Italian Chocolate and Almond Cookies

I love these little treats. They are also fairly healthy, packed with calcium and heart-healthy fats from the almonds. They also include protein from the egg whites (and the almonds) and antioxidants from the cocoa powder. I love the chewy texture and the faint cocoa taste. Enjoy these with your coffee on a Sunday morning.

You will need a food processor to make this recipe (although if you can find almond flour in your local health food store, you can use that instead of grinding your own). You might also want to use a piping bag (forcing bag) to pipe out the cookies although you can use a teaspoon as well (the cookies won't look as nice and uniform though).


I love these cookies dipped in my husband's espresso

This recipe is:

  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free

Italian Chocolate and Almond Cookies

Makes 25 cookies

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (5¼ oz) almonds, toasted and ground in a food processor
  • 70 grams (2½ oz) Rapadura (or other raw cane sugar)
  • 2 large egg whites (please use free range eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (from a health food store)

Preparation

  1. First of all, you should toast the almonds. To do this, place the 150 grams almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes; it's important to use a timer since it is extremely easy to forget the almonds in the oven! Allow the almonds to cool.
  2. Next you need to grind the almonds in the food processor. Blend the almonds and 40 grams (1½ oz) of the raw cane sugar until resembling a course flour (might take 2-3 minutes). Be careful not to blend so much the flour becomes oily.
  3. Transfer the ground almonds and sugar to a large bowl and sift the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder into the bowl.
  4. Separate the 2 egg whites from the yolks. You can freeze the yolks for later use or discard.
  5. To whisk the egg whites you need to place them in a large, absolutely clean bowl (free from any grease or dust) and, using a stand mixer (or an electric hand whisk) on a low speed, begin whisking. Continue for about 2 minutes, until the whites are foamy, then switch the speed to medium and carry on whisking for 1 more minute. Now turn the speed to high and continue whisking until the egg whites reach the stiff-peak stage. Next, whisk the remaining 30 grams raw cane sugar in on fast speed, one tablespoon at a time. The egg whites should by now be stiff with a glossy mixture. Add the 1 teaspoon almond extract and whisk for 2 seconds. You should be able to turn the egg whites up side down in a spoon without the mixture dropping.
  6. With a spatula, fold the egg whites carefully into the large bowl (containing the ground almonds), be careful not to stir since the egg whites will loose their airiness.
  7. Place baking parchment on a baking tray.
  8. Scoop batter into a piping bag (forcing bag) fitted with a nozzle 2 centimetres (0.8 inches plain) wide. Pipe out 25 rounds of the batter on the parchment paper (allow some room between each one as the cookies will expand). You can also use a teaspoon although the cookies will not look as nice.
  9. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius/325 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 3, for 15 minutes (do not open the oven door during this time).
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Tips

  • You can decorate each cookie with chopped almond slivers if you like.
  • You can use carob powder instead of the cocoa powder.
  • The easiest method for dividing eggs into egg yolks and whites is to crack the egg so that the yolk sits in one side of the shell. Then pour the yolk into your other hand, cradling the yolk in your fingers. The white should run safely away from the yolk. This might require some practise. It usually takes around 4-5 seconds for the whites to fully drip into the bowl. You can freeze the yolks for later use.