Orange Hazlenut Cacao Cookies

This is one of those recipes that was born out of a mixture necessity and laziness. Necessity being that I needed cookies (I’m pregnant, cookies are a valid need alright?!), laziness being that I couldn’t be arsed making the trek aaaaallll the way to the supermarket (which just happens to be in the bottom of our building) to buy ingredients so I had to use what I had available. They do say that necessity is the mother of invention and I have to say I reckon I inventioned something pretty motherfucking special here. The combination of nuts and cacao is unquestionably and reliably good and the addition of citrus lends an amazing moistness and zing making them sweet without being cloying.

The other bonus of my lazy-greedy-neediness is that working with what I had on hand meant these tasty little morsels ended up being processed sugar, gluten, dairy and egg free so they’re going to suit just about any dietary quirks and queerness. Except nut free of course, if you don’t do nuts you’re probably a bit screwed with these ones. Sorry.

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Get this stuff

1/2 large juicy orange including peel + juice from the other half made up to 1/4 c with water

2 T chia

1.5 C/ 150 grams hazelnut meal

1 t baking powder

4 T arrowroot

4 T rice malt syrup melted

2 T stevia granules

2 T coconut oil melted

1 t vanilla

1/4 C cacao nibs or roughly chopped dark chocolate buttons

Optional dark chocolate buttons to top (and when I say optional, I mean why the fuck wouldn’t you?! We’re talking about chocolate here people!)

Do this with it

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan bake and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.

Throw half your orange into the food processor skin and all and blitz it into a thick paste, yes I am lazy but leaving the skin on also has the advantage of adding a proper boost of real orange flavour. Take the other half of your citrus firmly in hand, squeeze all the juice out that you can then top it up with water to make 1/4 C of liquid and add it to the processor along with the chia seeds. Give it all another whiz to combine really well then set it aside for about half an hour to thicken as the chia seeds to absorb the liquid – this gelatinous goodness is effectively your egg that will bind the cookie mixture.

In the meantime you can get busy with the dry goods mixing the hazelnut meal, baking powder, arrowroot and cacao nibs or chocolate bits in a bowl. Then go ahead and have a cuppa and do some social media stalking or whatever it is you do to kill time while you wait for the orange mixture to do its thing.

Right, now you’ve caught up on all the important events of the world bring your attention back to the very important business at hand. Cookies. The orange mixture should have thickened up substantially while you’ve been otherwise occupied, now you can add the melted rice malt syrup and coconut oil, vanilla and stevia and process again to mix it all together.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix it through thoroughly until you have a mixture that’s thick and sticky but able to hold its form when dolloped on a tray – which is exactly what you’re going to do now. Drop it onto your lined tray in heaped teaspoon sized blobs that are roughly cookie shaped – cookies being roughly round it shouldn’t take too much mathematical precision to master this bit. Once all the mixture has been portioned out you should end up with about 28 – 30 cookies depending on how much you may have ‘sampled’ in the process – all in the name of quality assurance of course. If you’re using chocolate buttons on the top add them now then you’re good to go.

Whack the tray in the oven then sit back and be patient, these guys will take between 25 – 30 minutes to cook and I apologise now because the aroma of them baking is torturously good. When you can’t stand the smell any longer and they’re look gorgeously golden brown they’re probably about done. If you give them a poke at this stage they’ll still be relatively soft to the touch but don’t freak out, they’ll firm and set further as they cool – yes, I know, more bloody waiting. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven too much longer either or you’ll end up with nasty dry lumps instead of the soft but chewy, moist and a little bit gooey cookies that they should be. Trust me here, when have I ever let you down before?

Let them cool for half an hour or so and Ta Da (cue showy hand flourish), you’re done! One fragrant, flavoursome batch of home baked, free from crap cookies that are totally legit, definitely too legit to quit at just one – even the wise plate of awesomeness agrees.

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