If you haven’t met Choffy yet, you might want to check it out. Choffy is roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed and you brew it like coffee. It’s my current hot drink of choice. The taste is deeply chocolate, but unlike hot cocoa, is light. I add some stevia and a splash of soy milk.
You can do other delicious things with Choffy, just as you might do with cacao nibs. I’ve been in a shortbread mood and remembered a favorite recipe for espresso shortbread from my pre-vegan days. Shortbread is an ideal recipe to veganize because there are no eggs or dairy milk involved. Replacing butter with a vegan alternative is ridiculously easy. So I followed the standard recipe but used 100% whole wheat instead of refined white flour and replaced white sugar with coconut sugar. I wanted a hint of chocolate but felt chocolate chips would overwhelm these delicate cookies. Choffy (or crushed cacao nibs) are the perfect solution. Plus they add a nice crunch. Finally, I added chopped dates to bump up the smoky maple flavor.
Do I even need to suggest these are perfect alongside a cup of coffee?
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
- 1 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup ground cacao, such as Choffy (or roughly chopped cacao nibs)
- 2 tsp. finely ground coffee
- 1 tsp. vanilla powder
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 1/4 finely chopped dates
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, vanilla powder, salt, cacao, and ground coffee. Carefully add this mixture to the bowl with the coconut oil and sugar and mix - then, with the mixer running on low, pour in the water. Add the chopped dates and process until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough that holds together. You may need to knead it a few times once you remove it from the bowl.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough to a generous 1/4"+ thick. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough as well to keep the rolling pin from sticking to it. You'll be chilling the cookies prior to baking, but it's easier to cut them when they're soft.
- Using a 3-inch rectangular cookie cutter (or whatever shape you prefer), cut out cookies and carefully and gently move the pieces onto the baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork (or as I did, the flat end of a skewer), punch 2-3 times down the center on each of the cookies. Now place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. The cookies firm up very quickly.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325-degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Bake for about 25-27 minutes. The shortbread will get lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.
- If you don't like the taste of coconut, use refined coconut oil instead. Or, use vegan butter.