Date-Chocolate-Walnut cookies from Plant-Powered Diet

Indio Date, Walnut, and Dark Chocolate Cookies

These lovely little nuggets of sweet goodness are a perfect example of the richness of a plant-powered diet (recipe below). I learned a ton reading The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today. I’m keeping my review copy for reference for future posts; it’s that packed full of research!

I first met the author Sharon Palmer, RD at the Dole Salad Summit last spring. I was excited to hear she was publishing a book, as I was impressed with her deep knowledge of nutrition and her commitment to healthy living.

Brown Rice Sushi from Plant-Powered Diet

Vegetable Brown Rice Sushi

I have tried the Indio date, walnut, and dark chocolate cookies which are not too sweet and have a shortbread-like texture. The vegetable brown rice sushi was delicious and easier to make than I was expecting, although I would add less water when cooking the rice as it was a bit too sticky. (Sorry for the poor photo; I took them to an evening party). The celery root and apple bisque was much better on the second and third day. I added a little bit of mild curry powder after we ate it on the first day. I think her recipes are creative and I’m confident to make more. Here is the recipe for the cookies, my changes and notes in italics.

Indio Date, Walnut, and Dark Chocolate Cookies
Recipe by Sharon Palmer, RD, author of The Plant-Powered Diet©. Used with permission
Makes 20 cookies (30 if using a 1 T. measure)

Within the desert region of Indio, California, you’ll find an oasis of date palms that has supplied most of dates the in the United States for the past century. I borrow the rich sweetness of dates to flavor my cookies, along with the flavors of walnuts and dark chocolate. Pack these cookies into a lunch box or picnic basket, or serve them with fresh fruit or sorbet the next time you host dinner guests.

1/2 C. (90 g) soft dairy-free margarine spread, at room temperature
1 t. (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 T. (30 ml) honey
1 C. “white” whole wheat flour (I used 1-1/2 C. [205 g] Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking blend plus 1 t. (2 g) psyllium husk fiber)
1/2 C. all-purpose flour (did not use)
1/2 t. (1 g) baking soda
1-1/2 t. (3 g) Ener-G egg replacer
1/2 C. (56 g) finely chopped walnuts
1/2 C. (120 g) diced dates
1/2 C. (75 g) dark chocolate chips or broken dark chocolate pieces
(I added 2 T. [30 ml] filtered water as gluten-free flour tends to absorb a lot of liquid)

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/gas mark 5.

Mix together margarine, vanilla, and honey in a small bowl. (I put them in a stand mixer.)

Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and egg replacer in a separate bowl. (Whisked)

Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and mix well to form a crumbly dough. (stand mixer)

Stir in the walnuts, dates, and chocolate chips. (stand mixer)

Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and place about 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. (I used a 1 T. measure. These did not really spread.)

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. (12 minutes in my oven.)

Note: These cookies store very well in an airtight container in the freezer.

Per cookie:
Calories: 122
Carbohydrate: 16 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g
Total fat: 6 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Sodium: 82 mg
Star nutrients: Magnesium (7% DV), manganese (6% DV)

What I liked about this book:
More than half of the book is nutrition information and background on health, current disease issues, and how a plant-based diet can help. If you have read The South Beach Diet, it’s similar to that. She has chapters on protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, spices, and beverages, as well as exercise, and eating plant-based on the road. She also provides a sample 14-day eating plan, which would be very helpful for people wanting to try it out for two weeks. The recipe section is the last 100 pages, and includes a wide variety of recipes. There are no color photographs in the book.

I wasn’t so keen on:
Two of the recipes included instructions that took me a little while to figure out, like “make walnut-sized balls.” I wasn’t sure if she meant whole walnuts, so I made my best guess and used a one tablespoon measure instead. The celery root and apple bisque had such a subtle flavor on day one that I wouldn’t make it again without the curry powder. People who like to see recipes photographed may be disappointed. Not all recipes are gluten-free, and they are not labeled as such, so you do have to know what to look out for if you are gluten-free.

I recommend this for:
Anyone who has been toying with the idea of going vegan, people dealing with health issues who would like to avoid medication, anyone with a medical background who wants a better grounding in nutrition and the benefits of a plant-based diet.

We’ll be giving away this helpful book on Friday, personally signed for the winner by the author.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available).