Chocolate Almond Cookies
These delicate cookies are almost like a shortbread but with a more melt-in-your-mouth texture. Because they use no flour, they can cater to the gluten-free crowd. We chose to make them vegan-friendly as well, by taking up the original recipe's suggestion that virgin coconut oil could be substituted for the butter. Unlike refined coconut oil, the virgin stuff tastes like coconut, giving the cookies a lovely flavor reminiscent of a Mounds bar.
Pay close attention to the extended time needed when you are creating the cookie dough. If you don't mix it long enough, the cookies might fall apart as you lift them off the baking sheet. (Not flattening the scooped dough too much will help prevent this, too.) You have to give the coconut oil plenty of time to incorporate into the mix.
The dough can be portioned and refrigerated overnight. The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
¾ cup sugar
½ cup virgin coconut oil, at cool room temperature (may substitute unsalted butter)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups almond meal/flour (may substitute hazelnut meal)
½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Sift the almond meal/flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl. Beat on low speed for 10 to 12 minutes, to form a thoroughly blended, dense dough that holds together when pressed. Do a quick knead with your hands, gather it into one mass and make sure it is sticking together well. Pinch off a bit of dough and compress it into a ball. If it holds its shape, you're good to go. If it crumbles, keep mixing. You can also refrigerate the dough for 15 or 20 minutes, which will make it firmer.
Divide the dough into 20, 1-inch portions, rolling each one into a ball and spacing the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a disk that's between ¼ and ½ inch thick. Bake (upper and lower racks) for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. The cookies will be tender and slightly puffed.
Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a thin spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
Makes 20 cookies
Nutrition | Calories: 130; Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 95 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 11 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 2 g.
Adapted from "Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing," by Jerrelle Guy (Page Street Publishing, 2018)