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Recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie (image supplied)
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie (image supplied)

Have a bit of spare time on your hands? Make these simple and delicious cookies. They are as healthy as cookies get. Enjoy!

1½ cups almond meal or ground almonds
1 cup dried dates
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons cacao powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons natural crunchy peanut butter
¼ cup water
Extra peanut butter for garnish (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a food processor place the almond meal and the dried dates. Whizz until the dates are a very fine crumble. Add the cacao, shredded coconut and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add the peanut butter and water and mix together until the mixture is moist and all the ingredients are fully combined. Roll the dough into 16 balls and place in a row on the baking try. With a wet fork, press each ball down to form the shape of a cookie. Place the bikkies in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Garnish with a small dollop of peanut butter.

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

8 Gold Coast shops with irresistible cookies

Nutella Choc, The Milkman's Cookies (image supplied)
Nutella Choc, The Milkman's Cookies (image supplied)

Everyone knows the Gold Coast has swoon-worthy beaches, incredible breweries, and inspiring places to eat out any time of the day. These things are aspects our city nails without even trying. There is, however, other stuff we see creeping into the mainstay, and we would also argue that our freshly baked cookies can’t be beaten.

An undervalued dessert, cookies are the joy of life. From classic chocolate chip to some incredibly diverse and interesting fillings: why should kids get all the fun?

These days you mightn’t realise it, but there are a decent collection of bakers here on the Coast who knock these tasty, sweet morsels out by the dozens. We’ve researched the best cookie spots around the Gold Coast, and once you’ve tasted these treats, there’s a serious chance you’ll be longing for cookies after every meal #sorrynotsorry.

The Milkman’s Cookies
When two chirpy Gold Coast mates, devoted to all things sweet, decided to try their hand at making cookies, the results, well, were pretty special. So much so they then decided to take their spoils to the weekly Farmers’ Markets at HOTA Bundall. And after colossal success and consistently selling out of their fresh-baked pieces of joy, they thought it only fitting to then make themselves available for national distribution and delivering all over the country!
The one to munch: Nutella Choc — an oozy Nutella centre awaits
Where: HOTA Markets at Bundall every Sunday or online

Caramilk Cookie, Paddock Bakery (Image supplied)
Caramilk Cookie, Paddock Bakery (Image supplied)

This quaint fairy tale looking old Queenslander hidden away on a leafy backstreet of Burleigh has earned itself nothing short of a cult following over the last few years. And when you drop by for any of their fresh-baked savoury or sweet fare, you’ll fully understand why. A state-of-the-art baker’s kitchen with a built-in glass wall allows you to take in the magicians at work any time of the day — making some of the tastiest baked goods in the country is an around the clock endeavour, let us tell you. Often regarded as THE mid-morning spot to catch up with the gang over great coffee, flaky croissants and of course, the crumbliest cookies.
The one to munch: Caramilk Cookie — because Caramilk is simply the best (and if you have to share, it also comes in a 1KG version!).
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads

Gold Coast Cookies
When American ex-pat and cookie addict Christina decided to make the perfect cookie, she had no idea that she’d be supplying to over 150 cafes nationwide and also to a horde of fans right here on the Gold Coast within the space of a year. In starting, she hand-delivered cookies for free around the city, bringing crumbly joy in the first few months of the pandemic. But it’s not just her generosity that has won people over; it’s her carefully researched and developed recipe, which involved literally 50 different trials! There’s a strong chance you’ll find Gold Coast Cookies in a café near you; hunt them down with a handy online stockist map found on their website.
The one to munch: Triple Choc Cookie — triple the threat and triply good!
Where: online or select cafes

Currumbin Bakehouse interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Currumbin Bakehouse interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Currumbin Bakehouse
What Canadian owner Troy doesn’t know about baking probably isn’t worth getting upset about. Using a sourdough base for all his cookies has a more distinct taste profile and is bendier and softer than your average cookie — yum! Another market goer who thought it was time to upscale and bring his creations to the masses. You’ll find their cute hole in the wall storefront in Currumbin, conveniently right next to a Nook Espresso coffee outlet.
The one to munch: Coconut, Milk Choc, Vanilla — three of the best flavours combine
Where: 2A, 31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin

