I made these Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies for my favorite little man — my son, Jay. But as their rich, intensely chocolate-y, deep fragrance permeated the house, and as I took my first bite, I simply didn’t want to share. Not very mom-like, I know, but, erm, human?
Chocolate and hazelnuts are an easy and natural flavor combination, as anyone who’s spread a spoonful of Nutella on toast knows. And in these cookies there’s an armload of hazelnuts and two armloads of chocolate, in the form of raw cacao powder and semisweet chocolate chips. What also gladdens this mom’s heart is that the cookies are wholegrain, and with unrefined sugar sweetening them, I know this is a treat I can add to Jay’s snack box without any qualms. Also, I don’t think I’ve made an easier cookie– there was no mixing the dry ingredients and mixing the wet ingredients and combining them, and all that. You just throw the ingredients in one by one — in the right order, of course — and you’re done.
If you’re a mom or a dad, do you ever get the feeling that what your child is eating is beyond your control? I had written a while back about Jay’s fussy food habits, and over the months he’s definitely improved. He will eat most of the food Desi and I eat, and while some biggies like mushrooms and broccoli still take some work, he enjoys most vegetables, especially greens. He has even learned to like most pasta, and will eat a PBJ or cereal without sitting on them for an hour the way he used to.
But while things are somewhat under control at home, school is another matter altogether. It looks like not a day goes by when a teacher does not hand out candy or Cheetos for reward, or another student hands out donuts for his or her birthday. Once, Jay got a Pizza Hut coupon as a prize for completing an assignment — he was thrilled, of course. Me, not so much. And don’t even get me started on school lunches — the best vegan option in our suburban D.C. school district is a salad, so we pack his lunch every day.
Since we’re venting about schools and their absolute lack of understanding of nutrition, how about all that meat that gets casually thrown into the process of educating the kids, huh? There are many young vegetarians out there today, but apparently our schools are the only ones who don’t know it. At Thanksgiving, Jay’s Saturday School teachers actually showed his class a video on cooking turkey. The other day, he informed me that all foods that have protein are animal foods, because a teacher said so. And one fine day, when he was in first grade, he came home with a sheet of homework that asked him what his favorite food was: chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger. With some guidance from Desi, my baffled and very vegetarian boy struck out the cheeseburger and replaced it with a veggie burger — which he does love.
I hope his teacher learned something that day.
And now, for those Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies.
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour + 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts processed into a fairly fine powder
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp vegan "butter"
- 1/2 cup unrefined sugar like turbinado
- 1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a spatula, mix the butter and sugar until well-blended.
- Add the vanilla extract, mix, then add the cornflour-water mix, flour, cacao powder, and baking powder. Mix until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
- On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drop 3/4-inch balls of dough at least an inch apart(don't worry too much about shaping them, just dropping them with a rounded spoon is fine, or use your fingers. The cookies will spread as they bake.)
- Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then, using a thin spatula, remove to a rack to cool.
If you have any school nutrition horror stories, I want to hear!