This recipe is straight from Ottolenghi although these little chocolate cookies originate from Switzerland. They fit the bill of a make ahead sweet canapé perfectly and also are a delicious teatime treat. But more than that, I thought I would make them in a heart shape, rather than the traditional Christmas star, because everyone needs a bit of love and kindness right now.
270g ground almonds
250g granulated sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
40g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder (the original recipe uses Dutch processed cocoa powder, which gives a deeper flavour in this recipe, but I didn’t have any and used Food Thoughts organic cocoa powder - it seemed to work ok).
Finely grated zest of one orange
1 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into the bowl of a free standing mixer and add the ground almonds, granulated sugar, orange zest, Chinese 5 spice and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, combine the ingredients on a low speed. Add the egg whites and vanilla and turn up the speed to medium and continue until the dough starts to form a ball. Alternatively use the same method, but with a food processor.
Tip the dough out into a piece of cling film and press it into one or two flat disc shapes. Wrap the dough in cling film and store in the fridge for at least an hour.
When ready to cook, heat oven to 190°f (170° fan).
Roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film to about 1.5cm thick. Cut your chosen shapes out, re-rolling the dough scraps to cut out as many cookies as possible. Put the shapes on parchment lined baking sheets or freeze at this stage, uncooked.
Sprinkle the shapes with a little granulated sugar and cook for about 10 minutes until the bottoms have turned a little golden but the insides are still soft and chewy.
Cool and try to resist them. If you can avoid eating them, they will keep really well for about 5 days, or they can be frozen uncooked.
The background for the heart shapes cookies is out of Charlie Mackesy’s brilliant book ...... it just seemed so appropriate.