Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Chewy Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies with Chocolate Coconut Glaze and Sea Salt (gluten free, vegan)


I love the combination of dark chocolate and sea salt.  B.T. McElrath, a local chocolatier, makes an amazing chocolate bar called the Salty Dog, a combination of dark chocolate, butter toffee, and sea salt. It is positively to die for.  Anyway, I've been having salty, chocolate fantasies lately.  I was struck with an urge to bake last night while working on chemistry homework, and decided to make some kind of salty, chocolaty confection to take to work with me today.  
I've been eyeing up the "Chewy Chocolate Drops" cookie recipe on the back of the Baker's unsweetened chocolate square box recently, and thought that would be the perfect starting point.  The general idea is good - a chewy, chocolaty, petite glazed cookie - but the ingredients were an impossibility (wheat flour, eggs, sugar, butter, Cool Whip....).   So, I took to work adapting and altering, adding and substituting, tweaking and taste testing, in between licking off beaters, spoons, and spatulas, and scraping out bowls.  I pulled out all the stops, blending a few different flours, and throwing in melted chocolate, raw cacao nibs, chia meal, coconut oil, agave nectar and stevia, fruit puree.  It was very experimental.  Anyway, I finally decided to stop tweaking and bake the darn things.  While my little gems were in oven, I whipped up a coconut cream and chocolate glaze that would make an incredible chocolate sauce on just about anything.
I had to sneak a couple of the finished cookies as a midnight snack, and was totally pleased.  Success! Then I put them on my favorite antique plate, a lovely relic from my dearly departed Great Grandma Sylvia, and put them in the fridge to chill, thinking that they would be even more delicious chilled - kind of like little truffles.  This morning, I tried a cold one.  Even better than the night before! Moist and chewy, boasting a deep, dark chocolate flavor, chunks of raw cacao nibs, a little sweetness, a hint of coconut, and a bite of sea salt.  The glaze had hardened once chilled, and provided a great contrast to the soft cookie.  Wow.  This cookie was seriously good. 
So, I proudly brought them into the photo studio and placed them at the reception desk, thinking they would be lovely little treats for people to enjoy with their morning cup of coffee.  The photo studio is full of foodies (and coffee addicts).  These people know good food (and good coffee).  So, I insisted on completely honest feedback.  I was positively ecstatic to hear that everyone LOVED them.  The entire batch of 3 dozen was nearly gone by noon, and a lone cookie remained after the lunch hour; no one ever wants to take the last one.
Here is some of the feedback:
  • "A little sweet, a little salty."
  • "Oooh, cold chocolate, the best."
  • "Exquisite!  You should open a bakery."
  • "The flavor of chocolate lingers after  you're done.  Delicious."  
  • "These are great, Kim.  You could bring these in anytime."
  • "Nicely done.  Not too sweet.  I don't like really sweet things; this is great."
  • "Is that sea salt?  Nice touch."
  • "The coconut is great."
  • "Oh, they're healthy cookies?  There's fruit in them?  Okay, I'll have one. [insert eating here] Oh, this is good."
  • "I had one this morning right away and needed another one.  I really like the salt with the chocolate."
  • "Gluten free?  Really?  Now you're talking my language."
  • "Gluten free chocolate coconut cookies?  Who baked these, you?  Oh, how cuuuuuute!"
  • "Okay, I'll have just one more, since they are gluten free and they are just sitting here....  Wow, these are really good.  Is this caribou or chocolate? [she meant carob - so cute] Chocolate? Yum." - my dear friend and and coworker Amy, as she reached for her fifth cookie
  • "Wow, these things totally filled me up for breakfast!  I need another one." - Amy, as she reached for her sixth cookie
Some of the ingredients are a little wacky; not every pantry will be stocked with amaranth flour, chia seed, or creamed coconut, for example.  While the buckwheat helps add to the rich flavor of the cookie and I think is necessary, you could try substituting some other GF (or even regular flour for you gluten-eaters) for the amaranth and/or rice flour - but I can't guarantee results, since each flour behaves differently.  The chia meal helps to bind it all together and adds a moist, chewy quality.  Buy chia seeds pre-ground, or buy seeds whole and grind yourself in a coffee grinder or blender (the more economical choice).  A container of whole chia seeds is a little pricy, but it lasts a really long time, and is worth the investment.  You could try substituting ground flax, but flax doesn't retain quite as much moisture as chia, and I'm not sure how it would behave.  The creamed coconut is a must-have, so head out and pick some up; I really like Let's Do Organic Creamed Coconut.  It has a great flavor and is awesome to add to sauces, frostings, and smoothies.  Plus, it is easy to find at Whole Foods and the local co-ops (check out the baking section), and isn't too expensive (about $2.50 for a 7 oz box).  I am thinking of ordering some on Amazon - you can get a 6 pack for $9.33!
These cookies are a hit. So, make a batch, and share with friends.  Enjoy!
yield: about 3 dozen
1/2 c + 2 T buckwheat flour
1/4 c + 2 T amaranth flour
1/4 c white rice flour
3 T chia meal (use pre-ground chia, or grind whole seeds yourself in a blender or coffee grinder)
3/4 c water
1/3 c fruit puree (I used peach puree)
2 T coconut oil (or other light tasting oil)
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 T agave nectar
1/2 tsp SweetLeaf stevia sweetener 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 T coarsely ground raw cocao nibs (optional)
1/4 block creamed coconut
1 square baking chocolate
sea salt
finely shredded coconut (optional)
  1. Sift together flours and chia meal in a large bowl, and mix with warm water.  Let sit for for at least an hour at room temperature so flours and chia absorb liquid and dough becomes thick.
  2. In a microwave or double boiler, melt together coconut oil and chopped up chocolate squares.  If microwaving, check every 30 seconds or so so it doesn't burn - it will melt in 1-2 minutes .  Stir together until chocolate pieces are totally smooth, then add fruit puree, agave nectar, stevia, and vanilla, and mix with a hand mixer until well blended. 
  3. Break up dough a bit, then add chocolate mixture, and mix until nearly smooth.  Add baking powder and cocao nibs, and mix until smooth.
  4. Place in refrigerator (or freezer!) until mixture becomes more firm and easy to spoon.
  5. Preheat oven to 350*, and line baking sheets with parchment or grease with coconut oil
  6. Spoon dough onto baking sheets; each cookie should be about 1"x1", about 1 T of dough.  Bake for about 12-13 minutes.  Remove from oven, transfer to baking sheet, and let cool completely. 
  1. To prepare frosting, melt together 1 square of baking chocolate with creamed coconut.  Stir until well mixed, adding a little agave nectar to taste.  NOTE: Packaged coconut cream tends to separate - the coconut solids settle and the coconut oil rises to the top.  You want to have a mix of both for the recipe, so cut the solids into quarters and the oil into quarters, and take one section from each.  Easy! 
  2. Place in refrigerator until glaze has become more firm, but still spreadable. 
  1. Once cookies are completely cool, and glaze is firm and spreadable, frost each cookie.  NOTE: The cookies must be completely cool, or the frosting WILL melt!  
  2. Sprinkle frosted cookies with coarsely ground sea salt.  For an extra touch, add a sprinkle of finely shredded coconut, if desired.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill for maximum yumminess.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


