I've been totally absorbed in a project I'm working on that's taking up all my time and hindering my love of blogging. After the positive feedback I got last week from the Birthday cake and the need to more recipe with a ton of flavour but no nuts or seeds and my love for creating vegan treats I created these super crunchy and chocolaty Cookies just in time for valentines day. Don't be alarmed that the post is a bit late as they only take 5 minutes to throw together and about 20 minute to bake. Give them another 15 minutes to cool you have a delicious treat any chocolate lover will drool over as the aroma takes over not only the kitchen but the rest of the house.
I've used raw cacao nibs in these cookies because I love that they are a wholefood that contain an abundance of antioxidants, magnesium and they're also a great source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide, and phenylethylamine (PEA) four well studied neurotransmitters which
are associated with feeling of well being and help alleviate depression. They also impart a rich and dark chocolate flavour loved by so many. I do suggest though that if you wish to make this recipe for children it may be best to omit them or substitute with sultanas as a healthy alternative or milk chocolate for a special treat.
Crunchy Cacao Granola Heart Cookies
Makes: 12 cookies or a large jar of granola
1 cup dried coconut
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup coconut sugar
1/3 up raw cacao nibs or raw cacao beans ground into nibs
1 tbs raw cacao powder
1 tbs raw carob powder
1 tsp vanilla paste or powder
2 tbs coconut oil – melted
2 tbs honey, dark agave, maple syrup or rice syrup
1 tbs water
1. Preheat oven to 180oc and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir. If using the cacao beans then make sure you ground them into about 2mm chips before adding to the mix.
3. Add the coconut oil, sweetener and water to the mix and stir through with you fingertips until you get a sticky mixture.
4. Spread the mix onto the baking tray as pictured if making granola or carefully place mixture into a heart shaped cookie cutter and flatten out to fit neatly and evenly in the cutter, remove the cutter and continue to form as many cookies as you can until you have used all of the mix.
5. If making granola: Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven to pull the outer edges of the granola into the centre and give it a gently stir then continue cooking of another 10-14 minutes making sure that it doesn’t burn
6. If making the cookies: Bake for 20 minutes checking at about 15 minutes that they don’t burn. *Please read notes below.
7. Remove from the oven and separate the mixture to make granola or wait 5 minutes for it to cool slightly then form into small cookies.
8. Let cool completely until they are firm and crisp then store in an airtight container.
- If you don’t have or can’t get raw cacao nibs or beans then substitute dark chocolate chips or sultanas/raisins.
- Carob adds great flavour and will really help to round out the chocolate flavour but if you don’t have it or can’t get it then just leave it out. You shouldn’t need to add more cacao powder to compensate, do a taste test and adjust if necessary. I’ve made it with and without and both worked well without adding anymore cacao to the one without carob.
- As all ovens are different and older ones tend to have variations in temperature you will really need to watch it while baking, not long enough and they will be soft and chewy and too long the will be burnt and bitter. With the heat set as 150oc the temperature should be just right to be able to leave them in long enough to get them crispy and crunchy. (Just ask me, I got side tracked and burnt and whole batch with the temp up a bit too high L)
- If you are vegan then you can use the substitutes instead of honey, dark agave is preferable to light as it contains more minerals and rice syrup is a low fructose sweetener very popular with those following a sugar free diet.
And this morning I served some of the chocolate granola on top of the complete meal bircher made with ladyfinger bananas, mango, figs and grapes and a heart cookie side... :-)
Happy Valentines one and all!