My relationship with Los Angeles has been long and complicated. I moved here for college without really giving it much of an evaluation, and due to the fact that I lived in South Central for 4 years, quickly developed a bad taste in my mouth for the city. Since graduating, though, I’ve tried hard to give LA a fighting chance. Just ask my sister about the intense row that ensued this past Christmas when she argued that I should move to Portland, and I defended LA with all I had. “But…but…I never have to sit in traffic. I can get anywhere in 20 minutes, I swear! Who needs public transportation? Or clean air? Or self esteem?” Sister contended that my health food and fitness obsession and poor body image (and denial therein) must be attributed to the pervasive superficiality of the entertainment culture! “Nonsense!” I retorted. “In NO way am I affected by the hundreds of thousands of rail-thin, tan, impeccably dressed women that I see and interact with daily!”
But, as hard as it is to admit that my big sister is
sometimes right, I’ve started to realize my incongruity with this place. Most people that live in LA have a really good reason to do so; they are, or are trying to be, an actor, are romantically involved with someone who is, were born and raised and have family here, etc. I have no such reason. I graduated, had no other good idea of where to go, and so I stayed. And now I have a job and an apartment and friends, so it feels like I should keep staying. But maybe I would be happier without long, polluted drives and pressure to conform to some ridiculous physical ideal. Especially when that pressure is compounded by other pressures, like GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON. What the heck, man? How can I be expected to keep the balance when I’ve got 115 pound bronzed blondes in head-to-toe, all-white Lululemon to stare at in yoga class (I mean, really. White spandex? Who can pull that off?), and a sleeve full of Thin Mints waiting in the freezer when I get home? It’s just not fair.
So until I find the right place, the groove, the peace of mind, here’s a healthful alternative to help. These cookies are not LA-thin. They are thick, nutty, chewy, and full of real, good food: happy fats, natural sugar, protein, tons of energy providers! A real, down-to-earth, stick-to-your-ribs kind of cookie. Enjoy!
Thick Mints (adapted from The Edible Perspective)
- 7-8 Medjool Dates
- 3/4 cup nuts of your choice (I did mostly almonds, some peanuts and walnuts)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1/2 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil or extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Handful of dark chocolate chunks or chips
- First process the nuts together- I left some big pieces to ensure some crunch. Pour into a bowl.
- Put shredded coconut, coconut oil, and mint into the processor and pulse until the mint is in teeny pieces and the 3 are well incorporated. Add to your bowl.
- Process dates until they’re in small pieces and add them to the nuts in your bowl.
- Pour the contents of your bowl back into the processor, add peppermint extract, cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks, and pulse just a few times until everything is incorporated.
- Form ping-pong sized balls with the dough. It’ll be crumbly, but if you squish enough and then refrigerate, they’ll hold together. I flattened mine slightly and made them more like discs to replicate a cookie-shape. This recipe should make about nine of that size cookie (or if you eat the dough as you go like I did, eight) or could easily be doubled.