Cocoa Unravelled

"Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral; they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted." - Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Chocolate, it's bold, earthy, fruity, acid, tart, bitter and just plain delicious. In it's natural state cocoa is filled with lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart, skin and mind;  like we needed that to entice us more. 

 With so much of my time spent around an excessive amount of sugar at work these days,  I long for balance even more than before. Nourishing both my body and mind is not only important for myself but for those around me. I've always believed that moderation is key and that we should consume food without guilt, shame or stress.  I love Chocolate,  I love sweet things and despite what I am told over and over again, they will always be in my life.  

The following recipe which I have developed allows me to keep enjoying what I do, finding balance and nourishment for both my body and soul.  These spicy Mexican chocolate cookies are pretty delicious and embody many of my ideals around food.    Moderation may prove to be a challenge, even for those who are not vegan or gluten intolerant!  Enjoy. 

     All ingredients listed below are organic, but use what you like and or have

SPICY MEXICAN CHOCOLATE  COOKIES

  • 105g (1/2 cup) Coconut oil, melted
  • 180g (1/2 cup) Coconut Syrup
  • 35g (1/4 cup) coconut sugar
  • 5g (1tsp)  Vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp  Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 135g (1 1/2 cups) Almond Meal/flour
  • 129g (3/4cup) Brown Rice Flour
  • 72g (3/4) Cocoa Powder
  • 2Tbsp  Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 100g Dark Vegan Chocolate (I use 85%) 
  • 30g  Raw Cocoa Nibs
  • cane sugar for rolling (about 1/2 cup)

Method:  

  1. Preheat Oven to 350f 
  2. Scale out almond meal, place on cookie sheet and lightly toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
  3. Scale coconut oil, place in a small pot and melt on a low heat, set aside to cool. 
  4. Chop Chocolate into desired sized chances (if you are using vegan chips, skip this step) 
  5. Scale brown rice flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, baking soda, baking powder and sift together into a small to medium bowl. 
  6. In a large bowl whisk together the cooled coconut oil, coconut syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla. 
  7. With a spatula fold in Almond meal till well combined. 
  8. Add sifted dry ingredients, and salt. Once it is 3/4 combined add 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, chopped chocolate and cocoa nibs and mix until well combined.  If the dough is dry add one more tbsp of cider vinegar. 
  9. Place dough in fridge to chill for 5 to 10 minutes (this will make rolling easier)Using a tablespoon scale out 25g-30g of dough. Using your hands roll into balls.  Toss dough balls in cane sugar and place on a 12"x17" cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment or a siltpat.  I was able to fit 4 rows of 5 cookies which allowed for spread
  10. Place in oven, and bake for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 6 minutes.  12 minutes will give you a soft cookie, if you prefer a crunchier cookie, bake it longer. 
  11. Remove from oven. Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack

*Notes

  • You do not have to scale out cookies before rolling but it will help to create uniform cookies and ensure even baking. Plus you won't have people fighting over larger cookies, although I do believe in survival of the fittest!  I also like to use a small ice cream scoop (1 1/2" round)  to measure the dough.
  • If you don't have coconut syrup in the house, maple syrup and agave work too. 
  • Play with different spices and nuts!  Hazelnut meal is delicious in these, as is lime juice and zest instead of the Apple cider vinegar
  • Can't have coconut? Substitute the coconut oil for butter, coconut syrup for maple syrup and the coconut sugar for brown sugar. They won't be vegan but they will still be gluten free and delicious!
  • If you don't want the added sugar you can skip rolling the cookies in sugar but it does add a yummy chewy, crunchy layer. 
  • I prefer to use a course almond meal (as the picture will show). This can be done by grinding your own if you can not find it. However,  a fine almond meal/flour will work too.