Renée’s Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flaky Salt: A Lush Life Style
Renée calls this chocolate chip cookie recipe her superpower. And, I couldn’t agree more.
But wait… let’s back up! I’m sure you’re wondering who Renée is!
A few years ago, I was the digital media editor at Culinaire magazine in Calgary, and through the experience, I got to know Renée Kohlman (@sweetsugarbean), one of the contributors, and her fabulous cooking, baking and photography skills. Her recipes always inspired me and I was secretly intrigued because she lives in Saskatoon where I have family and spent many summers. After I left the magazine (Stay tuned… I’ll be writing for them again soon!), I kept tabs on Renée through social media and her blog, drooling over every picture and recipe she posted – hoping we could meet one day.
This last spring, Renée released her first cookbook, All The Sweet Things. I was so excited to get my hands on it that when a local bookstore in town accidentally put it on their shelves a few days early, I grabbed my wallet and pranced to the store. Book in hand, I came home and started reading Renée’s wonderful stories, anecdotes and recipes — laughing, crying and reminiscing because I connected with each of them. One of the first pages has a Dolly Parton quote… and I <3 Dolly! While my heart warmed over each word, I was even more taken aback by Renée’s luscious photography skills. She shoots all her photos on her iPhone, just like me! When I made my first recipe out of All The Sweet Things, the Dark Chocolate and Cherry Energy Bars, and posted the photo on Instagram, Renée replied she had a feeling this would be the recipe I gravitated to! At this point, I knew I had to meet the amazing woman behind the cookbook and blog, and give her all my love and gratitude in person.
Luckily, I knew I would be spending a bit of time in Saskatoon this summer so I contacted Renée and we set up a coffee date. As I sat swirling my iced latte at one of Saskatoon’s newest cafés, Venn, I was nervous! It felt like I was meeting a long lost friend, but at the same time, I wanted to make a good first impression on someone I admire. Well, all my worries drifted away as soon as Renée arrived because she is just as lovely as all of her recipes. We chatted about our journeys, baking, writing, and how we became connected in this crazy world. When I told her I made her “superpower” chocolate chip cookies and added my own super food spin on them to fit my dietary needs, she graciously gave me her blessing to share her recipe with my ingredient additions!
So what super food additions did I add? Coconut sugar, maca and lucuma!
Coconut sugar: I’m on a low to no sugar diet (Keeping it real… it’s hard!), so I’ve been experimenting with sugar alternatives. Luckily, the less you feed your sweet tooth, the fewer cravings you have. So, in all recipes try lowering the amount of sugar you’re adding. However, I’m still a baker and foods still need to be balanced! One benefit to coconut sugar is that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels as fast as white sugar does – it has a lower glycemic index making it a slightly better choice. It’s still sugar… but a decent swap if you’re cutting the white stuff out. I also like that it contains potassium. Fun fact: It’s made from the sap of flower buds from coconut palm trees, not coconuts themselves!
Maca: Maca is the powdered form of the Peruvian plant known for enhancing energy levels and brain health while balancing hormones. I love adding it to recipes (Smoothies in particular!) because it has a butterscotch taste and added health benefits of fatty and amino acids. Maca is also known as an adaptogen, which in the health world means it helps your body fight stressors. Nutrient wise, it contains Vitamin B1 and B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sulphur, sodium, and iron.
Lucuma: I raved about using lucuma in my Cherry Almond Honey Muffins and used it again in this recipe as an added sweetener with a low glycemic index and because of it’s vanilla/caramel taste. Lucuma, like maca, also comes from Peru (Peru is where it’s at these days for super foods!) and is a fruit. Here we get it in powdered form where it is known for its iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus content.
Before I leave you with this superpower, super food recipe, I have one more tidbit to tell you. I gushed to Renée about how I adored the fluffy texture of these cookies and she gave me a quick tip if fluffy cookies aren’t your thing: Tap the baking sheets on a counter a few times as soon as they are out of the oven to deflate them!
Superpowers, super foods and now super tricks!
Renee’s Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flaky Salt
(Reprinted with permission from Renée Kohlman)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar + 1 cup sugar A Lush Life swap: 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- A Lush Life addition: 1/3 cup maca powder
- A Lush Life addition: 1/3 cup lucuma powder
- 3 eggs
- A Lush Life addition: ¾ cup milk
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups dark chocolate chunks (A Lush Life tip: Use chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar!)
- Flaky salt (or sea salt) for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. The butter will froth and bubble then turn golden. (It’s ok to give it a bit of a stir). When it starts to brown and smell nutty, remove it from the heat. Let it cool down so it’s barely warm.
3) Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, maca and lucuma in a medium bowl. With a mixer, beat the liquid butter with the coconut sugar on high speed for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in all the eggs at once on high speed for one minute then mix in the milk and vanilla. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
4) Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
5) Stir in the chocolate chunks.
6) If you have time to wait, chilling the dough for 30 minutes ensures a crispy edge with a still-gooey middle, but it’s not essential.
7) Using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop, drop mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets 3 inches apart. Lightly flatten the tops a little with your hand and sprinkle with salt.
8) Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (Renée’s suggested times are 7-9 minutes for soft cookies and 10-11 minutes for crispy cookies). Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
9) The cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. The cookie dough can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, and frozen cookie dough balls can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month.