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There are two things I'm not very big on: desserts and baking. Not that I don't love dessert, but I tend to steer clear most of the time because I'd rather spend my Weight Watchers points on actual food than a high-calorie sweet. As a result, I don't eat much dessert, and I don't bake often. But every once in a while, I find it quite therapeutic indeed to spend an afternoon baking in the kitchen. On these days, my choice is usually cookies, because they're small enough that I can work one or two into my daily diet.

Well, today is one of those baking days. I'm taking a second stab at a cookie I baked a few weeks ago, the dark chocolate almond butter cookie. Yes, it's as amazing as it sounds.

The backstory on how I discovered this cookie: Whenever I go up to DFW to see the BF, I like to bring some kind of baked good for his know, good impressions and what-not. When I went up for his birthday a few weeks ago, I asked him what he wanted me to make, and he told me to bake some chocolate cookies. Just plain old chocolate cookies. How boring, I thought. There must be a way to reinvent it. Thankfully, others already have, and it didn't take me too long to find my way to this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction (which, by the way, is an awesome website if you're into baking). The recipe was just what I needed the night before I was scheduled to leave: quick, light on ingredients, and oh so much better than plain chocolate cookies, with a perfect blend of chocolatey and nutty. The first time I made these, they weren't dark chocolate almond butter cookies, since I just used some regular chocolate chips. And they were delicious that way. But this time, I'm making them decadent with dark chocolate chunks, the way they deserve to be made.

This is all you need:

That's right, only six ingredients! And no flour or butter! It's madness! Just an egg, 3/4 cup of lightly packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, a teaspoon of baking soda, a cup of dark chocolate chunks, and the not-so-secret ingredient tying all of this together, almonds (you'll need about three cups).

The first step is processing the almonds. If you don't want to do this, you can just use almond butter from the jar (you'll need a cup), but why do that when you can make your own? You just need almonds, a food processor, and time. And some more time. It takes a little while, but your patience will be rewarded. Process, scrape the sides, process, scrape, and process some more. About halfway through, you'll start thinking you ruined a bag of almonds by grinding them into powder, but just keep scraping those sides, and soon enough you'll find a wonderful almond butter in your food processor. Three cups of almonds makes just about a cup, or just enough for this recipe. Don't eat any of the almond butter like I did last time...that was just stupid, and I had to add some softened butter to make up for my almond butter shortage.

That's really the hardest part of making these cookies. After letting the almond butter get down to room temperature (it's hot from processing), add it, along with the brown sugar and baking soda, to the beaten egg and stir well. Then, mix in those dark chocolate chunks.
The last time I made these, I was still skeptical about these cookies all the way up to the cookie dough stage. I tasted the dough and thought, well that doesn't taste that great. Just wait. Again, your patience will be greatly rewarded.

Spoon balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Generously space them, because they're going to expand. The original recipe says that it will make 12-14 cookies, but I'm making them a lot smaller than I did last time, because I want to be able to enjoy a few of these every day guilt-free. I ended up getting 22 cookies...damnit, so close to exactly two dozen!

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. That will slightly underbake the cookies, which will make them soft and gooey. If you want them to be crispy, try for 11-12 minutes...but I ain't got time for a crispy cookie. For my tastes, exactly 9 minutes is perfect.

Oooooh yeah...look at this gooey, chocolatey, nutty goodness...I don't know what's better, the almost-melted pools of dark chocolate or the almond flavor that almost overwhelms the cookie.

Let them cool and enjoy! I'm sticking to one for tonight. Or 22. We'll see.

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

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