Custard Canteen
As if heading down to Tallebudgera Creek on a majestic Winter/Spring morning and submerging in crystal-like water isn’t enough, you now have delicious buttery and sweet treats to make this your favourite place to take a dip and have a treat. The proprietors are the original crew behind much-lauded Bam Bam Bakehouse, and Cubby Bakehouse across the border in Chinderah. With biscuit credentials like those, they know how the cookie crumbles.
The one to munch: Salted Caramel, White Choc and Cream Cheese Cookie or their Quad Choc Cookie — decadent and ohh so good.
Where: Tallebudgera Creek, 1525 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Quad Choc Cookie at Custard Canteen (image supplied)
Quad Choc Cookie at Custard Canteen (image supplied)

Krumm Cookie Co
On the northern end of the coast at Westfield Coomera Krumm Cookie Co. is the place to grab something sweet whilst you’re out testing your credit card limit. Nine different varieties are on offer, so taking a box home for friends and family will be sure to please everyone. It makes you think, retail therapy and cookies are quite literally a match made in heaven — well-played Krumm Cookie Co., well played.
The one to munch: Double Chocolate Sea Salt — just trust us.
Where: Westfield Coomera, 103 Foxwell Road, Coomera

The already prodigious Burleigh café scene went up a gear when Tarte opened its doors a year ago. The reason why? Where do we begin?! If the tranquil leafy outlook coupled with a French inspired breakfast menu for the ages doesn’t grab you, then inventive baked goods such as the Bolognese Pie and their Kouign Amann will. When the time comes for something sweet, though, sweet goods are where these guys shine, an assortment of freshly made daily cookies awaits you. Or, if you should feel inclined, take one away to devour later… if it makes it to ‘later.’
The one to munch: Cookie Cups — because why not have your milk and cookie in one?!
Where: 2 West Street, Burleigh Heads

Tarte Bakery and Cafe (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Tarte Bakery and Cafe (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Dough House Cookies
Are you even familiar with Cookie Pies? Well, if not, an encounter with this sensational purveyor of cookies will change all that. These deep-filled and often gooey cookies takes an innocent treat to a whole new indulgent level with a thickness that simply cannot be matched. You’ll find them in a select handful of cafes across the Coast but fear not, as they can also be ordered and delivered super-fast across the Gold Coast or even shipped across the country. If not for you to devour, these pieces of joy would make a fabulous present for someone you think deserves them!
The one to munch: Biscoff Cookie Butter Spread – Biscoff is a gift from God, that’s why.
Where: online

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Selection of Cookie Pies, Dough House (image supplied)
Selection of Cookie Pies, Dough House (image supplied)

Caralee Fontenele

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been lucky enough to be a Gold Coast resident since 2003. This is where I have raised my kids, created my career and business and I could not be happier to now be a Gold Coaster, even if I do still have a slight kiwi accent.

What do you love most about living here?
Of course, I love the beaches and lifestyle, but the biggest thing that I’ve come to love and appreciate is the incredible community we have on the Gold Coast. Especially now, as these weeks unfold, it is amazing to be part of such a generous and supportive business community.

Tell us about your new cookbook, Nourishing You…
I was invited to be part of a campaign in Queensland called Dancing CEO’s to raise awareness and funds for domestic violence. The commitment to raise funds is large, so I got my thinking cap on and came up with the idea to create a third cookbook where I could donate the pre-sale proceeds to the campaign. I wanted to tie the theme of the book into issues that busy women have. Particularly that as women, we tend to place our own nourishment at the bottom of our priority list. As a lawyer running a medium-sized law practice in a difficult area of law, separation and divorce, I see all too often how women put their own needs last. We simply cannot pour from an empty cup to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits, we need to have more fuel in the tank for ourselves and our families.

Nourishing You has a focus not only on the foods that we eat to nourish ourselves but also elements of how to nourish your mind, body and spirit. I share lots of tips and strategies on how to carve out time, so that you can make your own nourishment a priority. There are also 100 amazing gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free recipes, that are made with real ingredients. The recipes are different because I am a busy mother and lawyer, rather than a chef so my recipes are simple, using easy to source everyday ingredients. My favourite chapter is called, ‘better than take-aways’. This is where I share recipes of take-away favourites that you can cook at home in less than 20 minutes. Things like healthy versions of pad thai, butter chicken, fish tacos or green curry. Perfect now in times when we are needing to be cooking more at home. More than ever, we need to be nourishing ourselves and getting back to the basics of life.

