alanna brown nutritionist


My name is Alanna. I am a Nutritionist, Recipe Developer and Food Stylist based in Melbourne.

On my blog I like to share healthy recipes and nutrition tips. 

Businesses can contact me for nutrition consultations, recipe development and workshops.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut & Sea Salt Cookies

Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut & Sea Salt Cookies

Healthy Dark Chocolate Hazelnut and Sea Salt Cookies Recipe

Sometimes I am such a naughty nutritionist! 

But I don't really care. I believe the key to staying healthy is balance. Having a healthy relationship with food means that if I have a craving for cookies I can make them and not feel guilty before, during and after eating them!

I also really enjoy baking and eating treats made by family and friends. There is something so wholesome and good about making your own food, which is made with love, rather than grabbing something off a supermarket shelf. I generally do not buy any packet foods from the shops. It isn't really a rule I have - I don't have any rules as such. It is just what I prefer to do and is much more rewarding I think! 

So, I am not really a naughty nutritionist. I am a nutritionist that loves food and advocates balance!

Making more healthful adjustments

This is my own spin on the classic Joy of Cooking choc chip cookie recipe, which has been around for years and never fails! I have made some substitutions to make them a little "healthier" or more nutrient dense - which I like to do for most of the treats I bake.

Here you can find a few handy hints on how you can make a recipe more nutritious - but still delicious!

Base ingredients

Instead of using plain white flour, I used wholemeal spelt - so these cookies have way more soluble fibre and are possibly less irritating to the stomach as spelt contains less gluten. This is great for any friends who suffer IBS or seem to not like wheat - spelt flour also gives a lovely soft texture to banana breads and cookies. You can also opt for a wholemeal flour of another type to get the fibre goodness.

Another way to increase the nutrition of recipes is by replacing some or all of the flour with nut meals to increase the protein, fibre, good fat and micronutrient content of your treats. Just keep in mind that this may make the treats very dense. 


Fats are important to keep you full as well as help your body absorb more vitamins and minerals. They also add smoothness and next level deliciousness to desserts. I do love butter and I definitely do not cut this out of my diet. However I like to use alternatives where I can and keep it as a sometimes food.

Instead of butter a good alternative is coconut oil - which is very similar in saturated fat content to butter however contains medium-chain fatty acids and may help with weight loss - although I am still waiting on more studies. You can also substitute olive oil, just use one which is mild in taste.


Instead of refined white/brown sugar, I used some locally sourced honey. I love this honey as I am supporting local business and it also contains a bunch of anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties - I use it on my skin too! Other great alternatives to refined sugar include real Maple Syrup and fresh or dried fruits.

Using lots of spices and things like vanilla paste also helps make up for using less sugar.

You can also do something fabulous like make your own chocolate - head to The Grove for more details!


Generally I don't add a lot of salt to recipes, studies have shown that too much salt in the diet can increase blood pressure. However, as I do not eat heaps of salt laden foods - generally most processed foods have WAY too much salt and I make most of my meals myself at home from scratch, I can afford to enjoy these cookies! 

Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut & Sea Salt Cookies

Healthy Dark Chocolate Hazelnut and Sea Salt Cookies

Makes 12


  • 1/2 cup Coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon Raw honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup & 2 tablespoons Plain wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Dark chocolate chips - the darkest you can find! Or make your own chocolate!
  • 1/4 cup Roasted hazelnuts

You will also need two baking trays lined with baking paper, two bowls, beater, spoon/silicon spatula and a wire cooling rack.


Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C

  1. Beat the coconut oil (make sure it is nice and soft), vanilla and honey together until well combined. 
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt (OR you can sprinkle on the salt just before baking).
  3. Beat the egg into the coconut, vanilla and honey mix. Once this is combined, stir in the flour slowly until well combined and it looks more like a dough.
  4. Stir through the hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
  5. Roll tablespoon sized balls of dough together and then place on the baking trays - six to a tray spaced evenly.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown before removing from the oven. Let stand for about 1 minute and then move to the wire rack to cool. It will be tempting to eat one straight away and I do not discourage it - but keep in mind they will be quite crumbly and soft until they have cooled completely.

Keeps well cool and in an air-tight container for about 5 days.

Give them a go!

What is your favourite cookie recipe?! And do you have any healthy baking tips?

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