Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies from “Peace, Love & Fibre”
“Dear Canadians, Fibre not only keeps you regular, it lowers your chances of developing breast cancer and heart disease. Add a salad to your day, eat a handful of nuts, switch to whole grains, eat some beans! Signed Your Body” – Mairlyn Smith.
That tweet by my dear friend Mairlyn Smith summarizes her important, timely and uplifting message in her new and eighth book “Peace, Love & Fibre.”
Mairlyn is a popular Canadian TV personality, prolific cookbook author, nutrition-oriented home economist, former Second City comedian and darn good cook. She describes herself as “putting humour into healthy.” And she does it well. (Check out our podcast from a few years ago here.)
What’s more, she is on the cutting edge of the latest science. A recent article published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet reporting on a study commissioned by the World Health Organization confirms that fibre is the dietary key to a healthy life.
Mairlyn puts it succinctly and in clear language: “My book is a love letter to your colon.” Having made six recipes from it – all six were easy and produced delicious results – my palate and digestive tract thank her.
I now make her fibre-rich Snack Bars to have on hand – dense, date-based bars laced with barley flour, oat bran, rolled oats, cocoa and chocolate chips – and to keep me regular.
Her Lemon Ricotta Pancakes make a tasty breakfast dish or light lunch and include barley flour, flaxseed and a side of fresh or frozen fruit.
Chicken and Chickpea Curry has the perfect blend of Indian spices and incorporates fresh ginger, sweet potato, peas and coconut milk.
Mairlyn has inspired me to pack my repertoire with fibre – and it’s easy. I often make a salad with canned mixed beans combined with chopped bell peppers, cucumbers and other veggies and tossed in a home-made or store-bought vinaigrette. I eat an apple or other fruit between meals. And I have a “Mairlyn section” of my pantry stocked with rolled oats, barley flour and flaxseed meal for baking.
“Peace, Love & Fibre” joins my favourite cookbooks on the shelf in my kitchen. And my colon thanks you, my dear friend Mairlyn. So will you.
Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies
There are several recipes for high-fibre cookies in Peace, Love & Fibre. Here’s the delicious one I made. You may have to visit the health food store or a supermarket with a good baking section for barley flour and/or flaxseed meal – but it’s worth the effort. In a pinch, if you can’t find flaxseed meal, you can make it by grinding the whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder. I found packaged semi-sweet chocolate chunks at my local supermarket. I’ve taken certain little liberties with Mairlyn’s recipe for ease of preparation.
6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate or storebought chocolate chunks
1½ cups wholegrain barley flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.
Between sheets of parchment paper, bash chocolate with a hammer until in small chunks. Or use store-bought chocolate chunks, about 1¼ cups.
In medium bowl, whisk together barley flour, flaxseed meal and baking soda.
In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer or in stand mixer, cream butter until it turns pale yellow. Add brown sugar; beat until blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add granulated sugar; beat until blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat until mixture turns a lighter beige. Gently stir in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Using 1-tablespoon ice cream scoop, drop dough on to baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Cookies will spread. Bake 10 to 11 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; let cookies cool. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Makes about 30 cookies.