Ricki Heller’s (Diet, Dessert & Dogs) Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies & Chia Pudding

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

I’ve written about Ricki Heller (Diet, Dessert & Dogs) before when I made a variation of her Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins after I reviewed her Sweet Freedom cookbook. I decided to adopt Ricki this month for Sea’s monthly Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger event (and actually I tried to adopt her last month, but Maggie beat me to it!). I wanted to adopt Ricki  because I simply adore her and I needed a good excuse to make some more of her amazing recipes. Ricki currently makes recipes that are vegan, plus gluten free and sugar free, and ones that follow the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD). All of those requirements can be a tall order when it comes to delicious dishes, but not for Ricki. Every one of her recipes make my mouth water and usually gawk in astonishment. Have you seen the photo of her latest creation—a new kind of “pizza”? Take a look; I’ll wait for you. Stunning, isn’t it? If you read the post, you’ll discover that the crust for this pizza is made from chickpea flour. Be still, my heart. The only thing better than chickpeas themselves would be chickpeas in flour form–naturally gluten free and grain free, and another type of flour to use in gluten-free cooking.  This recipe is definitely on my “must try” list, as soon as I can get some chickpea flour!

Until then I “settled” (ha ha) for Ricki’s Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh, baby! How about an amazing chocolate chip cookie that’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free (no sugar buzz!), full of nutrition, and has a lovely texture? This cookie—that’s featured both on Ricki’s blog and in her cookbook, Sweet Freedom—is a winner.  It’s addicting. Chewy and flavorful with those rich chocolate bits showing up at the beginning or end of a bite. I’m glad the recipe only makes a small number of cookies. (Ricki says she gets 8 cookies when she makes this recipe; I got 12 out of my batch.)

Incidentally, I’m not the only one that recognizes the merit of the recipes within Sweet Freedom. Sweet Freedom just received Honorable Mention in the Cuisine Canada 2010 Culinary Book Awards—wow! Congratulations, Ricki! Also, as Ricki likes to point out, Sweet Freedom is one of only three cookbooks recommended on Ellen DeGeneres’ website! Now don’t think Ricki is being arrogant. She simply has a fondness for Ellen and still wants to appear on Ellen’s show. I say “still” because Ricki even launched a campaign several months back to be on Ellen’s show. You can watch the video she sent into Ellen here. It’s hysterical and lets you know how clever and funny Ricki truly is.

But, Ricki’s daily posts entertain me, too. When I first visited her site, I’ll admit I thought her recipes were a bit strange, but after I hung around a bit, I realized sometimes there’s only a fine line between strange and brilliant. Ricki definitely is the latter when it comes to creating decadent recipes that won’t make one’s body crazy. Take a look at the cookies above. Can you see the decadence? The main ingredients are cashew butter (I easily made my own in just a few minutes), coconut butter, tahini (I used peanut butter), flax seed, maple syrup, and chocolate chips (I used Scharffen Berger). These cookies come together so quickly and won’t disappoint at all. By the way, the cookies are not burned; the ingredients just produce darker edges when baked.

I also made Ricki’s Almost Instant “Tapioca” Chia Pudding. I’ve seen chia drinks and puddings around for a while now. Ricki even has a Blueberry Chia Pudding (see photo here) that looks “other worldly” (it’s in her latest book, Desserts Without Compromise), but I wanted to start with a basic chia pudding to see if I’d like it. It’s a texture concern. I throw chia seeds into my smoothies all the time, but it took me most of my life to learn to like tapioca, so eating chia seeds in the gelatinous/pudding form seemed like a big hurdle to get over. Ricki suggested white chia seeds for the prettiest, most appetizing effect. However, all I had were the gray seeds, so I went with those. And, to be honest, I kind of like the river stone colors of the seeds when made into chia pudding. I liked the taste, too, but to me the slight crunch of the seeds was a bit disconcerting. I could probably get used to it though. I did add a dollop of Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream for a special touch and taste after my first few bites. That was a nice touch. I tried to talk Mr. GFE into trying some because he loves tapioca pudding, but I couldn’t convince him that there was a difference between chia seeds that grow into “pets” and “food grade” chia that is edible (as well as a nutritional powerhouse) for humans. I tried this pudding again this morning after letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight as Ricki noted one could for a softer effect. The result is a pudding that is indeed soft and very much like tapioca in texture and taste. Along with a Green Smoothie, it’s going to be my part of  my super kickstart breakfast. I’m following Wendy’s (Celiacs in the House) lead and living dangerously (read more on how you can live dangerously, and love it, here)!

