The Recipe: Another idea for your cookie Christmas plate – or for shipping cross-country to your favorite cookie monster. The crisp little chocolate shortbreads are slice 'n' bake, easy-easy to make and "low sugar" or what I call "almost sugar free". For anyone who avoids wheat? The cookies are also made with almond meal instead of flour, that makes them gluten-free. All this adds up to Low Carb and Weight Watchers friendly too! No need to worry, though, everyone enjoys these bite-size chocolate-almond cookies.
This week on A Veggie Venture, something special, a beautiful video featuring expert lefse-maker LeAnne Kruger, sharing her recipe, tips and techniques for How to Make Lefse, the soft, tender Scandinavian bread that's traditional at Christmas. It just might add to your Christmas spirit!
My 88-year old father is a life-long cookie monster. In the years we spend Christmas together, he’s the first at the table for our traditional any-time-of-day “cookie parties”. In the years we’re apart, Fedex exacts a small fortune to ship butter and sugar and flour his way.
Awhile back, Dad became a most-frustrated cookie monster when sugar became off-limits, if only because “just one or two cookies” was hard to accept.
When Kalyn’s Kitchen published a list of Low-Sugar, No-Sugar and Flourless Cookies for the Holidays, I was struck – her cookies just might work. In a single day, I mixed up three of Kalyn’s cookies, adapting each recipe to my own style.
Chocolate-Almond Shortbread was the favorite, a cookie that need not be relegated to the “sugar-free” cookie tray but can stand on its own, enjoyed by all.
The shortbread is barely sweet, crisp but not hard and definitely chocolate-y. Even though the low-carb, high-protein almond meal is substituted for flour, the texture is surprisingly similar to shortbread baked with all-purpose flour.
Now, please know, because almond meal is 100% almonds, it’s more expensive than flour, think $5 a pound. But to keep my cookie-monster father happy and healthy? Priceless.
CHOCOLATE-ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Rest time: 12 - 24 hours
Makes 3 dozen small cookies
- ½ cup (1 stick, 114g) salted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups (190g) almond meal
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Hershey’s Dark
- 6 tablespoons (13g) Stevia or Splenda
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Almond slivers, toasted
In a large bowl, combine the butter and almond meal with an electric mixer, just enough to combine, you don’t want to add air to shortbread dough. Add remaining ingredients and again, mix just enough to combine.
Collect the dough in your hands, then roll into one or two long rolls about 2 inches across. Wrap in plastic wrap and roll on the counter a bit to make more “round”. Refrigerate until as solid as cold butter, 12 – 24 hours.
Heat oven to 350F175C. Place parchment on a baking sheet. Slice cookies about 1/3 inch thick, that’s about 12 grams. Arrange on the baking sheet, the cookies can be very close together, say less than an inch apart since they don’t spread. Press an almond sliver into the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cookies are firm but not dry. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet.
PLAYING AROUND I used a small sliver of almond to embellish the top – otherwise Chocolate-Almond Shortbread looks oh-so-plain on a cookie tray. Other ideas? Before slicing, roll the cookie dough in additional almond meal. Or you could use a strong teaspoon of espresso to substitute for vanilla.
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