Get Out of Your Rut + Whole Food Plant Based Chocolate Chip Cookies

whole food plant based chocolate chip cookies

First things first. Make these plant based chocolate chip cookies below to nosh on and then watch my video chat.

Today I’m sharing a really special conversation with you. If your life feels overwhelming and you feel stuck in a rut, this talk will help. Erica Williams is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I thought we were going to talk about food, but I was so glad we didn’t. You’ll see why when you watch our talk. It’s a long one, but it is SO worth the watch.

This is the only talk I’ve had for the blog where I legit got teary eyed. I’m not a crier, but Erica’s words and story, and most of all, her amazing presence was enough to make me tear up on several occasions. Erica is a gift to the world, and this talk is straight up salve for the soul.

Here’s a note from Erica before you watch our chat:

Hello! I’m Erica and I’ve been a CFDG plant based meal plan subscriber and member of the community since January 2018.

I love to run, knit, and travel! Eating plants has been the best fuel for these adventures, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes what’s best for us isn’t always the easiest to stick with. I like to say I’m an enthusiastic but imperfect dirty girl! After a phenomenal 2019 packed with a wedding, lots of running (I ran 2,019 miles and PR’ed – a personal record – every distance from 5K to 100 miles) and so much excitement, the start of 2020 knocked the wind out of my sails.

I spent the first half of the year hunkered down and looking for comfort in the old familiar rhythms of a sedentary life. I credit Lyndsey’s radiant smile for waking me up! And I’m so excited to be getting back to the joys of an active and plant-based life! But I’m also learning how to show myself some grace!

PS: My absolute favorite meal plan was #Bowls! I could eat that meal plan for the rest of my life. Olives and raisins, say what?!

This video contains adult language.

Closed Captioning available.

Quitting drinking gave me the courage to create a life that I didn’t want to escape from

Erica Williams
Erica Williams smiling

Erica, you radiate love, strength, and confidence, and your smile lights up the world. Thank you for talking with me. Thank you for sharing your story. I am humbled and inspired.

Did you make these plant based chocolate chip cookies? Talk to me in the comments below.

Here are links to some of the things we talked about in our chat:

whole food plant based chocolate chip cookies

Plant Based Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 12 cookies
Author: Molly Patrick


  • 1 cup almond flour (100 g)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (100 g)
  • ½ cup nut or seed butter (like peanut or sunflower) (125 g)
  • ½ cup date sugar (60 g)
  • ½ cup raisins (75 g)
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds (may also be called flaxseed meal) (25 g)
  • ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup vegan dark chocolate chips (90 g)
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (55 g)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Place the almond flour, rolled oats, nut or seed butter, date sugar, raisins, and ground flax seeds into a high powered blender or food processor and process until it looks like powder and there are no chunks of raisins or big oat pieces.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl and then add the non-dairy milk, chocolate chips, pecans, vanilla, and salt. Mix until everything is combined and the dough forms a sticky ball.
  • Using a quarter cup measuring cup, scoop up some batter and roll into a ball with your hands. Place the ball onto the baking sheet and repeat so that you have 12 cookie balls, spaced about an inch apart. If you want to get really precise, each ball should weigh about 50-55 grams. Just make sure you have 12 cookie balls, about the same size.
  • Use the bottom of a glass to press each cookie down so that it is no longer a ball. If you wet the bottom of the glass with a little water before you do this the batter won’t stick as much. When all the cookies are flattened out, wet your hands with water and then roll the glass over the cookies so they spread out a bit. The water on your hands will help the batter from sticking to the glass. These cookies don’t get bigger or spread out as they bake, so the size you make them will be the size they are when they come out of the oven. You can roll them out as much as you want, but 2 inches makes for a satisfying cookie bite.
  • When all your cookies are rolled out, place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.


To make these cookies gluten-free, be sure to purchase oats that specify gluten-free processing.


Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Cheryl on August 15, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Is regular flour an option? I can’t afford almond flour right now.

    • Jacquie on August 15, 2020 at 9:54 am

      I was going to ask the same thing about using whole wheat flour.

      • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 15, 2020 at 11:30 am

        Hi Jacquie! See my reply to Cheryl below. ~Karen

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 15, 2020 at 11:30 am

      Hi Cheryl – Most likely this recipe will not work the same with whole wheat flour but we haven’t tried it. Almond flour functions differently because it’s made from nuts rather than from a grain, like wheat flour. If it were a smaller amount of almond flour it might be possible, but it’s a central ingredient in the cookies so will likely change the recipe significantly. Oats might work but, again, that’s a grain and we haven’t tested it. We will try to test an alternative at some point in the future and will update the recipe if it’s workable once we do! ~Karen on behalf of Team Dirty

      • Jennifer on August 20, 2022 at 1:14 pm

        Could chopped dates sub for raisins here?