Other recipes over at Diet, Dessert & Dogs that caught my eye this time around were savory ones like Brazil Nut-Cilantro Pesto and Caramel Onion Quiche. There’s a terrific variety of recipes on Ricki’s blog, so it’s always hard to choose which recipes to sample. Check out Ricki at Diet, Dessert & Dogs. Her blog can be as quirky and delightful as its name. I know you’ll enjoy what Ricki has to say and what she is eating, too. Oh, and the star girls, Elsie and Chaser, are waiting for you to stop  by and say hi, too. They might even talk to you … they’ve been known to add in their canine “two cents” from time to time. Be sure to check out the complete roundup here at Sea’s Book of Yum!

Not just gf, but gfe!

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23 Responses to “Ricki Heller’s (Diet, Dessert & Dogs) Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies & Chia Pudding”

  1. Rachel on November 10th, 2010 8:48 am

    Those cookies look really great. Ricki is full of great dessert ideas that are incidentally good for you. A great “adoptee”.

    I laughed out loud when I read about Mr. GFE’s chia pet/chia seed connection, because that what I always think of too. But they are supposed to be little nuggets of nutrition so I want to “get over it” and try them soon.

    I have not used chickpea flour yet for a sweet treat but I keep a bag in our freezer for savory stuff, like bhajis (Anglo-Indian veggie fritters) and pakoras. I couldn’t find chickpea flour in our local supermarket but I stock up on my bimonthly treks down to the nearest big city, Albany, where I get it at either the Asian market or Indian spice shop. Sometimes it is called besan.

    See ya at the Adopt a GF Blogger Roundup!

    • Shirley on November 10th, 2010 1:00 pm

      Hi Rachel–I’m so glad you already know, Ricki! She’s just plain terrific on so many levels, isn’t she? :-)

      I definitely enjoy the chia seeds in smoothies and bread-type recipes, but will have to get used to them in puddings and such. They do pack a nutritional wallop, though, so yes, we both need to get past “it.” LOL

      Oooh, now I must check out your veggie fritters and savory uses of the chickpea flour. Are they on your blog? The ethnic markets are great, aren’t they? I haven’t checked the market I use yet for chickpea flour and I didn’t remember that it was called besan. Must add that to my list immediately–thanks!

      Looking forward to the roundup! :-)

  2. Ricki on November 10th, 2010 9:32 am

    Shirley, you are too much! Will you be my publicist?? I’m so glad you liked the cookies. And yes, even I think many of my recipes (okay, and me, too) border on “strange” too often! ;) Your addition of peanut butter to the cookies sounds diving. . . wishing I could have some made that way! And glad you were able to enjoy the chia pudding, crunch and all. (And I suppose Mr. GFE is actually correct–they are pretty much the same seeds, aren’t they?). :)

    • Shirley on November 10th, 2010 1:05 pm

      Hi Ricki–Re: the publicist job, it depends … is my pay in DDD goodies? Okay, I’m in then! :-) Love, love, love these cookies, Ricki! When I get some tahini, I’ll try them again with that. You know, I’m learning to embrace strange more and more. After all, I’m the one who invented Tomato Rosemary Mint ice cream not that long ago. ;-)

      Much less crunch with the chia pudding this morning. I like it both ways, just have to adapt. Oh, yes, they are the same seeds per my understanding, but one has been cleaned and is ready for people to eat and the other is just ready for adding water and putting on a clay head or a clay turtle. Both were previous chia pets, of ours, and of course, Mr. GFE did have one truck he named Chia Pet—no kidding—but I digress.


  3. Linda on November 10th, 2010 11:41 am

    Those do look good, and now I’m craving chocolate, which I don’t usually crave. I love the way Rikki comes up with healthy desserts.

