Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dark chocolate cookies

Adapted from: 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats recipe for Midnight Cookies, p 82.

Makes about 2 dozen

125g softened butter
175g caster sugar
1 egg,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
125g wholegrain spelt flour,
35g cocoa powder,
1 tsp bicarbonate soda,
2 tbsp orange juice (this gives the cookies some extra moisture but is not a must if you don't have it!)

Prepare by preheating the oven to 180°C and lining some baking trays with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar together then add the egg, vanilla essence and orange juice, then sift in the dry ingredients until well mixed. With damp hands roll out balls of the dough the size of ping pong balls and flatten them between your hands before placing on a baking sheet. Make sure to spread them far apart because they will expand in the oven! Bake for 10 minutes or until set, depending on how big you make them. Once removed from the oven leave them to cool on the baking sheets, this will keep the moisture in them.

Spelt flour is a less processed crop than wheat and therefore can offer a great alternative to some people who have an intolerance to regular wheat flour, the exception being people with a severe intolerance. It should be noted though that like wheat flour, spelt flour does contain gluten so its not suitable for coeliacs and people on gluten-free diets.

I think spelt flour is becoming easier to find in shops now, but if you can't find it in your regular supermarket health food shops are a good bet. Be prepared to pay more for a bag of it than for normal wheat flour though. I think the last bag we got cost €3.50. While the cost can be a bit daunting I don't bake regularly so I don't go through whole bags at an astonishing rate. But when I do, it is nice to be able to bake a small loaf of foccacia bread to go with my veggie jambalaya or soups and sometimes some fresh spelt flour pasta every so often. As a cheat for pasta though I've noticed that there is a Tesco brand spelt flour fusili pasta, as well as a multicereal penne and chickpea & pulse spaghetti. While I know not all of their stores stock it on their shelves, I'm sure if you talk to a member of staff they can order it in for you. It cooks just like a normal pasta and tastes like a wholegrain wheat one, so no worries about it turning to mush on you in the blink of an eye like gluten free pastas.

That's all for now!

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