When delicious junk food is discussed, things like pizza, soda, and ice cream often come to mind. Cookie dough, which is equally as gluttonous, is right up there with those. For me, cookie dough is a nearly daily snack, thanks to this recipe, and certain ingredients that actually take away the junk food aspects of traditional cookie dough, and replace them with positive nutritional aspects. This recipe for low-carb cookie dough (which is also gluten-free, and keto friendly!) will become a mainstay for any avid sweet-tooth snacker in no time!
Cookie dough traditionally makes use of raw eggs, which can lead to salmonella. This recipe does not, yet still ends up having a very rich and decadent flavor. The secret to that rich flavor, aside from all the healthy fat, is balancing sweet and salt. Not many people are aware, but an often-used trick in cooking and in recipes to round out the sweet flavor of a dish is to add a small amount of salt.
That might make you think of something like salted caramel, but that’s a much higher ratio; what I’m talking about is an imperceptible amount, barely enough to even detect the taste. In this recipe, it’s 48:1 ratio of sweetener to salt; 1 cup sweetener, 1 teaspoon of salt. Of course, you can add more or less to taste, but I find that just a teaspoon does the trick, and it makes all the difference!
Can cookie dough be good for you?
All things in moderation is key. For those on low-carb / gluten-free / keto friendly diets, this low-carb cookie dough is an especially useful recipe to have in your arsenal. It is easy and quick to make, stores well (although, let’s get real, they won’t last long) it fulfills that hunger for sweets, and it helps with meeting your macro and micro nutrient needs. Instead of taking away from your diet and good habits, it actually can add to it!
- Grass-fed butter gives you plenty of healthy fat for energy and for your brain, along with more omega-3 fatty acids, high in mono and polyunsatured fats, lots of vitamin A, much more CLA, and vitamin K2, essential for healthy bones, (which is in no way related to vitamin K1, for those wondering) and a host of other benefits. It keeps you feeling full, without that bloated feeling from eating a bunch of carbs.
- The almond flour is high in healthy fats, low in carbs, has a good amount of protein to it, plenty of fiber, and is a great source of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. It’s naturally gluten-free, and may help lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
- And the Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute dissolves incredibly and ends up tasting just like sugar, without that heavy sugar rush feeling you get from indulging in the real thing.
The whole recipe makes approximately 30 low-carb cookie dough balls, if you don’t snack on it too heavily while you’re making it.
I make about one batch of low-carb cookie dough per week, keep them on a cookie sheet or in a container in the freezer, and take them to work with me in a small container I keep refrigerated. By the time it’s been in the fridge for an hour or two, they are thawed, and just the perfect slightly chewy texture that reminds you of your favorite childhood treat, except this time without all the guilt, the spike in blood sugar, the eventual crash, but instead with plenty of good fat for energy, and a bunch of great nutrients to help you meet your daily needs.
They are a perfect mid-morning snack to keep you going until lunch, or a great afternoon pick-me-up with some tea or coffee. And the taste is to die for. Enjoy them without the guilt of all the empty carbs, and the eventual sinking feeling that always comes from high-sugar snacks.
I have included all of the specific brands of products I have used for making this low-carb cookie dough recipe. Some things are interchangeable if you can’t find them nearby to you.
- Almond flour, at one time was a specialty product, but with the explosion of gluten-free / keto friendly / low-carb cooking, it has become a mainstay in most grocery stores. The key is to not over-pay for it. Shop around, and you can get 3-5lbs in big bags for around $15-20 at most. Almost all of the specialty products can be purchased very affordably online if you don’t have them nearby.
- The butter, just like the almond flour, used to be more of a specialty product. Now, grass-fed butter can be found not just at specialty markets like Whole Foods, but also at mainstream big-box stores like Kroger, Publix, and yes, even Wal-Mart. Is it worth the marginal extra cost? I think so, but if all you have is regular butter, there’s no harm in substituting that.
- The Lily’s brand of chocolate goods has been a revolutionary game-changer for anyone doing low-carb / ketogenic diets. There are a lot of sugar-free chocolates out there, but so many of them contain sweeteners that can cause a lot of gastric distress in higher quantities. Their use of stevia and erythritol, two naturally-derived sweeteners that taste very close to real sugar, helps us to be able to make delicious sweets without the discomfort and problems of some other products.
Customizing the Recipe
The great thing about my low-carb cookie dough recipe is that it can be adjusted as you are preparing it, by using less than what I’ve indicated, and adding more until you reach your desired flavor.
You can even switch out the chocolate chips for things like cinnamon and granulated Swerve (for more crunch) to create a snickerdoodle, pumpkin pie spice, cake batter flavor, or a host of other things to make other types of cookie dough.
When experimenting, add alternate flavors before incorporating almond flour, to ensure that it all mixes up evenly, as trying to get the flavor fully incorporated into a big chunk of cookie dough will be difficult.
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Low-Carb Cookie Dough
- stand mixer (or beater)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter – grass-fed, preferably (I use Kerrygold)
- 1 cup sugar-free confectioner's sugar – Swerve Confectioner's Sugar works well
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fine salt – I use Redmond's Sea Salt
- 4 cups almond flour
- 1 cup sugar-free chocolate chips – I use Lily's Semi-Dark or Milk Chocolate, depending on what flavor I want
- Allow the butter to sit out and come to room temperature, or carefully microwave on 50% power to soften. Be careful not to liquify, as butter should be soft, but still a solid in order to mix well.
- Once butter has softened, put in stand mixer or large bowl and beat until soft and it begins to gain a little volume. You may need to use medium-high speed, and scrape down the edges of the bowl a couple times.
- With mixer on, at a slower speed, add sugar-free confectioner's sugar and incorporate fully. Add vanilla extract and salt. Turn mixer off, and taste just to make sure that the salt / sugar ratio are right, especially if you're using different brands.
- Turn mixer back on low speed and add almond flour, one cup at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate to keep the dough from lumping. Depending on how powerful your mixer is, this may need to be done by hand.
- After dough is fully formed, turn mixer off to scrape sides down. Then, turn mixer back on lowest speed, and slowly incorporate sugar-free chocolate chips until mixed well, or incorporate by hand if your mixer is having trouble; the cookie dough can become quite dense.
- Optionally, you can place cookie dough, covered, in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow it to firm up a bit.
- Get a large cookie sheet or other serving tray, line with parchment paper, and spray with non-stick spray. Get a small ice cream scoop, and scoop balls the size of a half-dollar out onto a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick spray.
- To store, I like to freeze them on the sheet, and then take them out to thaw in refrigerator for whatever day I'd like to have them. Frozen, they will keep for a month or so, but I doubt they will last even a week!