I’m going to be honest. For a while, in pursuit of a completely “healthy” lifestyle — one misguided by a lack of education, media and diet industries — I told myself I wasn’t a huge dessert person, let alone chocolate fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved chocolate. Chocolate banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and brownies — seriously, brownies — don’t get me started. But for a few years, I thought being healthy meant not allowing myself to eat some of the things I loved most. I have come a long way since then and have learned a lot through my rocky relationship with food. One of the more important things I learned is to embrace my love for dessert. And chocolate. I can happily say now that, if chocolate or dessert is not involved, I don’t want it. While it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I truly believe the healthiest lifestyle you can have is one that is balanced. If I want a cookie, I think it is important to honor that and bake a cookie recipe. That being said, one of my favorite hobbies is taking traditional recipes I love and attempting to make a version with wholesome ingredients. Eating whole foods filled with real ingredients is something I love because what a lot of people often don’t realize is that simple recipes are often the best. And they are easier to make half the time. While I love a delicious and complex cookie recipe, we are college students. We don’t always have time for that when the hunger clock strikes. What makes this recipe healthier is that I substituted refined sugar for maple syrup, a natural alternative with important antioxidants and minerals like zinc and potassium. The lower glycemic index compared to refined sugars means it has a less drastic impact on your blood sugar. The recipe also uses tahini instead in place of butter, which while grass-fed butter is not bad in moderation, the tahini is a great source of heart healthy fatty acids such omega-3 and omega-6. Almond flour is also used in this recipe as opposed to white flour of traditional recipes and lends its own rich, buttery flavor. This makes the recipe gluten-free, filled with more protein and fewer carbohydrates. I want to note that just because a recipe is healthy does not mean it has fewer calories. While these recipes often end up having a lesser total because of the shorter ingredient list, this is not the focus. Instead, I prefer to eat based on real, whole ingredients. This recipe is filled with better ingredients, which is more important than looking for the lowest-calorie option. I believe college students who are not always as educated on nutrition get caught up in trying to find the lowest-calorie option, but these options can be filled with artificial ingredients that are no better for your body and can sometimes even be worse. In this sense, a traditional recipe made with grass-fed butter and real sugar can actually be better than a low-calorie alternative. I love this recipe because there are only a few ingredients, and it takes under an hour to whip together — 30 minutes of which is just chilling the batter. Healthy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients: 3/4-1 cup tahini 1/2 cup almond flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder — I like the Trader Joe’s brand 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 cup chocolate chips 1 egg 1 tsp baking soda Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all the ingredients, except the egg and baking soda, in a large bowl. Then refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. The batter should be relatively thick, but refrigerating is key to keeping the pillowy shape of these cookies. After 30 minutes, take the dough out and mix in the egg and baking soda. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet — they should scoop out to make 10-12 cookies — and bake for about 13-14 minutes or until you start to see them get golden on top. Make sure you enjoy a couple while they are still warm! I should mention that these aren’t just shot-in-the-dark cookies. Every time I make them, I feel warm and fuzzy inside because of how silky and smooth they are. Last week, one of my favorite fitness instructors made my recipe on Facebook Live as a part of a Cookie Club he does — he tries recipes people send him over the course of a month, live streams the cooking process and, finally, rates the dish. He gave this recipe a 10 out of 10! These cookies really are that good.