        • Team Dirty - Brittany on August 23, 2022 at 9:09 am

          Yes! Molly thinks they’d work well.

  2. Laura on August 15, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Erica is awesome. I respect her privacy but would love to follow her on Instagram.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 15, 2020 at 11:20 am

      Hi Laura – She sure is! Follow Erica on Instagram over here. ~Karen

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Hi Laura! Thanks so much!

  3. Peggy on August 15, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    I found a trick for keeping cookies from sticking when flattening them before baking. I cut a small piece of wax paper and put it over the cookie before placing the glass on top. No sticking!

  4. Cynthia Crumlish on August 15, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Erica, what a delightful sojourn! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this exchange while knitting. One of my former students went to the boarding school in California that you mentioned – put a big smile on my face and in my heart.

    • Kim W on August 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      Erica, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’ve loved your posts in the groups and you really do have that “it” thing. It radiates from you. You also have a wisdom that is wonderful to listen to.

      I’ve been sober for almost 10 years, so some of your trials and tribulations sound quite familiar. Thanks for being an inspiration to keep going, to keep eating plants, to keep trying new things.

      • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 11:48 am

        Kim, thank you for the super kind comment! I appreciate you. And congrats on 10 years of sobriety! I’m about to hit 4 and it’s probably the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life (but I don’t have kids)! Keep on going! As I like to say to get myself psyched, Let’s go! Let’s go!

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Cynthia! That’s pretty cool on the Thacher connection. Thank you for listening and sharing. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the chat! It was so much fun!

  5. Diane on August 15, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Reacting to your email, Molly. It pierced me because it describes incredibly well what I go through periodically. You are so not alone. And I know what you mean when you say it’s not a welcome party, but you have to open your heart and feel everything. To me, it’s like “ok, I learned it’s not going to go away if I try to distract myself, but it will pass faster if I just sit with it. So let’s do it and it’ll be over sooner.” I hate it though. And I still at times try and distract myself. Especially because it always starts in the evening when I’m tired. And I can’t sleep. I have to keep reminding myself that these are just thoughts, that they have ne real bearing and I don’t have to believe them and feed them on and on. Just feel, see the thoughts go by, but don’t hold onto them, don’t follow the thread. We are so much more than our thoughts.

    Ok! Off to listen to Erica now! And to read that recipe! Thank you! 🙂

    • Molly Patrick on August 20, 2020 at 11:44 am

      I know exactly what you mean, Diane.
      We are never alone in our humanness, are we?
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the video.

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 11:54 am

      That’s a great reminder! Sitting with the discomfort! That’s been my biggest lesson for sure. And getting comfortable with being uncomfortable helped me find a real sense of peace and calm even in the face of some challenging circumstances! Be well, Diane!

  6. Diane on August 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you Erica! Thank you Molly! This was so inspiring!

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Thank YOU for listening. It’s kinda unbelievable that folks are taking time to listen to me share my story.

  7. Cynthia Crumlish on August 16, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Dear Erica,
    Just found this written by a friend: “ The important thing is not so much what you knit as what happens to you while you knit it. Where the interior journey takes you. What you find there. How you are transformed when you come back home.” From Knitting Into the Mystery.

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      That is seriously beautiful and gave me some goosebumps! Knitting is definitely a meditation for me! Before I got really physically active and while I was getting sober, it gave me a place to try hard things and learn that the only thing that happens when you fail, is that you unravel the project and start again. You still have the yarn. And after succeeding with some complicated patterns, that confidence just started to spill over into other areas. I definitely plan on checking out Knitting into the Mystery!

      • Cynthia Crumlish on August 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        Erica, Knitting Into the Mystery is a lovely book about the tradition of knitting prayer shawls. Susan Jorgensen, one of the authors, is the person who taught me to knit. She died several years ago but her spirit lives on brilliantly through the book and in all the people she so patiently inspired. Keep casting on and creating!

    • Julia on August 24, 2020 at 3:27 am

      A tip for Vitamix users: The vitamix cannot handle blending it all at once. I ended up emptying it out and blending a little at a time. Were I to start fresh I would blend each thing separately and mix them in a bowl. They still turned out delicious.

  8. Debbie on August 16, 2020 at 9:19 am

    What Brand Vegan Choc Chips Do You Recommend?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on August 16, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Hi Debbie! It will depend on what brands are available to you, but we generally recommend dark chocolate chips that are 80% dark chocolate or higher, sweetened with raw sugar or coconut sugar, and are dairy-free. If you can’t find chocolate chips that fit these criteria exactly, don’t sweat it. The cookies will be delicious with any brand of vegan chocolate chips. Enjoy! 😀

  9. Stacy Urban on August 16, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    “It gave me the courage to create a life I didn’t want to escape from.” Some serious truth, right there. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Molly Patrick on August 20, 2020 at 11:43 am


    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      And a joyful truth! Some truths are hard to learn. This one was a joy to discover! Thank you for watching our chat!

