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Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

It could be the chilly season or the fact that we’ve been watching too many baking and patissier shows, but the oven has taken the center-stage in our little kitchen chez nous lately. This time, we got cookies popping out of the oven.

I have a sweet tooth, and as much as I would like to be a responsible adult and keep my sweets intake to a minimum, there are days when I give in to the mercy of my craving. Very few days in my opinion. But they do happen. Fortunately, this cookie recipe makes all the guilt worth it – well, also because there wasn’t much of a guilt (at least that’s what I tell myself). This recipe was inspired by a cookie recipe from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook. I love this cookbook! I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it “healthier,” but I’ll let you be the judge on that.

We love chocolates (how could you not in this country, right?!), but we do not necessarily crave for chocolate-flavoured desserts chez nous. I guess we tend to side with the purists on cacao matters. But for variety’s sake, I opted for chocolate cookies this time. To my surprise, these chocolate hazelnut cookies turned out to be a total hit! They were so addicting with its chewy and crunchy combination and its gorgeous choco-hazelnut blend. And seriously, it seemed to have gotten even better in texture the longer we kept them. Not that I would expect you to keep them long enough. Did I say they were so good and addicting?!

Ok, time to put your baking face on. These cookies would make for yummy holiday presents, so c’mon, bake away!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
(makes 16 pieces)

100g olive oil
120g coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
100g plain flour
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (preferably the unsweetened version)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 tbsp crushed hazelnuts/almond mill
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted and halved/chopped

Beat together the olive oil, sugar and sea salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift and mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Add in the crushed hazelnuts/almond mill, and mix together. Pour the olive oil and sugar mixture, and continue mixing until ingredients are well-incorporated.

Pour the ingredients in a small baking dish, and cover with cling film. Place it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes until they are firm enough to cut into 16 squares. You can also lay out a cling film on the surface of your baking dish before pouring in the cookie mixture. This will make it easier to remove the cookie dough when cutting if you do not want to cut it inside the dish.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line your baking trays with baking paper, and start placing your cookie dough squares leaving 3-4cm between them. Lightly press down the chocolate chips and halved/chopped hazelnuts unto your cookie dough. Bake for 12-14 minutes. They will still be a bit soft in the middle, but that’s what you’re looking for. It gets crispier when it cools down.

Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes.

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After that point, you’re pretty much free to munch on these chocolate-hazelnut pieces of heaven. Enjoy! ✌︎

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Homemade semi-buckwheat bread

Doesn’t a warm loaf of freshly baked bread sound so right on these cold winter days? I never imagined how easy it would be to make your own bread until trying out this super simple no-knead bread recipe. Seriously.

I guess European life has converted me into a gluten-monster. Bread and everything dough (apart from baos and cinnamon rolls!) never really appealed to me that much until I moved to Europe. I mean I would of course eat bread back home, but I never gave it much thought. The only ones that I remember savoring back in the days were the warm bread rolls (pains serviettes) they would serve in fancy restaurants. That in itself gave me the impression that bread is a complex thing to make, so I never really dared to make them.

Fast-track to France and Switzerland, and suddenly bread is everywhere. No – scratch that – GOOD bread is everywhere! So then my love for bread just grew exponentially, and I am a gluten fool daring to make my own bread.

This isn’t my first attempt to bake bread, but perhaps, this is the first successful one. Do try it out, and really, you’ll feel so accomplished once that nice loaf comes out of the oven.

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Homemade semi-buckwheat bread

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

In a large bowl, mix warm water and yeast together. Stir it until lumps of yeast have disappeared. Add the olive oil, salt and sugar. Pour in 1 cup of the all purpose flour and 1 cup of the buckwheat flour. Mix everything together until the ingredients are well incorporated. It takes a minute or so to mix it all together by hand. Finally, add in the rest of the flour. Mix it once again until dough starts to form into a solid mass (but it will still be sticky and wet so don’t worry! ). Leave the dough to proof for about 30-60 minutes.

Grease your baking pan. I used a 29 x 12cm loaf pan for this recipe. Pour the proofed dough into the pan, and using your fingers, sprinkle a bit of flour on top and gently push down the dough to cover all corners of the pan. Cover and leave to proof for another 30-45 minutes or until the dough has doubled.

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C.Once your dough has doubled in size and the oven is nicely hot, it’s time to chuck in the dough in the oven. Bake your bread for 45 minutes in 190°C.

Aaaaaaaaand… Ta-da! It should be nicely golden brown on the outside and fluffy inside. Yumm! Let it cool and don’t hold yourself and dig in!

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Feel free to change the flour and add nuts and grains based on your preferences. I tried another loaf with rice & millet flour and added some poppy seeds. It was great too. I discovered that rice and millet flour absorbs more water when baked though, so I would probably add more liquid (water or milk) next time.

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Happy baking! ✌