Let’s face it, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a liberal splash of good cheer and cookies. Christmas cookies are the C is Christmas as far as I’m concerned. I have a deal with myself that I need to try a new recipe every holiday so the winter doldrums don’t set in. After all that is a constant threat up here in the DARK left edge of the country. (I swear my hubby and I have entered into hibernation, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.)
One of the wonderful things I have seen happen in the Paleo community since I came on the scene 4 years ago is the abundance of recipes! I used to google paleo cookies and get something like 12 choices, now the sky is the limit. In fact in one of my very favorite foodie magazines, Food and Wine, published a paleo cookie recipe in their Christmas cookie section. (I mean, whip lash from the double take!)
I was so excited I HAD to make it. I literally made these cookies the next day after I read the recipe. I did change a few things in it like I subbed hazelnuts instead of almonds as we live in the land of hazelnuts ya know. Here in Oregon, we have the perfect climate to grow hazelnuts as well, and grow 99% of these nuts for the US. A little know trivial fact is that the hazelnuts are Oregon’s state nut decreed in 1989. (Now you know)
And for a good reason, supposedly Oregon‘s hazelnuts boast bigger size and richer flavor than the rest of the world. You could say we grow the foodie hazelnut of the world. Because of this, 50% of hazelnuts are exported to places like Europe where the nut is a stable in the baked goods and foods there. (Can you say Nutella?)
So here is my Christmas gift to you, a beautiful cookie that is so delicious and tastes a lot like Nutella. It is a bit of work but you will love them. The honey caramel is a bit hard to work with but is very rewarding. (BTW the cookies are awesome without the caramel too if you want to make it much easier) Make sure and freeze the caramel before trying to cut it, works MUCH better. Oh and the use of a good flaky salt like Malton’s is important to get all the flavors.
- For the caramel;
- 1 cup of honey
- ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 TBS of coconut oil
- ½ tsp of kosher salt
- ½ tsp of vanilla
- For the cookies
- 2.5 cups of hazelnut or almond flour
- 2 tbls of dark cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp of baking soda
- ¼ tsp of cinnamon
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 6 ozs of dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup of coconut oil
- ½ cup of honey
- 1 TBS of vanilla
- Flaky salt such as Maldon’s for garnish
- To make the honey caramel, start with lining a bread loaf pan with some wax or parchment paper. This is going to be sticky business! In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of the honey with the coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt over moderately high heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 250°, 10 or more minutes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the vanilla, then pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it around as best as possible. Tuck in the freezer to cool down at least 2 hours before you try and cut this sticky stuff. When you can cut it, cut it into ½ inch squares and put back in the freezer for when the cookies
- are done.
- For the Cookies
- Preheat your oven to a cozy 350 degrees and grease some cookie sheets with coconut oil. (The original recipe recommended lining them with parchment paper but the greased works fine) Whisk the dry ingredients; nut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl till well acquainted. Stir in the dark chopped chocolate.
- Take out a small saucepan and heat up over medium heat the ½ cup of coconut oil and honey up till it liquefies and then remove from the heat and stir in the beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour this warm mixture over the dry ingredients and stir till just combined. (The dark chocolate miraculously melts and combines)
- Scoop the cookie dough with a cookie scoop or a teaspoon and drop onto the pan in little 1 inch balls. Make sure they are 2 inches apart as they spread. Bake for 8 or so minutes until lightly browned on the edges. When the cookies come out of the oven, press a square of the caramel into the center of each cookie and sprinkle with a pinch of the flaky salt. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack as they are pretty crumbly till they set. Enjoy these little volcano nuggets and have a bright and shining holidays.