1) vegan and gluten free, 2) taste as sweet as childhood nostalgia, 3) healthy(ish), and 4) easy to make. 

The results? Olsen twin-status magic. For all you '80s babies out there in the crowd today, this recipe is dedicated to you. 

Cookie Dough Energy Ballz

What You'll Need

Food processor

2 C Dried coconut chips (medium-sized shreds, preferably)

1 C Almond flour

1 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can use regular, but I went for the sugar free variety)

1/2 C Coconut Oil

2 T Maple Syrup

2 t Vanilla

1/4 t Salt

What You'll Do

1. Pulse the coconut chips into a smallish size (about 10-15 pushes of the pulse button). I think it's best if the shreds are between the medium size you start with and the small shreds you could buy at the store. It's a texture thing.

2. Put the pulsed coconut shreds into a bowl and add the almond flour and salt and whisk the dry ingredients together. 

3. Pulse the chocolate chips in the processor to get them a little smaller. This didn't really work for me, so if you can start with mini-chocolate chips then do it! One benefit from pulsing the chips is the residual chocolate *infuses* (super high-tech and totally intentional culinary technique) the wet ingredients. Add the chopped chips to the dry ingredients.

4. In the food processor, blend together the coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla. Push the mush back towards the blades a couple of times with a spatula. (But turn the processor off, for Pete's sake! *See end note.) This will take maybe 10-20 seconds total.

5. Put dry ingredients into processor on top of wet mush. Blend for about 10-20 seconds. 

6. Now you have cookie dough batter.

Roll the dough into about 1" balls. I put my balls in a jar 'cause mason jars are SO HIP RIGHT MEOW. Place the balls in the fridge to…err, harden. Then enjoy the energy of these raw cookie dough delights!

Larry will be happy to know his years of enduring my violent threats, I mean, cute little pleas to head straight south weren't for nothing. 

*End note: One time I put my spatula in the Vitamix, trying to push ingredients down, and when I brought it back out half the head was missing. I thought, oh, I must have burned that off at some point and didn't realize it at the time. (Not even kidding. I'm getting brutally honest here.)

When I took the blender cover off, I saw little yellow dots punctuating my smoothie and the obvious conclusion dawned on me. Then I proceeded to pour the smoothie down the garbage disposal. This proved inane, and I spent the afternoon fishing plastic chunks out of the garbage disposal, all the while imagining my cat rubbing up against the disposal switch. 

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