Raw cacao nib cookies

Raw cacao nib cookies

There’s a certain level of responsibility that people expect from you as an adult. Even more responsibility when you’re an adult in a relationship with another adult. And even more (can you imagine?) when you’ve been in a relationship with aforementioned adult for five years. FIVE YEARS. You know what I’m talking about. Questions of marriage, and when we’re going to settle down and buy a house and make tiny monsters with skinny bodies and blah blah blah I CAN’T HEAR YOU. These questions make me extremely uncomfortable. They make my heart palpate and cause my hands to sweat excessively. These questions are the bane of my existence when all I want to do is fall asleep at night, but my brain keeps trying to figure out our place in this world.
I picture two lives for Thom and I. Him as a professor, me as a stay at home wife. We wear our wedding bands on our right hands because we’re both lefties. It confuses people. We have a loft in the city, similar to what we have now, and we share one of those fancy cars that emits fewer pollutants than the ones our neighbors drive. I stay up late helping him grade research papers, and wake up early to prepare a hearty breakfast for the family. Our family. We have a family that consists of more than just the two of us. I do the laundry and go to the grocery store, and iron his shirts while he’s away teaching a bunch kids who couldn’t care less about the freaking Napoleonic Wars. I bitch about folding laundry for a living. He bitches about the students and their cell phones going off in class. We lay in bed at night and dream about running away and never coming back.

Cacao nibs
Raw cacao nib cookies in the making
Raw cacao nib cookies

And then there is the running away and never coming back. Eating our way through Italy and climbing to the base of Everest. We go fishing off the Northern coast of Iceland despite my inherent fear of the ocean, and I convince him to swim at the top of Victoria Falls, despite his fear of heights. We don’t have a mortgage, or a car payment, or anything else that restricts you to the bounds of a place. We are perpetual wanderers who find comfort in exploring every nook and cranny of this world. Antarctica is no exception. We have backpacks, heavy ones, and only the most important things fit into them – no fancy hair straightening device or bow ties or pumpkin scented candles on this adventure. This world-wandering path is full of uncertainties, but that’s just the way we like it – there is no routine, no order, or anything even remotely linear. We take life one step at a time and we are happy. So incredibly happy.
This is the point where I tell you that the former scares the shit out of me. Absolutely, positively keeps me up at night just thinking about it. The latter? It is so us. And right now, it’s the clearest it has ever been. I want to spend the rest of my life exploring this massively fascinating and wildly beautiful world. I want to meet people who bend and shape and question everything in which I’ve ever believed, and I want to do it with Thom. More than having a house or children, I want a backpack weighing heavy on my shoulders and hair that hasn’t been washed for days. And you know what? I think he wants the same thing, too.

Raw cacao nib cookies

Notes: If you’re not concerned about preserving raw status, you can replace 1 cup of the cashews with 1 cup of rolled oats, for a lower fat alternative. I achieved the flat cookie shape by scooping, rolling, then pressing the balls with the back of a spatula. (It’s borderline obsessive compulsive and completely unnecessary.) I don’t recommend using any nuts other than cashews and almonds; but you can replace the cashews with more almonds, or vice versa. If you have a vanilla bean on hand, scrape the seeds into the mixture the same time you add the nut milk. You won’t be sorry.

10 medjool dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup raw almonds
1-2 tbsp raw nut milk (or water)
3-4 tbsp cacao nibs

Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with water; let soak for 15-20 minutes and set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the cashews and almonds into a fine meal. Once the dates have finished soaking, discard the soaking water and add the dates to the food processor. Blend for 20-30 seconds, just until the dates have combined. Add the nut milk and blend for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture forms a smooth dough.  The longer you blend, the smoother the dough will be. Remove dough from the food processor and mix in cacao nibs.
Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until firm, then transfer to an air tight container for storage. Cookies will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator, or several months in the freezer – but they never last that long.

Yield: about 24 cookies


29 thoughts on “Raw cacao nib cookies

  1. love the photos, recipe and food!!!this past weekend i learnt so much with Srah B. from My New Roots on the Winter Desserts Cooking Class.And now i really want to try this recipe. It must be delicious!

  2. You guys are both lefties? Crazy! I'm a lefty too, but I've never dated one. Also I vote on running away. ๐Ÿ™‚ Besides, it's your life so you get to make your own rules. Also anything with cacao nibs is heaven!

  3. Who say's you can't do both? Write your own story. Travel, explore experience, create realtionships with people around the world, then when the latter seems a little less scary come back and make that your next dream to come true – when you are ready too :)Great post & recipe Ash! (PS kids and settling down scare the crap outta Justin and I too ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  4. I think you and I are on the same page with possibly avoiding the whole pumpkin pie scented candles, 2.5 kids and a golden retriever thing. Evidence: I'm signing up for a motorcycle training/license expediting program COMPLETELY ON A WHIM. Dangerous hobbies! Higher aspirations! Mountains and shit! But first, these cookies.

  5. If that's what you both truly want, then go for it! Forget the "rules" that you think confine you. Open your mind to the infinite options. Who says that being married and having a family means being a stay-at-home mom, having a mortgage, or never travelling?!? There are more than two ways to live… Don't let people's expectations shape your life.

