I am madly baking for the holidays, are you? I love to have a few homemade sweets ready to take to a party hostess, to reciprocate for the friend who gives you an unexpected gift, or just to get me into a holiday mood!
These Chocolate Sparkle cookies were shared with me at a holiday party, so I'm sharing in turn. They're gluten-free, almost soy-free (a small amount of soy lecithin is in chocolate) and dairy-free (sorry, they're not egg-free or nut-free) and simple to make. Chocolaty delicious and rich-tasting, they're crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and oh so pretty on a holiday table! NOTE: the dough needs to rest in the fridge for at LEAST 8 hours, so make the dough the night before you want to serve them. Also, because there are few ingredients, the quality of the chocolate is key to the taste. Use the best chocolate available to you, Belgian (Callebaut) and French (Valrhona) are best. If European chocolate is unavailable in your area, you can of course use Nestle's semisweet chips. Please just don't use Baker's chocolate, that stuff will produce a flat-tasting cookie.
Chocolate Sparkle Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen 1-1/2" cookies
8 oz. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate (I use Callebaut)
3 Tablespoons shortening (I use Spectrum organic, but you can use butter or margarine if your diet allows it)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar for rolling
powdered sugar for garnish
1. Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water. Set aside to cool.
2. In an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on a medium speed, then gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar while increasing the mixing speed. Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow and thickens, and drops into ribbons. This should take about 3 minutes at high speed. Fold in the chocolate mixture.
3. Gently fold in ground almonds and mix thoroughly until all ingredients are combined thoroughly. Put the dough in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at LEAST 8 hours, or overnight.
4. When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (do NOT use waxed paper, it will melt! Grease the pan if you don't have parchment).
5. Put the 1/4 granulated sugar into a pie pan or plate. Scoop out small spoonfuls of dough, rolling between your palms to form 1" balls and drop them into the granulated sugar. (Your hands will melt the dough a little, don't be alarmed!) Make enough to fill one baking sheet at a time. If you need to take a break, put the dough back into the fridge.
6. Bake until the center of the cookies is no longer wet, 9-12 minutes. Test cookies for doneness once the tops crack, but don't let them bake too long or they'll be dry. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
7. When slightly cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
Save in an airtight container.
Recipe from the LA Times