RIP diet culture. It’s over.
You may have noticed that, for what started out as a food blog, there aren’t all that many new recipes lurking around here these days. Well, truth be told, I’ve been on a little cleanse. Of what, you ask? Sugar? Toxins? Fibre? No. I’ve been cleansing myself of food’s hold over me.
When I started this blog, I’d realised that two things were impacting my health. Diet and anxiety. How fortunate it was then that, the more I controlled my diet, the less anxious I felt. And so, as I enforced more regimens into my lifestyle and managed my stress through implementing rules, my health saw some amazing improvements. Yes, I became one of the anecdotes the diet really did heal, although maybe not for the reasons that I thought. It was short lived though. The diet I’d adopted was not a healthy one. Not balanced, not sustainable. Not based on any scientific evidence and certainly not right for me.
I’ve described it in so many words, but never acknowledged straight up that in my earlier blogging days, my behaviour and attitude can only be described as Orthorexic. It’s not something you notice when you’re in it. Doing your daily workouts, going to all vegan events, stocking up your pantry with things you definitely can’t afford from Whole Foods. The struggle only arrives when you realise that you can’t keep it up. And, when that control starts to slip, that’s when the anxiety comes back and those ‘healthy’ choices stop being so healthy for you.
I gave up all rules around my diet well over a year ago, and I’ve never looked back. But that doesn’t mean that the anxiety has disappeared and the control hasn’t manifested in different ways.
Any food blogger will tell you about the level of planning, research and trialling that goes into developing recipes, and as fun as that may be, when you’ve got a history of inflexibility, sometimes that studious regimen can feel a little too close to dietary control. Whilst, sure, restriction was not an issue, the continuous anticipation of what I would be baking for the blog each week, how many trials it might need and feeling compelled to eat a little bit lighter before a day of taste-testing felt was too reminiscent calculated of clean/cheat eating. Of course, this isn’t to say that everyone who writes a food blog feels trapped by this routine of recipe development, but stepping out of that for me was the final nail in the coffin of my slavery to a diet cultural mindset.
So, why am I back with a recipe today? Well, it’s been two months since I’ve baked a thing and I’ve missed the joy of warm gooey goods made with my own inspiring twist. I’ve missed fumbling about in my kitchen playing with different ingredients. I’ve missed the overwhelming pride when you whip up something your whole family enjoys. And so, having totally surrendered to spontaneity, I baked. And it was glorious. And I wanted share that side of my current care-free mentally through giving you a chance to play for yourself.
I warn you now, these cookies are one of the messiest things ever, but absolutely worth it! If you’re baking with kids, then they’re sure to love these as everyone gets their hands sticky, with plenty of opportunity for finger licking and artistic license. The cookies are pretty simple, double chocolate, because what flavour could be better? Then, there’s a sweet cobweb on top made from stretched white marshmallows. You can make these vegetarian or vegan with a few simple swaps listed below so, if you’re expecting trick or treaters or throwing a party just for the grown ups (I can vouch that these are a great paired with gin) – you’ve gotta have these on hand!
Makes 12-15 cookies
- 200g plain flour
- 150g brown sugar
- 1 large egg/water from a chickpea can
- 6 tablespoons/50g cacao powder (or 1/2 cup cocoa powder)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons milk (use non-dairy if you prefer)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- A generous pinch of salt
- 1 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup mini white marshmallows (use vegetarian if you prefer)
- Edible glitter (optional – but not really)
Pre-heat your oven to 150°C.
Sift your flour, cacao/cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add your oil and sugar and use electric beaters (or by hand) to beat together. Add the egg and and beat again until really well mixed and slightly airy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Gradually combine your dry ingredients to the wet, around 1/3 at a time, mixing as you go. If the dough is slightly dry, mix in a few tablespoons of milk. Then, stir in your dark chocolate chips, distributed evenly throughout the mixture.
Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough, roll into balls and flatten them on a lined baking tray. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Then place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
To decorate, place your marshmallows in a bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir vigorously to cool slightly. Then, use your hands to grab a clump of the marshmallow fluffy and pull apart, spreading the web over the top of each cookie (It can help if you place the cookie on an elevated surface, like the bottom of an upside-down glass, and hook the marshmallow around the side). Repeat until all the cookies are decorated – you may need to reheat the marshmallows if they get too sticky. Spray a little edible glitter on top. Then demolish immediately.
BONUS STEP: If you fancy a s’more-like treat, simply pop the cookies under the grill for 30 seconds to lightly brown the top of the marshmallow. Enjoy!
Love this? Check out these other treats!