Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Chocolate Nut Heart Cookies with Pink Pepper Glaze

These Valentine's inspired cookies are gluten and almost dairy free. They contain a mix of hazelnut and almond flours. The melted chocolate added to the batter may contain a trace amount of milk.

This recipe is a riff on traditional German Zimtsterne, or cinnamon star cookies popular at Christmas time. 

What I like best from the practical side about this recipe is the fact you can roll out the cookies immediately. No chill time for the dough in the fridge. Yay to saving time and immediate gratification. 

What really makes them unique is the scattering of crushed pink peppercorns over the tops of the cookies. People who tasted them really seemed to love the peppercorn touch. Because, you know, love, bites, stings, hurts or whatever...

Chocolate Nut Heart Cookies 
with Pink Pepper Glaze

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
  • 1+1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1+1/4 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus 1 pinch divided
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup plus 1+1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons water.
  • A few drops pink food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons pink peppercorns

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the almond and hazelnut flours, white pepper and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat the egg white with the whisk attachment of your mixer. when the egg white turns foamy, add a pinch of salt. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Beat a cup of powdered sugar into the egg white one heaping tablespoon at a time until fully combined. 
  • Chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler.
  • Add the melted chocolate, vanilla extract and agave to the egg white mixture and thoroughly combine.
  • Add the dry nut mixture until just combined. The dough will look crumbly but when you pat it together, it sticks together fine. 
  • Roll the dough out onto a lightly powdered sugared work surface.
  • Cut out heart shapes and place on the prepared baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Place the racks on top of the parchment lined baking sheet and let the cookies cool completely. 
  • Roughly crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or with a kitchen mallet.
  • Whisk together the remaining 1+12/ cups powdered sugar and water. Mix in the pink food coloring a drop at a time until it turns your desired shade of pink.
  • One at a time dip the cookies into the glaze, shake off the excess, replace on the rack and sprinkle with the crushed pink pepper.
  • When the glaze has dried completely, plate and serve.

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