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Reader Comments (7)

Mmmm, I love salt and chocolate - but with toffee thrown in, I bet those bars are incredible! Those cookies look just fantastic too with a touch of the ferrero recher about them all piled up salty and dark. I'm amazed you took any to the office!
x x x

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi Devlin

Sound delicious.I have gluten intolerance and I have tried using buckwheat before but wasn't very successful. I am going to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Naomi - yes, they do look at bit like Ferrero Rochers! I haven't had one of those in ages - they are so decadent! I knew I had to take them to work, otherwise I'd eat all of them, and that's definitely not good - even if they are gluten free : )

Jennifer - buckwheat is great! It has a thicker, gooier consistency, so it holds together very well, unlike some drier flours. it works very well for muffins and flatbreads, and the whole groats cook up very well also. I have a couple buckwheat muffins in my recipe archives, as well as a buckwheat bread, and some rockin' buckwheat waffles. Flatbreads are easiest - just a little water and some flour, maybe a little salt or other seasoning, get it to a thin consistency, then let it sit for about 10 minutes, then spoon onto a griddle, and cook until dry. Good luck!

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Wow. I am licking the last bit of one of these off my fingers. I, too, have been tormented by that delicious-looking recipe on the back of the chocolate box for months!

I had to make some alterations to accommodate my own food restrictions (sadly, no coconut, but i did make another glaze that was just to die for.)

Thanks so much for posting. These made my day! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to keep them away from my kids! :)

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I am so impressed with your collection of recipes and general knowledge. Your sister Kelly is one of my art instructors at Full Sail and pointed me in your direction after learning about my eating restrictions (I have severe food allergies to anything containing animal products or biproducts- so it's strict vegan lifestyle for me). Thank you so much for sharing- I look forward to trying some of these recipes!

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I'm SO glad you enjoyed the recipe! I knew I wasn't the only one out there tortured by those tasty looking chocolate cookies on that darn box! I'm glad the recipe is flexible enough to work with adaptations. Thanks for the note, and enjoy the cookies! Make sure you keep some from your kids : ) Hope to see you around here often, and thanks for the note!
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Thanks for your kind and complimentary words! I'm glad Kelly sent you my way. She's so great : ) So, you are allergic to all animal proteins? I'm sorry to hear of your severe allergies, but I'm glad you know what you need to do to manage your diet.

You should be able to find a bunch of recipes here that work for you. I do eat meat and occasionally goat/sheep dairy, so some things won't be up your alley, but most of the food I eat is vegan, and the things that aren't can be easily modified. For some some other great blogs, check out the the links in my blogroll - there are some awesome folks out there cooking up pretty killer vegan food! Hope to see you around on the blog often, and let me know what you think of anything you try! I love feedback.
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June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

These look really good. I am going to have to make some to take to the next pot-luck I go to.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo