I have a new love in my life and his name is chocolate.  It's crazy, I know, but for years I hated chocolate. I thought it too rich, too sweet and would pick around the chocolate chunks of my cookies. Can you believe that?! Then something happened. Maybe I was struck by lightning, maybe my hormonal needs have changed as I approach, ehem 30, or maybe I just wised up. Either way this new found love has me smitten, and like any destructive relationship I am forced to find a healthier way to indulge. Enter power cookie.

I can have a chocolate cookie if its packed with fiber, protein and omega 3's right? YES! So I did.

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies Adapted from My New Roots

Yield: 12 cookies

INGREDENTS

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature

1/3 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup agave (or maple syrup, honey)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

cayenne pepper, for sprinkling (optional)

Recipe subs: If you don’t have coconut oil or chia seeds, you can try butter and eggs, respectively, instead (although you should really just invest in those delicious ingredients!).

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Place beans, coconut oil, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add maple syrup and chia mixture and pulse to incorporate. Remove blade from the food processor and fold in the chocolate and cherries.

Use a tablespoon to measure cookie batter onto lined baking sheet. Use about 1.5 tablespoons of batter per cookie for 12 medium cookies. Nudge the batter into the approximate shape you want with your fingers, including flattening the top of cookies slightly, as they will barely spread when baking. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cayenne, if desired.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops of the cookies start to look slightly dry and the edges start to look taut and almost crisp. Cook for less time if you want a fudgier consistency. Cool before eating. Store in the fridge.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 16 evenly distributed dollops of batter. Bake for around 10 minutes (the cookies should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Place the saved black beans on top. Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve with fresh almond milk.