  6. I'm wondering if cocoa powder would work instead of cocoa nibs? Turns out i'm highly intolerant of raw cocoa (makes me extremely nauseated). Lovely cookies.Regarding your thoughts on life plans. I thought I'd share my 2 cents. I've been married for 8 years & have four kids & I'm 29 years old. When I was in college I think your dream of traveling the world really resonated with me. I certainly hadn't envisioned that I'd have a lot of children so young, but everything has unfolded in a beautiful, happy way for my husband & I. I think that "settling down" has become terribly stigmatized, as if it's a prison sentence, but I've found it to be quite the contrary. I've never experienced, or rather never knew I'd experience the high-high's (& with it the low-lows) as I have as a mother. It's life–raw, real, & I love it. Itchallenges & pushes me like nothing else I've ever experienced.

  7. This is awesome. I know a lot of people my age that feel similarly and it's nice to know people who are working on what makes them happy instead of what they feel like they're supposed to do or what seems easier.

  8. Beautiful. Love your writing. I am of the married sort, and we still find our place on the fence between the starting the family phase and wanting a big adventure. It feels like they are so exclusive, just like you painted them. I hope you guys to travel, that you go and live and explore as long as you need. I think it is the older people who never allowed themselves that, who end up being grumpy. and maybe you have the former, later? Who knows. But if you feel drawn to something now, do it! Of course I love the cookie idea too, but had to chime in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I always look forward to your posts because your writing is so beautiful. Also, the cookies aren't bad. ;)You have to do what makes you happy! And if that doesn't involve kids, so be it. My now-husband and I took a year to travel across the country, leave our office jobs, and live in a new city, and it was both an amazing and difficult experience. And now we're back to where we started (location-wise), but with a completely different outlook on life and what we want our future to look like. If you want to travel, do it! Life is too short to live anyone else's life.

  10. Your writing is fabulous. I just read it again without drooling over the photos. I hope all the best for you and Thom, and your adventures await! I hope that includes passing through France. Love is beautiful. And having a great fella is a magical thing. X's & O's.

  11. My partner and I have been together for four years now. We are finally deciding that we are both comfortable with moving in together. The marriage questions have already started flooding my email inbox from eager family. I just don't understand.

  12. Hi Erica ๐Ÿ™‚ Thom and I have discussed that if/when we have children, one of us will stay home until they are school age – and it will likely be me. And of course I know it is possible to travel with children, but not the way we want to travel. Not to mention, it's hella expensive.

  13. Oh yes, I know that feeling of being torn in two by two different and competing desires. Between what you want to do and what society expects you to do. It's sometimes a hard road to find but I firmly believe that when you find the right path, you know immediately. Love these cookies too – I'm obsessed with raw cookies at the moment especially when they involve cocoa nibs.

  14. It is really hard to fit perfectly into the expectations of everyone. People should do like you, understand their own wants and needs & be happyOne of my want right now, is your delicious little raw (good looking) cookies !

  15. I just love your writing, Ashlae! I'm of the school that I think I want to try and have both those ideals. I grew up in a family that never slowed down just because they had a child and I'm thankful for all the places I saw and experienced. As for these cookies- they look wonderful. I love using dates for these types of treats!

  16. This is so great and I think you are hilarious! Definitely find what works for you. Live in the moment and be grateful for what you have today. Now that I have a family, I find I jump on adventures even faster and enjoy them in a whole new light. Also, love your photos and these cookies look AH-MAI-ZING!

  17. Nice photos!! It makes all the difference in the world with high quality shots, because I couldn't make it to the bottom of this article before salivating like a wild animal. Om nom nom is all I have to say at this point.

  18. these looks delicious!also, I've been with my boyfriend for 11 years now. Almost everybody I know is getting married or having children right now, and it just makes me realize that this is NOT what I want. At all. ^^

  19. I'm also a lefty; glad to meet another two ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm also of Erin's school about pursuing both ideals. I used to worry this wouldn't be possible, but as I've got older, I've realized I have the ability to choose — to choose freedom over becoming jaded and discontent, and not to let "convention" get in the way of living from the heart. Best of luck in your journey, wherever it takes you! And, love the cookies ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Lady, I love everything about this post. I'm married but we straddle that fence a lot. One thing we've said is that we don't want our lives to stop after having a child. Maybe that sounds naive, since we don't actually have any kids, but it's something we find peace in. It's all about balance. You two should travel this beautiful world, especially if you're feeling the itch! Oh, I will never turn down a cookie.

  21. Two lefties, how cool! I love your writing. And, I've been nibbling my way through my first package of cocoa nibs– sometimes just as they are, bitter and intense, sometimes with some raisins mixed in. Don't think I'm going to be going back to munching squares of dark chocolate anytime soon, they seem too sweet after the cocoa nibs. Next package of cocoa nibs I get I will try to use in a an actual recipe, like yours :). On the life plans– I hope that you can keep the spark of adventure going, it is a big world out there. My BF/then husband and I were together for seven years before having any kids, I still didn't really feel ready, but when are you ever? I was a midwife so going to births was an adventure for me and having babies was, too. But yeah, while you CAN travel with babies, and we certainly did travel with ours, it's quite different than just being with your BF (duh). I hope you get in all the adventure that you seek.

  22. I just wanted to say, right on, lady. I've been with my dude for five years, we're both early 30s (I just turned the big 3-0 myself), so of course, everyone and their brother wants to know when we're getting hitched, when we're going to make babies, buy a home, etc. We say we're just doing what feels right to us, with every turn in the road; with no expectations other than to just enjoy every day as it comes. Keep honoring what feels right and real for you, and keep making great food. Sounds like a beautiful life to me.

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