Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies

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.

Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies

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. 

Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies
Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies

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...  

Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies

Prep time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Total time : 30 minutes
Yield : 12 cookies

INGREDIENTS

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)*

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Add chestnuts to a food processor and process to a sand like texture.

  3. Add spelt flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, instant coffee powder, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cayenne and salt and pulse to combine.

  4. Finally add almond butter and maple syrup to the dry mixture. Process until a sticky dough forms.

  5. Using a tablespoon scoop out the dough. Form into balls by rolling in your palms and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

  6. Gently flatten using your fingers and bake for 12 minutes.

  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

  8. Melt chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler.

  9. Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate mixture and place back on baking sheet.

  10. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and Aleppo pepper.

NOTE:
*
*If you or your guests are not heat lovers, I would skip the Aleppo pepper or chili flakes.

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Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Cookies
 

Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle

Just when you thought toasts were boring... Let me introduce you to these miso mushroom toasts. They take less than 30 minutes to put together and yet are packed with so much flavour, you would not believe it!

Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle

In the midst of all the work I had to do the past month, I barely had a second to even think of creating holiday recipes for my blog. Until I realized, we were only 19 days away from Christmas and I had no content shot for you guys!

This Monday, it was so so grey here in Montreal that I could not shoot the lifestyle shots I was planning to shoot for a client. At a lost as to what to do with my day, I thought why not take the opportunity to shoot a couple of recipes for my blog.

At first, I was not sure if any of the recipes I wanted to create would work out, but still noted down all the ingredients I used (just in case they turned out tasty!). Surprisingly, all of them did!! I was so incredibly happy & you know what that means right...

Now I get to share with you 3 unique holiday-inspired recipes that you can make to impress your guests during your holiday celebrations! 

Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle

The first one is of course these miso mushroom toasts with tahini parsley drizzle.

I got the idea to create this recipe by thinking back of my favourite holiday dish I created last year: this mushroom stuffing by the Happy Pear. It is made with delicious oyster mushrooms, has a lovely rich umami flavour profile and is truly one of the tastiest stuffings I have ever tried – you guys should really give this recipe a try this holiday season, I promise you will love it as much as I do.

Although this recipe was the starting point of my brainstorming, inspiring me to create a dish with mushrooms, I did not to incorporate traditional holiday herbs. Not that I have anything against them, but the internet is flooded with recipes seasoned with rosemary, sage and thyme so why not be different?

Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle

That is how I came up with this recipe. It requires less than 10 ingredients and can be made in a flash. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity though, these toasts have the potential to be a true show stopper at your holiday gatherings. You can serve them as appetizers, along with your meal or on your Christmas day brunch!

Let’s now skip to the recipe. As usual, if you guys make this recipe, I’d love to hear how you find it and if you’d share it on social medias by tagging me at @muriellebanackissa.

Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle

Prep time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Total time : 30 minutes
Yield : 10 toasts

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp olive oil
1 baguette, sliced
4 cups mushrooms, chopped *
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lightmiso paste
1 tbsp water

Tahini Parsley Drizzle
2 tbsp tahini
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup filtered water
2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus more for topping

STEPS

  1. Heat a cast iron pan. When hot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, spread evenly. Arrange as many slices of baguette as you can fit into the pan and let it crisp and brown to your liking. Flip and toast on the second side.

  2. Repeat with the remainder of the baguette slices. Set aside.

  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are caramelized and brown on the edges, tossing from time to time. I sautéed them for about 10 minutes.

  4. In the meantime, add miso paste and water to a small bowl and whisk until the miso has dissolved.

  5. Once the mushrooms are cooked through and caramelized, take off the heat and pour miso mixture. Mix. Set aside.

  6. Prepare the tahini parsley drizzle by adding tahini, rice vinegar, water and parsley to a small bowl. Whisk until homogeneous.

  7. Assemble your toasts by arranging a generous amount of mushrooms on your toasted baguette slices, top with tahini parsley drizzle and more fresh parsley. Repeat.

  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE:
*
I used a combination of oyster and Portobello mushrooms.

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Miso Mushroom Toast with Tahini Parsley Drizzle
 

Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl

How about a holiday inspired antioxidant-packed smoothie bowl?

Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl

A couple of months ago, I created decadent vegan orange-flavored shortbread cookies topped with a uber-shiny cranberry glaze for the company Karen’s Naturals, using their freeze dried cranberries. After I had tested and shot these cookies, I still had a bit of cranberries left so it was the perfect opportunity to get creative, take out my blender and use them in another festive recipe!

If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram page for a while, you might know that I have a soft spot for red fruits - pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and of course cranberries. I find each one of them has magical flavor boosting abilities. They can bring to the next level all smoothies, salads, toasts, cakes, oatmeal bowls, sundaes and even a curries; yep, next time you make your favorite coconut curry, try serving it with a couple of pomegranate arils. GAME CHANGING!

Because of their lovely flavor & since I hadn’t really put more than two of these fruits together in one recipe, I thought, why not create a delicious ruby red smoothie bowl packed with antioxidants!

Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl

Regarding the flavor profile of the freeze dried cranberries I used, you must know that they are very tart. Their sweetness level is far from dried cranberries; it is rather more comparable with fresh cranberries. That is why they work so well in this smoothie bowl. Because, they are paired with very sweet fruits like strawberries, bananas, dates and pomegranates, their acidity is beautifully balanced.

When reading the ingredient list, you might wonder why there is a random zucchini in there... Well, when I make smoothies, I like to add at least one serving of veggies (why not;)). Most times, I opt for kale or spinach, but in this case, I really did not want the beautiful red color to dulled by the green of spinach or kale. Zucchini was therefore the perfect substitute; it is a vegetable as well, BUT also has a completely white interior, which really does not affect the color of your final smoothie. Do not worry about the peel either, I kept it on, and look how bright red the bowl turned out ;)

If you have never tried adding a zucchini into your smoothies, you might be surprised by how much creaminess they add – it’s actually mind blowingly delicious, considering just how little calories it has, compared to avocado or nut butters let’s say. 

Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl

Finally, this smoothie bowl contains a couple of “superfood” add-ins like hemp hearts, flax seeds, moringa and amla powder. All except the hemp hearts are optional. I just personally like to add flax seeds for omega 3s as well as moringa and amla powders for added antioxidants. All 3 do no alter the flavor of the smoothie so if you don’t have any of those on hand, no worries, just leave them out!

On that note, I really hope you guys make this smoothie; its super quick and easy to make. It is super fruity, packed with vitamins and is perfect for breakfast or as a snack J If you do end up making it, share it on IG & tag me @muriellebanackissa

Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl

Prep time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : -
Total time : 5 minutes
Yield : 1 smoothie bowl

INGREDIENTS

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana, sliced
1 cup freeze dried cranberries (I used Karen’s Naturals Just Cranberries) *
1 zucchini, sliced
1-2 pitted dates (to taste)
1 cup unsweetened plant based milk
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tbsp ground flax seeds (optional)
1 tsp moringa (optional)
1 tsp amla powder (optional)

Suggested toppings:
Freeze dried cranberries
Hemp hearts
Goji berries
Fresh raspberries
Pomegranate seeds
Raw cashews

STEPS

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with your favorite toppings.

NOTE:
*
If you only have fresh or frozen cranberries on hand: Swap out the freeze dried cranberries with 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries.

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Ruby Red Smoothie Bowl