Any other chestnuts fans out there? I remember growing up and going to this Italian grocery store with my mom where, around this time of the year, we would get a big bag of uncooked chestnuts to bring back home to roast.
I used to find it so hard to cut a cross into the skin of each chestnut – it is quite thick and almost leathery. However, my efforts were well worth it when they would come out of the oven after a nice roasting session! The shells would be crispy and peel off effortlessly and inside would lie a buttery, slightly smoky and earthy chestnut – a real treat for my young developing palate!
We would roast maybe 30 chestnuts at a time and I would go through the entire batch so fast, my mom would only get to enjoy five or six at most!
Ever since those childhood days, I enjoy chestnuts on rarer occasions. Most times, when I do buy them, I tend to go for the precooked ones. They are pretty easily available in grocery stores and save you the hassle of opening their shells and roasting them for half an hour.
The flavour profile might not be as developed as the home roasted ones, but honestly the time saving factor makes the packaged chestnuts much easier to use in recipes in my opinion.
That brings us to these spiced chocolate chestnut cookies. They remind me a little bit of gingerbread cookies, but more decadent & with a softer, almost melt in the mouth, texture. This recipe has very little sugar but because all the flavours brought in by the spices, coffee and chocolate, you honestly don’t miss it! And no one would say... that is not a dessert! I promise ;)
Eat them just as is, with a warm cup of tea or coffee or even offer them as edible gifts during the holidays – although I have a feeling you will not want to give too many away...
Prep time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Total time : 30 minutes
Yield : 12 cookies
1 cup cooked chestnuts (150g)
1/3 cup spelt flour
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
6 squares of dark chocolate, chopped (60g)
Aleppo pepper or chili flakes (for garnish - optional)*
Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add chestnuts to a food processor and process to a sand like texture.
Add spelt flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, instant coffee powder, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cayenne and salt and pulse to combine.
Finally add almond butter and maple syrup to the dry mixture. Process until a sticky dough forms.
Using a tablespoon scoop out the dough. Form into balls by rolling in your palms and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Gently flatten using your fingers and bake for 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Melt chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler.
Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate mixture and place back on baking sheet.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and Aleppo pepper.
* *If you or your guests are not heat lovers, I would skip the Aleppo pepper or chili flakes.