Hazelnut Mocha Cookies

I seem to be running into hazelnuts and coffee a lot these days.

A couple of weeks ago, when we were visiting him and his family at their cottage up north, my friend Mark offered me Frangelico with coffee (he forgot I haven’t drunk coffee in 7 years). Then I bought the latest issue of Everyday Food, and there was a drool worthy photo of Hazelnut-Espresso cookies on display. And just this past Sunday morning, after dreaming of Holidailies, I woke to find that my HH had made himself some hazelnut flavored coffee for a change.   

Well, I decided to take the hint.  Since I am relatively fond of hazelnuts but don’t indulge in coffee, I came up with my own cookie combination of hazelnuts with coffee substitute (you know, that Sanka-like instant hot beverage usually made from roasted chicory, barley, beetroot, and carob, or some such).  To tell you the truth, I think my combination actually works better than the original caffeinated one.  I may have received the inspiration to blend these two flavors from Martha, but the resulting confection is all mine.    

These cookies are crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle, and taste totally decadent.  The combination of brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and the coffee substitute is divine. 

Vegan or not, these are a fabulous holiday cookie, and everyone will love them.  Just don’t tell people they’re made with healthier ingredients!   

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Oh, and a side note on coconut oil:  I’m always asked about why I use it, as coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, and we’re so conditioned in our society to shun sat fats.  Now, I’m definitely not a biochemist, but there are lots of articles out there indicating that, because of the molecular structure of the oil (IF it’s organic and cold-pressed, that is), it is actually a heart-healthy food, one that may very well lower cholesterol and perhaps (still tenuous at the moment) aid in weight loss.  And because it’s solid at room temperature (it melts at 76F), coconut butter makes a wonderful substitute for dairy butter, with similar results in baking.

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[This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog.  For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]

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