Chocolate for Breakfast (A Love Story)
About ten years ago, my brother Zirque and I met in Nashville to visit family. He flew in from Sedona, Arizona, and I flew from Chicago. We had a great weekend; catching up, drinking beer, reconnecting with our grandmother and with each other.
At one point, he pulled out a few bars of chocolate. “You’ve got to try this,” he said. The brand was called “Lulu’s,” a Sedona (at the time) company. The bars were cutely packaged in red and black, with “LOVE” listed as an ingredient. I didn’t need convincing to try; I’m a longtime devotee of dark chocolate. I figured it would be good, but I wasn’t prepared for how good: rich, delicious, silky, and not too sweet. It seemed to magically blossom on the tongue. I was immediately obsessed, and very grateful when he sent me home with a bar of my own.
Against my deep inclination to NOT share with anyone, I shared the bar with my son Henry. “That,” he said, “Is the best chocolate I’ve ever had.” I agreed.
One thing we noticed was that we didn’t experience the hyper buzz or yucky crash that come with conventional sweets. Lulu’s chocolate didn’t just taste amazing; it made you feel amazing. We found the Lulu’s website and ordered a case.
Lulu didn’t know it yet, but she’d become part of our family.
A year passed. My brother, single at the time, called me, and during the chat he revealed that there was a special new person in his life. An incredible woman. Her name was Lulu.
“Wait.” I said. “Lulu? Like the chocolate? Remember when you gave me that chocolate in Nashville.”
He laughed. “Actually. It is that Lulu.”
I couldn’t wait to get off the phone. I ran to Henry’s room. “Uncle Zirque is dating Lulu!!”
“Lulu?” He asked? “Like the chocolate?”
“YES!” I said. We fell into reverent silence.
“What if they get married?” I said. (They’d had one date, at the time).
Henry’s big eyes lit up. “Best. Aunt. Ever.” He said.
“Yeah.” I said. “That really has to happen.”
Reader, it happened.
Our whole family fell in love with Lulu as instantly as we fell in love with her chocolate, and although we live too far away from each other, we get together when we can and it’s always a happy time, with chocolate for all. After our first visit to Zirque and Lulu’s home, one detail entered into permanent family legend: each morning, Lulu has a piece of chocolate with her tea. Chocolate for breakfast! We couldn’t imagine anything more perfectly decadent and wonderful.
In that spirit, I developed this recipe—chocolate for breakfast cookies. As crazy as that might sound, these make a healthy breakfast or a satisfying afternoon snack, with flaxseed, almond flour, oats, plenty of dark chocolate, and just enough coconut sugar. I dedicate them to Auntie Lulu, to family, and to love.
Chocolate for Breakfast Cookies
Yield: 9 cookies
Vegan, wheat-free, gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats)
¼ cup vegan butter (preferably unsalted)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 ounce chopped dark chocolate (NOT chocolate chips! I used 1 bar of Midnight Velvet)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt vegan butter and set aside to cool a bit.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water and let it sit. It’ll get kind of gelatinous—that’s what you want.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Stir melted, cooled butter into the flaxseed mixture. Add coconut sugar and vanilla and stir well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring as little as possible to combine. Fold in oats and chopped chocolate.
- Measure 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie and drop onto prepared baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Flatten gently with your fingers (they won’t spread much on their own) and bake for about 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to completely cool.
Cookies keep well for several days in a sealed container.