When work interferes with life. And food.

So headed off to Nebraska for work for a week. Not a bad trip.. get to see old friends and my mother-in-law is there as well. Plus a taste of winter. But when it comes to food, I gotta say it truly isn't a healthy eater's paradise. Now in all fairness, I don't live there now, haven't for well over a decade. But the decade I spent there I learned the meaning of absolute gluttony. Seriously. Prime rib was served by the pound, not up to a pound. Buffets had a little bit of salad and a whole lot of dessert. They have some excellent food by the way, just not very good for you. So I'm sure some of it's changed but eating out is hard enough in Tucson, where healthy food is at least available. Not so sure in Nebraska.

I don't want to take any chances. So, while I'm sure I can get some good salads to sustain me, my ever-present sweet tooth will demand satisfaction. So I have to bring my own. I just put a batch of Almond Butter Cups in the freezer, that's my late night craving. 

And daytime? I'll need some snacks. Sure I've got my pumpkin seeds and I'll have some nuts... other than those who occupy the office... but... there's the sweet tooth screaming feed me.

I thought about a batch of muffins, but they will take up too much room in the suitcase. So I thought cookies! My first attempt wasn't too bad, let's try another. This time chocolate. With walnuts. I knew using the almond flour was making them soft, and until they cool down, too crumbly to eat. So I reduced the cream cheese and let the butter and cream cheese come to room temperature first.

The next trick... let them completely cool, then transfer to a dish and refrigerate. Don't try to eat them warm from the oven trust me they will disintegrate in your hands. And for some reason, the second tray (if you don't have a large enough oven to bake all at once) always burns. Now it also may be that my first batch the cookies are always much larger. Second tray I seem to be running out of dough and make it stretch. I'm working on that. Guess it's my own issue.  I will guarantee you two things. First, they will taste like a brownie. And once again, you can eat the cookie dough. I've decided why on earth put egg in a cookie if it means you can't eat the dough. 

Chocolate Walnut Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Walnut Brownie Cookies
1 cup almond flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup swerve (or equivalent sugar or sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside. Using electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, swerve and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Slowly add dry ingredients from bowl. Finally, fold in the walnuts. Spoon on to parchment lined tray and flatten down with back of spoon. They may spread, but not much so leave some room. 

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Best to start checking at 12 minutes.  Remove and let cool 10 minutes on tray. Slide off the parchment and on to a cookie rack to complete cooling. When firm, refrigerate overnight before serving in airtight container. If you're travelling like I am, best to make sure your snacks are cold, and pack them with a cool pack in your suitcase. Sugar-free baked goods don't have a shelf life when they're made at home. No preservatives. So keeping them cold is essential. And of course stay in a hotel with a fridge. My choice is usually a Marriott... fridge, microwave and free breakfast. Can't beat it. 

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