The holidays may be over. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still whip up a batch of yummy cookies! I baked these cookies on Christmas Eve…and I’m still nibbling away, savoring each bite.
This delectable recipe comes from Vegetarian Times Food Editor Mary Margaret Chappell. For the dough and garnish, Chappell uses Nutella, the infamous chocolate hazelnut spread laden with milk and copious amounts of sugar.
I decided to veganize the cookies, swapping out Nutella for Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It’s thick and creamy like frosting but doesn’t possess an overpowering saccharine flavor. It’s all-natural, delicious and best of all…vegan! I also ditched the eggs and substituted apple sauce, which not only binds the dough but also imbues a natural sweetness. See, vegan substitutions are easy peasy.
Not your typical cookies, these have a dense yet crispy texture. They taste subtly sweet from the rich chocolate, brown sugar, and tart apple sauce. But they’re balanced by the savory flavors of the salty, smoky, dry roasted hazelnuts. Thinking about skipping the extra chocolate hazelnut spread as frosting? Trust me. Don’t. The spread somehow enhances the chocolatey goodness from the cookies. It’s like a brownie and a cookie had a baby!
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (Justin’s Nut Butter is my fave)
4 ounces vegan butter (love, love, LOVE Earth Balance), room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
Extra vegan chocolate hazelnut spread for frosting cookies
1. Combine sifted flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Beat chocolate hazelnut spread and vegan butter with an electric mixer until combined.
3. Into chocolate hazelnut/butter mixture, beat in brown sugar and apple sauce.
4. Add dry ingredients into chocolate hazelnut/butter/sugar mixture.
5. Transfer dough to plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper. Make dough a 2-inch diameter log. Wrap tightly and chill in refrigerator overnight or 2 hours minimum.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice 1/4 inch pieces from cookie dough. Then roll piece between hands to form a ball. Place cookie ball on greased or parchment paper-covered baking sheet, flattening with hand to form small patty.
7. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are firm and dry. – This is what the original recipes calls for but I had to bake mine for approximately 16 minutes…thanks to my shitty stove.
8. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, frost cookies with chocolate hazelnut spread.
Yields approximately 35 cookies