Ok, so I am seriously in love with this edible cookie dough!! Honestly, I’d eat it at brekkie or anytime of the day for a healthy & super-satisfying snack. It contains no eggs, dairy, grains or refined sugar, but is packed with protein (including collagen), fibre, healthy fats, and superfoods such as maca!
Collagen is a natural protein found predominantly in skin, bones, joints and ligaments as well as the digestive tract. Our bodies make collagen using specific amino acids that we consume through food. The main collagen-forming amino acids are glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less and lower-quality collagen. This contributes to the wrinkles, joint problems and reduction in bone density and metabolism that many of us have already started to experience!
Research also suggests that adequate collagen is necessary to balance the gut microbiome and maintain a healthy digestive tract. In addition to acting as a prebiotic, collagen is believed to reduce inflammation and support the integrity of the mucosal barrier or gut lining. This helps to prevent what is sometimes referred to as the "leaky gut syndrome".
In a leaky gut, undigested proteins and microbes are allowed to pass through the intestinal wall. Over time, this may lead to chronic inflammation and dysfunction of the immune system and gut-brain-axis. Leaky gut is believed to be associated with numerous medical conditions, including arthritis, eczema, nutrient malabsorption, chronic fatigue, functional gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, and mental and neurocognitive disorders such as depression and autism.
To help our bodies make collagen, we must first ensure an adequate intake of the amino acid building blocks. Good food sources include grass-fed gelatin (which is basically an easily digested cooked form of collagen), bone broth, eggs, and white fish such as cod. Vegans can get the necessary amino acids from plant-based foods such as legumes (including peanuts), soy, brewer’s yeast, and spirulina.
There are also a number of oral collagen supplements available. While more evidence is needed, studies indicate that collagen peptides can reduce the visible signs of skin aging and improve joint and arthritis symptoms. Products I use regularly include Vital Proteins collagen peptides, Bulletproof upgraded collagen, and Crushed Tonic probiotic marine collagen elixir.
And Why Maca?
Native to Peru, maca has a slightly earthy, butterscotch taste and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Touted as the "Incan superfood", it has been used for millennia to increase stamina and endurance. Maca root powder is also a wonderful herbal "adaptogen". This means it helps the body to lower cortisol levels and deal with stress. Consumption may help to relieve anxiety while simultaneously boosting energy, concentration, and even libido and sexual function. Here I have used gelatinized maca since it is easier to digest.
COOKIE DOUGH WITH BENEFITS Recipe
Ingredients for approximately 2 cups of edible cookie dough:
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, soaked in warm water for 2 to 3 hours, then drained*
1 scoop Nuzest Clean Lean natural protein powder
2 scoops or packets of collagen peptides (omit for vegan)*
1/4 cup cashew nut butter
2 Tbsp gluten-free coconut flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 Tbsp chia seeds (whole white seeds or ground)
1 Tbsp gluten-free flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp unsweetened cashew or other nondairy milk (or more to adjust to desired consistency)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp gelatinized maca powder (optional)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
pure stevia or raw honey (nonvegan) to sweeten as desired
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
*Notes: The cashews are soaked to soften them for use. Since cashews are already a softer nut, 2 to 3 hours is usually sufficient. If you choose to soak them overnight, be sure to put them in the fridge.
For this recipe, I used 2 packets of Crushed Tonic original. Each packet contains 10g marine collagen, 1 billion units probiotics, and 1,000 mcg biotin. The collagen can be omitted for a vegan option.
Put cashews, protein powder, collagen, cashew nut butter, coconut flour, shredded coconut, ground chia seeds, flaxseed meal, nondairy milk (1 Tbsp), coconut oil, maca powder, vanilla extract, and salt into blender container.
Blend until a uniform cookie dough-like consistency is created, scraping the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula as needed. If the mixture seems dry, add additional nondairy milk and/or coconut oil.
Add sweetener of choice and adjust to taste.
Add cacao nibs or chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Enjoy as-is or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days, or the freezer for up to 2 months.