With the stay-at-home mandate keeping us inside over the holiday weekend, we’re all on the hunt for great Easter and Passover takeout options and at-home recipes. We’ve been in touch with some of our favorite local restaurants for ideas. Here, David Robbins, the executive chef at Shangri La Springs’ organic restaurant Harvest & Wisdom, shares a healthy recipe for carrot-cake inspired cookies, which he has cutely dubbed Chocolate Chip Bunnies.
The sweet treats are packed with nutrient-dense, organic ingredients that you can shop at the store or online at local food pantries. “I hope you enjoy these bunnies safely at home with your loved ones,” the chef says, adding that this healthy take on a sweet treat can inspire us to rethink the way we eat. “We can make better food choices for ourselves and our community.”
Chef David Robbins’ Chocolate Chip Bunnies
What you’ll need
- 6-8 cups organic carrots chopped in medium chunks (or whole baby carrots—either will yield 3 ½ cup dried carrot crumb for dry ingredients below)
- 2-3 oranges (zested and juiced; reserve zest for dry ingredients)
- 6 ounces organic butter, room temperature
- 6 ounces organic virgin coconut oil, room temperature
- 6 ounces raw organic local honey
- 2 ounces organic coconut palm sugar
- 4 ounces organic brown sugar
- 2 large brown organic free range eggs (chef suggests from Bonita’s Circle C Farm)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon vanilla extract
- 2 cups organic all purpose flour
- 1 cup organic brown rice flour
- ½ cup organic buckwheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon dried ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon organic fresh ginger, zested on microplane)
- 2 to 3 oranges zested (see oranges above)
- 1 cup organic rolled oats (chef says do not substitute steel cut)
- 3 teaspoons large flake sea salt (chef suggests Maldon)
- 1 cup pepitas
- 3 ½ to 4 cups dried carrot crumb (see carrots above; pack firmly into measuring cup and reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
- 2 to 3 cups organic dark chocolate chunks
- Food processor
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer (with 6 quart mixing bowl & paddle attachment)
- Sifter or fine mesh strainer
- 4 ounce ice cream scoop
Easily change this recipe to gluten free & vegan with these substitutions:
- Switch all purpose flour for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour.
- Switch butter for virgin coconut oil.
- Switch 2 eggs with 4 ounces aquafaba.
- Switch honey with agave nectar or brown rice syrup.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Blend carrots and orange juice in a food processor until a slightly chunky paste is formed. The carrots should be approximately the size of bread crumbs.
- Evenly spread out the carrot mixture over a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until carrots begin to dry and become loose like moist bread crumbs.
- While the crumb bakes, place all wet ingredients (butter, coconut oil, sweeteners, eggs and vanilla) into a stand mixer and blend with a paddle on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
- Sift together all dry ingredients (except oats, flake sea salt, pepitas, dried carrot crumbs and chocolate chunks) into a mixing bowl.
- Add sifted dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mix on slow to medium speed until a cohesive dough begins to form.
- Slowly mix in remaining dry ingredients until dough is even and thick.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Robbins says this is an important step, or the cookies will melt and lose their shape while baking.
- Form the cookies using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
- Gently press the dough balls down into a large burger patty shape, adding extra chocolate chunks on top if you would like.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes, then turn heat up to 420 degrees and continue baking for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy warm with a glass of your favorite cold milk (Robbins suggests Ripple Nutritious Pea Milk).