Thursday, December 25, 2014

Chocolate Holiday Sparklers

Merry Christmas everyone!

Since I know that few, if any, people will be logging onto their computers today (and even less will be looking at this itty-bitty food blog), I'm going to keep this short, sweet and glittery!

I was inspired at the very last minute to try my hand at these crackly, sparkling sugar cookies after an impulse trip to Bulk Barn ended with a bag of glitter-flecked mint chocolate chips and white sanding sugar in my pantry. A perusal of my fridge found egg whites from shortbread cookie making waiting to be used (thanks Mom!) along with a speck of butter. I had been hoarding a sizable stash of ground tiger nuts in the freezer, too, waiting for an opportunity to bust out their slightly sweet, nutty flavour in a showstopper treat.

Chocolate Holiday Sparklers

If you've never heard of tiger nuts, they're a small tuber (related to the potato) also called chufa or earth almonds, and they're a key ingredient in horchata. For allergy sufferers, they're great to use, since they're not related to nuts at all! From a natural health perspective, this earthy, rich-tasting snack is high in fibre, prebiotics, protein, and natural sugars - a handful of chopped nuts tossed into your oatmeal in the morning will fuel your AM rush, or add a spoonful of tiger nut flour to a bowl of yoghurt or applesauce for a light, healthy bedtime treat. In these cookies, ground tiger nuts add not only a depth of flavour usually reserved for copious butter or ground nuts, but a slightly toothsome texture to combat the cakey batter and silky chocolate chips. The combination is subtle, but perfect - my chocolate cookies will never be the same!

Chocolate Holiday Sparklers
Makes about 24
1 tbsp salted butter, melted
2 tbsp canola oil
½ cup sugar
¼ cup egg whites (about 2)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa
½ cup spelt flour
¼ cup ground tiger nuts or almonds
½ tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
¼ cup mint-flavoured baking chips (mine had red glitter!)
½ cup icing sugar, for rolling
¼ cup white sanding sugar, for rolling
  1. In a bowl, beat the butter, oil, sugar, egg whites and vanilla until slightly thickened.
  2. Sift in the cocoa, then beat in the flour, tiger nuts, baking powder and salt.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Mix the sugars in a medium shallow bowl and set aside.
  7. Roll the chilled dough into 1” balls and roll in the sugar mixture to coat completely.
  8. Place on the baking sheets, leaving about 1” between each.
  9. Bake 12 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and the sugared surfaces have cracked apart.
  10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 73.6
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 1.5 mg
Sodium: 9.5 mg
Total Carbs: 12.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.9 g