What are some of the most nourishing foods we should be eating right now?
Right now, more than ever before, we need to be looking after our wellbeing both physically and mentally. Along with eating loads of real foods including lots of veggies, we also need to be feeding our minds with positivity, moving our bodies even if it is in front of a youtube dance or yoga class and being out in nature when we can. In terms of foods, with extra time at home, we can get back to the basics of life, focus on home cooking using real ingredients.

Can you talk to us about some of the quickest, easiest recipes available in your book?
The book has tons of recipes for breakfast that are vegetable loaded. There are soups made from simple, humble ingredients that are nutritious and super tasty. Salad bowls for lunches or main meals, again with simple but delicious combinations of ingredients. I show you how to make an at-home salad bar so that creating bowls is a breeze. For dinner, there is a chapter full of dishes that are better than take-away and include all of your favourite dishes that you normally order, but I show how they can be made in less time and for a fraction of the cost. Of course, no recipe book is complete without sweet treats. Many of the sweets have hidden veggies in them such as the Zucchini Brownies and Spiced Carrot Cake Balls.

What is the process of creating a cookbook?
It is quite the process and commitment, but it is fun and creative which is the part that I enjoy! I lay out what each chapter in the book will be and then dream up different recipe ideas to suit each chapter. Then I get cooking, testing and trialling — my family love this part. Once I have nailed down the dishes I want to include, I get in touch with my incredible food photographer and stylist, Jo Anderson, who is also a local. I go to her studio over many days and cook all the recipes for her to style and shoot. Every single recipe in the book has an image because I love recipe books where you can see exactly what the meal looks like. In creating Nourishing You, I wrote the first chapters that teach you how to nourish your life, not just with food but in mind, body and spirit, and once all the text was complete, the book went to an editor. This all then went to the graphic designer, local Belinda Chatfield, who did an incredible job. Once the book is finally put together, it goes off to the printers which is roughly around a 4-month process of getting proofs, finalising everything and getting the book shipped. Right now, I am excited to get a hard copy in my hand! I am so proud of how the book has turned out and can’t wait to share the recipes and the incredibly important message with everyone.

Do you have a favourite recipe to cook from home?
I go through phases. Because I am so creative in the kitchen it is hard to stick to one recipe. I will make one thing five times over a few weeks and then not make it again because I move on to my new favourite creation. Right now, I have been making a beautiful simple Indian Dahl recipe which you can find on my website here: https://caraleefontenele.com/easy-home-made-indian-dahl/

Where can we find your new book?
My cookbook is online for pre-sale right now here. If you buy a pre-sale copy, I will sign it for you and you will be the first to get your hands on it! Once the book is released, you will be able to find it where all good books are sold and on my website here.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: I love Merlo at Ferry Road Markets or Roost in Southport. These are both local to me and make great coffee.
Cafe for breakfast: I mostly make breakfast at home, but if I do go out I love Darkk at Chirn Park for a lovely breaky.
Restaurant for dinner: There are so many great places on the Gold Coast, honestly, we eat home a lot because I love to cook. But if we do go out it is somewhere simple like the local Korean BBQ, where we cook together as a family and eat simple real food.
How does your weekend usually look: We have a small yacht, so every moment we can we go sailing to enjoy nature, visit secluded spots and view the amazing wildlife that we have here on the Gold Coast. Boat living, cooking, swimming and hanging out as a family in nature, these are all the things that I love.

Recipe: Chocolate Granola

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and one including chocolate is surely the most delicious. Try this simple, healthy granola for something a little bit sweeter in the mornings.

1 ½ cups raw almonds
½ a cup of pecans
½ a cup of cashews
½ a cup of sunflower seeds
2 cups of shredded coconut
½ a cup of cacao powder
1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat your oven to 130 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the almonds, pecans and cashew nuts in a food processor and blitz for only a few seconds. You want the mixture to be crunched down a little but ideally there will still be a few whole nuts.
Place the sunflower seeds and coconut into the food processor and blitz for a few seconds until the mixture is combined but still chunky.
Place the dry mixture in a bowl. To prepare the wet mixture, in a small bowl whisk together the cacao, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Once the wet mixture is combined, pour into the dry mixture and coat the nuts evenly.  Spread the coated granola evenly in a single layer on the baking tray.
Place in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes, shaking the tray once at around 25 minutes and then let bake for a minimum of a further 25 minutes.  Let the granola stand to cool for a couple of hours once baked and then store in an airtight container or jar.

Makes 5 cups
Preparation time 15 minutes
Baking time 50 minutes

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

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