    • Shirley on November 10th, 2010 1:06 pm

      Hi Linda–These have just the right amount of chocolate and are amazing for all they are free of. :-) I think Ricki is a culinary genius!


  4. Karen@Cook4Seasons on November 10th, 2010 5:29 pm

    I love, love that chia pudding! Even have one similar on my website. Depending on my mood, I will add cocoa powder…or use coconut milk and vanilla bean. I am constantly stumping people in my seminars when I ask them to identify the ‘mystery seed.’ They laugh when I start singing the Ch Ch Ch Chia tune!

    • Shirley on November 12th, 2010 7:02 am

      Hi Karen–I think I remember seeing your chia pudding recipe on your site. Love those change-up options you mentioned, Karen, but do take a look at Ricki’s blueberry chia pudding. It’s worth it just for the effect. Since kids always like bright colors and seeingly blue everything, I wonder if that might be more appealing to them. ;-) Too funny on singing the chia tune! I bet even then you get some pretty puzzled looks. Like my husband (and myself not that long ago), they may not know that chia is not just around to make quirky crazy Christmas gifts. LOL


  5. Maggie on November 10th, 2010 6:28 pm

    Shirley you are the busiest blogger I know! My goodness, you’re a blogaholic this week! I love it. Thank you so much for the link love (does that mean you’ve forgiven me?). I don’t think I could do the chia pudding thing. Never been keen on that texture (no tapioca and no rice pudding for me!). But those cookies look amazing. I could just live off of Ricki’s blog! So many good eats.

    • Shirley on November 12th, 2010 7:08 am

      Hi Maggie–It’s just this particular week especially. My commitments have collided so to speak. That’s what I get for going on vacation! LOL But, so glad that you are appreciating the more frequent posts. Be sure to look for my guest post over at Tia’s soon, too.

      LOL on forgiving you. I never was upset with you. I think it’s terrific when more than one person wants to adopt the same gf blogger. The enthusiasm each month for the adoption event is just wonderful!

      I do undersand the texture thing for sure. It might take me a while to work this pudding into my regular repertoire depsite the nutritional benefits. ;-) There’s a little left and I think I’m just throwing that in the blender with my green smoothie ingredients this morning! And, oh, yeah, those cookies ARE amazing! As soon as I finished the last one, I started thinking about a reason to make them again. Maybe a double batch for our group’s open house tomorrow? Man, they are good! Ricki is one of our specialty diet geniuses! :-)


  6. Natalie on November 11th, 2010 11:07 pm

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! I love this post – both desserts look to die for. I love rice pudding, so I am going to for sure try the chia pudding!!

    • Shirley on November 11th, 2010 11:41 pm

      Hi Natalie–Welcome to gfe! My pleasure to read and comment on your blog! I am head over heels for Ricki’s cookies. I’m still learning to like the chia pudding. If you’re a tapioca and crunchy pudding fan though, you’ll probably love it. :-)


  7. Alta on November 13th, 2010 1:02 am

    I too love Ricki’s recipes. Gonna go check out her chia pudding – Ive made some myself, and am becoming addicted!

  8. Tia on November 13th, 2010 3:15 am

    Hi Shirley,

    Finally getting around to reading blogs again, instead of just a million emails. :) Ditto what Maggie said. Don’t like nibs in my pudding. I even spit out the nibs from my chocolate pudding if I don’t mix it well enough. But the cookies, oh my! Yummy!

    I have to get Ricki’s book and make some of her recipes. We are trying to cut down on the grains. Those cookies look great.

    BTW, I now have the song in my head. Ever since high school, I have had people tease me about it. Starting every year around this time all of my friends would call me T T T Tia until after Christmas. ( big sigh )

    T T T Tia : P

  9. Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on November 18th, 2010 1:54 pm

    You two are quite a pair. A gluten-free force for good food and dessert for everyone.

    • Shirley on November 19th, 2010 8:40 am

      Hi Wendy–I’m thrilled to be associated with Ricki ANY time! ;-) You truly must try these Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re incredibly good!

      Thanks for saying all the many, many nice things about me everywhere! Have you ever thought about going into PR? If you decide to go that route, as soon as the gfe budget allows, I’m hiring you! :-)


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