Chocolate and Sea Salt; One Common Plate

There is much written about how to fight the commercial engine of Christmas and simplify the holidays. Each year we take a couple more steps to resist antagonistic stress and embrace the good cheer of holding our families and friends dear. This December, I did the majority of my shopping at second-hand and consignment stores. We worked on a holiday greeting that we’ll send out as a New Year marker and for the Christmas baking, I embraced a low-involvement and no-sugar recipe that used the combination of chocolate and sea salt as directed by the efforts of 1Common Plate at

Simple Holiday Cookies

Simple Holiday Cookies

The notion of raw foods always captures my attention as I near the new year. It seems a terrific time to reset expectations, set goals and draw up plans that I hope to accomplish. Near the top of my list in 2014 will be a lighter, more enlightened diet as a food centric lifestyle has manifested results in clothes that aren’t fitting well and a general concern for other health risks that follow. This recipe easily becomes raw with a different choice of almond meal and a replacement of the maple syrup with another sweetener such as agave. The result is a not too sweet treat that also doesn’t tax your time.

Nearly-Raw Chocolate Cookies with Salted Caramel
from the Sweet Life Online
yields 16 cookies


  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (mine is from blanched almonds)
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 5-6 tbsp Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
  • sea salt for topping


Drain and rinse the walnuts and place in a food processor with almond meal and cacao powder. Blend until well combined. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp sea salt and blend again until a thick dough begins to form.


Roll dough into balls about the size of a large tablespoon. Flatten each ball and press an indentation in the center of each with thumb.  Place cookies in a food dehydrator set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 3-4 hours, until cookies are crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. Unwilling to drag the dehydrator in from the garage, I used our warming tray for this and left the cookies for about two hours.

While cookies are dehydrating (or warming), make the Caramel Sauce. Remove cookies from the warming tray. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of Caramel Sauce and return to the warmer or dehydrator for approximately 20 more minutes. Top with fine sea salt. Store in refrigerator.

Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce
yields 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup (about 6) Medjool dates, pitted and soaked at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Drain and rinse nuts and dates. Combine all the ingredients and process in a food processor or vitamin until very smooth. Process until very smooth. Store in a jar in refrigerator for up to 10 days. (Good for many other uses like ice cream topping!)

Leave a comment


  1. I’ve been reading some pretty startling things about the downside of agave syrup. Gives on pause.

    • Yes! I’ve read those also and you’ll note that I stuck to maple. More to come on that though – our desert friends will be well informed on the topic.

  2. This sounds absolutely delicious. I’m not going to get mine done this week. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas 🙂

  3. Hi Tammy, To the simplification of Christmas!
    The cookies look delicious, but it’s that “nearly raw” caramel sauce that has captured my imagination.
    We will have our one-year-old grandson (and his parents) with us for the holidays—best gift ever. Wishing you and yours joy and peace. Nancy

    • I’ll bet you’re really looking forward to the visit. As long as there are no nut allergies, that caramel sauce is worthy. Merry Christmas Nancy!

  4. Sally

     /  December 19, 2013

    Always enjoyable to read your blog, Tammy. This one so much fun. I am with you on the agave. Honey and Maple syrup have so many contributions to health.
    I made a dessert to serve with fruit slices using layers of ground, dried figs, filberts, almonds and walnuts. Sliced in pie shapes for the platter. I will make your cookies next. They look wonderful.
    Merry Christmas Dear Tammy. Happy New Year.

  5. Simplifying Christmas . . . and Life . . . pays real dividends! 😀

  6. Lisa H

     /  December 19, 2013

    That caramel sauce looks yummy! What is it about salt and cocoa? The two were made for each other. Thanks for a simple holiday cookie!

  7. You sound super-organised. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed the same feat. I love the look of your cookies and it’s great to know that something festive doesn’t have to heavy on the sugar xx

    • Oh darling, despite best attempts, super organized doesn’t land here. Especially after seeing your gorgeous Christmas cookie selection!! This one is so simple.

  8. These are amazing tasty looking cookies & I love your raw home-made caramel,..It looks smashing too! A lovely win-win combination,…excellent for Christmas,…ooh yeah! x

  9. I think your approach to simplifying the holiday season is really great. I have simplified a bit this year, I really have…and I think it’s still too much. I need to reconsider my direction going into 2014. Lovely cookies, and I like the element of “raw.” Keep it up. 🙂

  10. Ah yes, I can relate to those snugger clothes too. So far, I have skipped baking cookies entirely (except for the gingersnaps which went to a benefit) in my simplification efforts and plan to invite my nieces over for the family tradition of making homemade egg noodles rather than the more typical cookie decorating.

  11. Interesting sounding cookies!

  12. I try every year to simplify Christmas but it never seems to work out. I did omit a couple things this year (and feel guilty about it 🙂 ). Have a great holiday!

    • It’s not so much the omit as it is the redo. I still have to get my boys out for a bit of shopping for each other.

  13. I’m going to have to get my hands on some dates and try this caramel sauce. I like caramel but not all the sugar, this sounds much healthier 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  14. This is the kind of recipe I like very much–thank you, Tammy. Looks so delicious; just might have to try it. By the way, do you know what to do with raw cacao nibs? Just bought some and am a little puzzled. Perhaps you could grind it up in a blender to make the powder?

  15. Sally

     /  December 22, 2013

    I had your cookie and the only thing remotely wrong was not enough of that wonderful caramel. Delish!

  16. I haven’t made raw cookies although I liked to nibble on cookie dough when baking with mom as a child. 😉 I imagine chocolate and sea salt make an intriguing and appealing combination!

  17. A sweet, delicious holiday treat.

  18. These look great! I’ve been trying to cut down on refined sugars and stay closer to natural ingredients, so it’s always nice to find new recipes with the same goal!


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