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THESE SOFT, DECADENT, CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT COOKIES ARE MADE WITH WHOLE NATURAL INGREDIENTS: A GUILT-FREE TREAT THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO STOP EATING
I wanted to make something special as a Christmas gift this year, to give to family and friends.
And everyone loves Christmas cookies!
But as I am trying to eat much healthier than ever before, I was looking for something without refined sugar, that only used whole natural ingredients.
Inspired by my vegan chocolate amaretti, made with almond flour, I decided to try a cookie with ground hazelnuts.
And one of my favorite combinations, since I was a child, is chocolate and hazelnut (Nutella anyone?). So I thought I should take inspiration from this indulgent combination.
The toasted rich nutty flavor of hazelnut mixed with chocolate is something out of this world. And these cookies are not just perfect for Christmas. They are absolutely delicious to eat all year round.
Chocolate lovers will go crazy for these cookies!
But to make this special treat as healthy as possible, instead of using sugar, like in the original amaretti recipe I thought: why not using Medjool dates?
Medjool dates have a rich, almost caramel-like taste and a soft, chewy texture. I thought this would work perfectly with the dark cocoa powder and ground hazelnut.
And I am happy to report, I wasn’t wrong.
These chocolate hazelnut cookies are simply delicious: if you like chocolate AND hazelnuts, you can’t go wrong. Plus they take such a little time and effort and they look spectacular.
They are not extremely cheap (as they are pretty much 95% hazelnuts and dates), but they are the perfect festive treat.
They are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.
So what are the ingredients of these chocolate hazelnut cookies?
These flourless, refined sugar-free cookies contain only:
- Chopped and ground hazelnuts: I used organic whole hazelnuts, but you can use hazelnut flour if you want. I find that grinding my own hazelnuts results in a much nicer texture and deeper flavor.
- Cocoa powder: I used organic raw cocoa powder, but any dark, vegan cocoa powder will work.
- Medjool dates: these dates are much softer than normal dates. When you grind them in the food processor they dissolve into a chewy caramel-like paste. That’s what makes them perfect to sweeten these cookies.
- Ground flaxseeds: ground flax seeds are a crucial part of vegan baking. You can use them to make flax eggs to substitute chicken eggs.
- Water: to bind the ingredients together.
- A pinch of salt
And if you want to make these cookies as a Christmas gift, I think packing them in a lovely wooden box will help to make them extra special.
- Gold star sprinkles
- Mini laser-cut Christmas ornaments
- Brown and white twine
- Wooden box (or you could also use a Weck jar)
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (Sugar-Free)
1 flax egg
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Make the flax eggs: add the ground flax seeds and water to a dish and stir. Let it rest for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Take 1 cup (150 g) of hazelnuts and grind them into a coarse powder in a food processor. Don't worry if you get some bigger chunks. They will just add extra texture to the cookies. Set aside the ground hazelnuts in a mixing bowl.
- In the same food processor, grind the Medjool dates into a paste, by adding 1 tablespoon of water and the flax egg.
- Chop the remaining 1/3 cup (50 g) of hazelnuts in chunkier pieces and spread them onto a tray.
- In a big mixing bowl, combine the ground hazelnuts, date paste, salt, and cacao powder. Mix it all well to bind all the ingredients together and produce a thick, sticky paste that can be formed into sticky balls in your hands.
- Divide the dough into 10 equally sized pieces. Roll each portion of dough between the palms of your hands to form a ball. Squash the ball a bit to give it a cookie shape then lightly press each one into the chopped hazelnuts to coat.
- Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool down before moving them to a plate or airtight container. Be careful as they are quite crumbly when they are hot. Resist the urge to try one warm, as they are much better when they cool down.
- Nutritional values are per cookie.
- When you remove the cookies from the oven they will be quite soft. Don’t be tempted to cook them for longer! They will harden while they cool down.
- You can store these cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week!
- If you don’t have flax seeds handy, you can also use chia seeds as a substitute. Remember to grind the chia seeds before adding water.
- If you don’t want to make this recipe vegan but only gluten-free, you can use 1 egg white instead of a flax egg.
- Special tip: If you want to make this recipe extra special, use toasted hazelnuts for the hazelnuts you are going to grind. And use untoasted hazelnuts for the chopped hazelnuts you will use to coat (as they will toast in the oven).
If you try making these chocolate hazelnut cookies, let me know how much you like them!
FIND MORE DELICIOUS COOKIES RECIPES HERE:
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