  10. Laura on August 16, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Yum, this looks delicious! I don’t have a food processor though. Can I blend the dry and wet ingredients together in my nutribullet, instead of doing dry first and then mixing in the wet? Thanks!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on August 16, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      Hi, Laura! Your Nutribullet can probably handle blitzing the dry ingredients, but we wouldn’t recommend mixing the wet and dry together with it. The mixture will likely be too thick for it to handle. If you absolutely don’t want to hand-mix the wet and dry ingredients together as suggested, you can probably use a handheld mixer on low. Enjoy the cookies! Xo

  11. Elle on August 16, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    This talk was indeed delicious. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. It felt like a “best of” show. Keep on keeping on because what’s the worse that could happen?

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Hell yeah! I envision an army of dirties asking themselves “What’s the worst that can happen?” Maybe we need t-shirts! Thanks for watching.

  12. Joanie on August 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you Molly & Erica! I loved your talk. Erica, you are such an inspiration. I thank you for that. I could so relate when you mentioned Ram Das and Midnight Gospel. Thank you for being so open. You’ve given me strength to deal with some demons. Bless you!

    • Molly Patrick on August 20, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Sending love your way, Joanie.

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you for watching and sharing! Sending you big hugs and all the love! Go slay those demons! Or as I like to say, go forth and kick ass (just not your own)!

  13. Lisa on August 19, 2020 at 9:55 am

    This was an incredible video all around! Hats off to you!

    • Erica Moore on August 23, 2020 at 8:48 am

      Thanks for watching, Lisa!

  14. Nyuki Shotts on August 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    These looks scrumptious. Just one query……..can you use coconut sugar instead of date sugar? Thank you!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 19, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Nyuki – Yes! Coconut sugar works, too. ~Karen

  15. Tabitha on August 20, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Erica is the most beautiful ray of sunshine I have ever experienced. Her smile, her voice and her story just radiates joy. Day four of my sober journey and getting back into an all plant (no junk) diet. I found so much inspiration in this video and I thank you both.

    • Molly Patrick on August 20, 2020 at 11:41 am

      I am sending you so much love and strength.
      I remember being at day 4. Know that it gets easier.

    • Erica Williams on August 20, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks so much for your super kind words! Congratulations on Day 4! That is super awesome. Wishing you lots of luck on this journey of rediscovery!

  16. Laura Walker on August 24, 2020 at 4:32 am

    I finally got around to listening to this conversation and I’m so glad I did! I love this talk, and Erica, thank you for sharing your story and your light. So many things resonated with me, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to share some of the same parts of our journeys. I love your spark girl! I’m gonna find you on ravelry… Stay well and keep shining!

  17. Steph H on August 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Hi, can I use dried cranberries instead of raisins? I don’t have raisins!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on August 24, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Steph! Absolutely! In fact, that sounds delicious. Xo

  18. Porsche on November 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Would coconut flour work instead of almond flour? We have nut allergies here.

  19. Elizabeth on November 15, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Erica. You’re an inspiration and a joy. Get in touch if you’re ever in VT!

  20. Kate on November 16, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Hi Molly, I’m rather new to WFPB cooking and really enjoy the posts that you share. I am trying to understand how to sub out ingredients. (Like nutritional yeast – can’t abide it.)
    My question is this … can monkfruit sugar be used as a replacement for date sugar? Thank you and continue taking care of yourself.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on November 16, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Hi Kate!

      Granulated monk fruit sweetener can be used as a direct replacement for date sugar in recipes. Liquid monk fruit is highly concentrated, so you only need a few drops. Either way, I would start slow and taste as you go so you can adjust.

      Happy cooking!

  21. Shruti on February 10, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    5 stars
    wow these were bomb. thank you!

  22. Melissa C. on July 12, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    5 stars
    This conversation was exactly what I needed today!! So good thank you:)

  23. Allie on September 4, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    5 stars
    These made a really good base for a WFPB cookie. I will admit I did alter them quite a bit (omitted the raisins and nuts, added dried coconut flakes, as well as mixed in stand mixer instead of food processor), but they still turned out awesome! I think you could serve them to omni/SAD friends and they would still enjoy them. Very good!

    • Team Dirty - Brittany on September 4, 2021 at 11:09 pm

      Thanks for sharing, and it’s nice to put the good ol’ stand mixer to use again! It sounds like a sweet bath you cooked up. Glad we could help. 🙂

  24. Shalyse on August 2, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    5 stars
    These cookies were delicious. My children enjoyed them as well!

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