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, yet light. I add some stevia and a splash of soy milk.
But you can also do other stuff with Choffy – just as you might do with cacao nibs. I’ve been in a shortbread mood (there’s another shortbread recipe coming tomorrow) 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 maple sugar. I wanted a hint of chocolate but felt chocolate chips would overwhelm these delicate cookies. Choffy (or cacao nibs) were the perfect solution – plus they add a nice crunch. Finally, I added chopped dates to bump up the smoky maple flavor.
Espresso Choffy Date Shortbread
Makes 6 long cookies or 12 if cut in half
8 tbsp. vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 chopped dates
1/4 cup Choffy (or lightly ground cacao nibs)
3/4 tsp. espresso powder (or instant coffee)
In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla, Choffy and espresso powder and mix a few times.
Carefully add the flour and salt, mix a few times, then add the dates. Process until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough. Chill for a few hours. I patted mine into a square and covered it in plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4″ thick and trim the edges. Cut the dough into 6 long pieces and move the pieces onto the baking sheet. Gently make a score along the center of the cookies – not going all the way through the dough – and using a fork, lightly mark 3 times down the center on each half of the cookies.
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.