Grandma’s cookies gone healthy! These gluten-free vegan hazelnut shortbread cookies are a family favourite – but with no refined sugar, no dairy and wheat-free, too.
Who knows best when it comes to cookies? Right, grandma. She’s the avid baker supplying the whole family *with tin upon tin of cookies every Christmas season. Sounds familiar? It’s been that way in my family forever. Both of my grandmas have dedicatedly spent hours upon hours, no, days, of their lives in the kitchen during the colder months to provide many a family member, friend or neighbour with their amazing baked goods. Each of them creating certain varities that I have yet to seen either in stores or other families. How amazing is it to think that every family still has those recipes that are handed down from generation to generation? Just me? Oh well.
*we’re talking six children and their families in my maternal grandma’s case here
Today’s easy hazelnut shortbread cookies are actually a kind I used to overlook and probably consider tin fillers among the more exciting varieties for years. Yet somehow the adults of the family knew better all along and enjoyed these cookies’ simplicity and nutty aroma. How right they were. Only lightly sweetened but full of hazelnut flavour which was heathened by a rim of dark cocoa. Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies are a favourite with all adults in my family, especially when accompanied by a cup of coffee. Dunk- or dipping highly recommended.
Because grandma’s cookies are neither vegan nor gluten-free, much less healthy I adapted her recipe. They’re still cookies, not health food but with whole grains and less refined sugar these Gluten-free Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies are a more nutritious alternative to the usual offerings in the cookie jar. Oh and another note: while the long instructions make it look like a complicated recipe it’s actually beyond simple. Win-win!
Gluten-free Vegan Hazelnut Shortbread
(yields ~ 30+ cookies)
1/2 cup of hazelnut meal [60 g; can grind your own in a high speed blender]
1 cup oat flour* [125 g]
1/4 cup of coconut sugar [50 g] + 1 tsp of cornstarch
Scant 1/4 cup of cornstarch [50 g]
1/2 cup of coconut oil, softened but not melted [125 g]
1 tsp vanilla
~ 1/4 cup [20 g] of unsweetened cocoa powder
*use certified gluten-free if necessary
- Place the coconut sugar and 1 tsp of cornstarch in a blender. Pulse until the sugar reaches a powdery consistency and lighter colour. Voilà, you just made your own powdered coconut sugar. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, hazelnut meal and cornstarch.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, sugar and vanilla on high speed.
- Slowly add in the flour mixture while mixing constantly until a smooth dough forms. You might need to knead with your hands to get everything well combined.
- Place your dough into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
In the meantime, line a sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the dough is ready, preheat oven to 300 *F/150 *C. divide dough evenly and roll into two logs.
- Coat a large plate or cutting board with enough cocoa – you don’t want to see your surface anymore. Roll dough logs in cocoa until thoroughly coated.
- Slice logs into coin-sized cookies. Place on the baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for about 20 minutes. The centre of the cookies might still be a bit soft at this point but they harden as they cool.
- Let cool completely before eating. Don’t try to pick up cookies right away to avoid ending up with crumbs all over the place!
Happiness-inducing today: Getting to pick up a few things from another place while at work, hence getting some fresh air and movement in. A much appreciated break from sitting at my desk for hours.