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Recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Too good not to indulge in.

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.

7 Gold Coast shops with irresistible cookies

Nutella filled cookie with Belgian milk chocolate chunks, Gold Coast Cookies (image supplied)
Nutella filled cookie with Belgian milk chocolate chunks, Gold Coast Cookies (image supplied)

From swoon-worthy beaches to incredible breweries, everyone knows this glorious city of ours can be a bit of an overachiever. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some lesser-known, and downright delectable draw cards on offer – such as a bourgeoning, freshly-baked cookie scene courtesy of our stellar cohort of specialty baked goods purveyors.

And sure, while the concept of a ‘burgeoning cookie scene’ might be (mildly amusing) news for some, for true connoisseurs – scoping out and sampling these sweet morsels and their infinite iterations can be serious business. The ultimate, anytime treat that lands somewhere between snack and dessert, the humble cookie really does have it all: Portable. Portion-sized (theoretically). Satisfying. More flavours than you can dream of…

We could happily dedicate our days to munching our way through the finest cookies the Gold Coast alone has to offer, and never get bored. If this too sounds like your kinda bucket list, here’s some of the best cookie spots the GC has to offer – for your utmost snacking pleasure.

Biscoff White Choc, Milkman's Cookies (image supplied)
Biscoff White Choc, Milkman's Cookies (image supplied)

The Milkman’s Cookies
When two chirpy Gold Coast mates embarked on a quest to master the perfect cookie, it wasn’t long until the budding bakers had their eureka moment. Deciding to take a punt on hawking their sugary, secret weapon at the weekly HOTA Farmers’ Markets, the duo found colossal success – consistently selling out of their meticulously crafted wares, week in, week out. After finding fame among local sugar fiends, the next logical step for the duo was to branch into national distribution. And since we can now officially get out Milkman’s fix at locations like Harris Farm, it’s safe to say, mission successful on that front too, lads.
The one to munch: Biscoff White Choc – need we say more… (aside from ‘keep ‘em coming, please’)
Where: HOTA Markets at Bundall every Sunday, Alfred’s Apartment, Harris Farm Markets(QLD) and online.

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

A cute and unassuming cottage tucked in a leafy backstreet of Burleigh – beyond Paddock’s slice-of-suburbia vibing picket fence, lies a spot famous for churning out some of the best baked goods in town. And whatever the state-of-the-art bakers kitchen is whipping up on any given day, we’re having. ‘We’re fully grown adults’, we remind ourselves, as we resist the urge to smoosh our entire face against built-in viewing window, gazing at the alchemists working their magic within. Instead, guide that kid-in-a-candy-store enthusiasm in the general direction of the cabinet, where you can make your selection between flaky pastries, buttery tarts and, of course, a selection of gooey, soft-baked cookies, stuffed within an inch of their lives.
The one to munch: The Triple Threat, a combo of Macadamia Cookie, Nutella Bombs & Salted Caramel has it all (and if you have to share, it also comes in a whopper 1KG version!).
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads

Christina Baker, Gold Coast Cookies (image supplied)
Christina Baker, Gold Coast Cookies (image supplied)

Gold Coast Cookies
Currently in its GC bake-over era – from cafes, to Coles Express, seemingly everywhere we turn nowadays, we’re greeted by Gold Coast Cookies… and we’re not mad about it. From humble beginnings, hand-delivering cookies for free around the city, bringing buttery hand-baked joy in the first few months of the pandemic, to supplying to over 150 cafes nationwide in the space of a year – owner Christina’s pandemic hobby got out of hand, fast. These days, you can find the painstakingly developed recipes and flavour combo’s in stockists all over town (track them down via DM on socials while their new website is in the works).
The one to munch: The brand new Buena flavour, bursting with choc chips and topped with white chocolate hazelnut cream, has us enchanted. Bliss.
Where: Coles Express (QLD), select cafes and online

Peanut butter, roasted peanut, chocolate cookie, Currumbin Cookies (image supplied)
Peanut butter, roasted peanut, chocolate cookie, Currumbin Cookies (image supplied)

Currumbin Cookies
The signature treats on offer at Currumbin Cookies are truly something special. Delightfully different from others you’ll find on the Coast, what sets them apart is that they use a sourdough base for their sweet little parcels of perfection. The result is a light and fluffy crumb, crispy exterior and a more complex taste profile – yum! Another dough whisperer you can find at local markets.
The one to munch: Brown butter, chocolate and pecans – a delectable combo, eh?
Where: Burleigh Market and Palm Beach Farmers Market every Saturday

Double Choc Brownie Cookie, Custard Canteen (image supplied)
Double Choc Brownie Cookie, Custard Canteen (image supplied)

Custard Canteen
If you’ve ventured by Tallebudgera Creek in recent years (and if you haven’t… we have questions) then you’d most probably be familiar with the requisite Custard Canteen pit stop, convenient as it is downright delicious. Churning out all-day brunch staples and delightfully buttery treats daily, it’s little wonder that it fast became a fixture among creek dwellers. If it’s cookies you seek, the selection is here is second-to-none – after all, Custard comes courtesy of the original crew behind much-lauded Bam Bam Bakehouse and Cubby Bakehouse. With biscuit credentials like those, they certainly know how the cookie crumbles.
The one to munch: We’re hard pressed to go past the Salted Caramel White Choc— gooey, decadent and ohh so good.
Where: Tallebudgera Creek, 1525 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Brownie Cookie, Tarte Bakery, Burleigh (image supplied)
Brownie Cookie, Tarte Bakery, Burleigh (image supplied)

When Gold Coasters have got sugar on the mind, the mental gymnastics of squeezing a Tarte side quest to into the schedule almost always follows. And luckily, for sweet treat fiends (well, maybe not our waistlines) that feat is easier than ever. These days, devotees of Tarte’s delicious wares can choose to get their fix at either Burleigh or Currumbin, thanks to a second, Parisian-inspired site that now fronts the suburb’s iconic creek. Helmed by pastry prodigy Chloe Watts, we have plenty to thank the game-changing bakehouse brand for – starting with the heaven-sent array of cookies emerging fresh from the oven daily. We defy anyone who can leave empty-handed.
The one to munch: Choc Brownie Cookie is truly elite-tier – soft and gooey on the inside, chewy cookie on the outside.
Where: 2 West Street, Burleigh Heads and Shop 1 2/4 Thrower Dr, Currumbin

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

Dough House Cookies
If you consider yourself a cookie connoisseur, prepare to blow your dough once you get a taste of the moorish treats that Bundall-based outfit, Dough House Cookies is delivering to the masses ( – literally, they ship Australia-wide #deadly). Their deluxe goodies are a common sight gracing the displays of coveted caffeine hot-spots across the coast – counting Blackboard Varisty, Elk Espresso, and Pasture & Co among its stockists. Which means you never have to venture far to get your fix when the hankering hits. Or, order online and have them sent direct to you (or gift to a loved one, if you’re feeling generous).
The one to munch: Red Velvet Oreo Nutella is a revelation and we will not hear otherwise.
Where: head to their site to find stockists or order online

Words by Kellie Leader.

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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