Spiced Chocolate, Spelt and Hazelnut Crackle Cookies
- 120g butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 110g castor sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 125g spelt flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 20g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 100g chocolate chips (70 per cent cocoa solids) or 100g dark cooking chocolate, cut into roughly ½ cm pieces
- 50g mashed ripe banana (about ½ small banana)
- 170g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (but not powdery)
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
Tip: Once the uncooked dough balls have been coated in the hazelnut and icing sugar, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can bake them from frozen, just add a minute or two to the baking time.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the egg until incorporated.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, mixed spice and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter mixture. Mix on a low speed for about 15 seconds, add the chocolate chips and banana, and continue to mix until combined. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and transfer to the fridge for at least 1 hour (and up to 2 days) to firm up.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180C (170C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the hazelnut in a medium bowl, and the sifted icing sugar in a separate bowl. Remove the dough from the fridge and use an ice-cream scoop (or your hands) to form balls of about 3cm diameter, roughly 20g each. Roll the balls in the hazelnut so that they are completely coated and press the nuts in so that they stick. Then roll balls in the sugar so they are thickly coated all over. Place on the lined baking tray spaced 2cm to 3cm apart, then use your palm to flatten the cookies to 1cm thick.
- Bake for 10 minutes if you like a slightly gooey centre, and 12 minutes for a crunchier cookie. Remove from oven and cool on the tray for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack or plate. The cookies are best eaten on the day they are made, although will keep for up to 2 days.
Bruschetta with Tomato, Bacon, Arugula and Hazelnuts
Yield: 8 generous appetizers
- 8 (½-inch thick) slices good-quality crusty Italian-style bread
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
- 3 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, chopped and drained
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 slices bacon, fried, drained, and minced
- ¼ cup fresh arugula, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup crushed roasted and hazelnuts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- About ½ cup crumbled Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue cheese
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Grill or toast the bread until nicely browned on both sides. Rub with the cut garlic.
About 10 minutes before serving, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, bacon, arugula, and hazelnuts in a small bowl. Toss gently and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
To serve, spoon the tomato mixture onto the grilled bread. Top each serving with a portion of the Oregon Blue, and then drizzle on a bit of the balsamic vinegar. Place the slices onto a hot grill (or into a hot oven) and cook just until the blue cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.