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chocolate hazelnut grahams + lowbrow snacks


This gluten free cookie recipe has lowbrow-inspired roots despite its sophisticated looks and healthy-happy ingredients. Sort of shamefully lowbrow. Confession time is upon us. Deep breath.

We took a trip over to the USA last week (I live super close to an American border crossing-hey neighbours!) and brought back a certain brand of cookies, featuring certain little worker elves occupying a suspiciously chocolate-equipped treehouse/cookie factory. These were tagging along with some bottles of my favourite kombucha to keep it all in balance of course. Anyway these cookies were good. Too good. Thick cut graham-like crackers covered in fudge-y chocolate. Very simple goodness flavour-wise that unfortunately DID NOT translate to a simple ingredients list. Hydrogenated whatnots, probably 5 forms of sugar, the white flour, preservatives etc. Oy. And I ate how many? Too many.

Since I’m not one to dwell on less-than-virtuous eating incidents (I eat for pleasure first and always), I started dreaming up a healthier version of this crack-cookie as it were. There would be coconut oil for fat, hazelnuts for body (and to give off a bit of a nutella vibe), wholesome sweeteners, healthy garnishes for fun deliciousness and the like.

And it all worked out! I made my own hazelnut and coconut flour/meal in the blender and threw the dough together in the food processor. You could grind the flour in the food processor too, saving yourself some extra dishes/appliance usage. When grinding the nuts/coconut, you’e looking for the consistency of almond meal. A few stops short of nut butter does the trick. It should hold together when you pinch it, but still feel dry.

The dough will actually seem like a failure right from the outset. You’ll wonder how this sticky goop will become cookies-cookies that will actually be pleasant enough to eat at that. Flatten it out, stick it in the oven, maybe cross your fingers a bit and whoa! Spiced vanilla hazelnutty-molasses goodness that will take a bath in chocolate and get all smothered in sea salt, chopped nuts and cacao nibs. Oh. Yes. Protein, healthy fat, grain-free, sugar-free, satiating, vegan, tasty pretties… all that good stuff for wholesome, fancy-lady tea time. Sorry sweet little elves. Today, I win.


chocolate covered hazelnut grahams
serves: makes around 12 or more
notes: These will not taste exactly like graham crackers! They’re a bit more pillowy, nutty and complex.  Having said that, these would be amazing with a smooshy, molten marshmallow on top.

grahams:
1 cup + 2 tbsp hazelnut flour (roughly 1 cup of nuts ground in the food processor)
1/4 cup ground coconut meal (throw it in with the hazelnuts to make life easy)
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc)
scant 3 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature to cool (it should be soft, slightly cool, but not at all liquid)
1.5 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp non-dairy milk
splash of vanilla extract

chocolate ganache:
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped from a bar)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp coconut oil

garnishes:
chopped hazelnuts
flaky sea salt
cacao nibs
etc (crushed lavender buds would be dope)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.

After you’ve processed the hazelnuts and coconut, add the arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse a couple times to combine.

Add the maple syrup, molasses, coconut oil, non-dairy milk and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Place the lid back on and pulse until the dough starts to form a solid mass. If it isn’t clumping together, add hazelnut or coconut meal in tablespoon increments until it starts forming a ball as you pulse the machine.

Remove the blade and scrape the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Place a big sheet of saran wrap on top of the dough and flatten the dough out with a rolling pin. You want it fairly thin, around a 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer the parchment sheet with the dough to a baking sheet large enough to hold it all. Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are quite brown and dough feels dry. Cool completely.

Cut giant graham into whatever size cookies you like, removing the super brown edges.

Make the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Lower it to a simmer and add the chocolate chips, maple syrup and coconut oil. Whisk until chocolate is fully melted, about 3 minutes. Keep warm until ready to use.

Line another baking sheet with parchment. Using a small spatula as a chocolate dry-walling tool of sorts, brush the ganache onto the cut grahams. Lay them on the parchment-lined sheet and garnish with whatever you like while they’re still wet. Repeat with remaining grahams. Place in the fridge to set chocolate more rapidly.

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Kathryn20/09/2012 - 8:07 am

Why am I at work when I could be at home making these?!? It’s everything that I love in a cookie.

Emma20/09/2012 - 8:28 am

It just shows your normal making an unhealthy choice once in a while! Your cookies look gorgeous. Just bought some hazelnuts so these have risen to the top of the “to-make” list!

Ashlae20/09/2012 - 8:38 am

I know those elves and their cookies all too well (I used to be a huge fan of the ones that look like wheels, with squiggleys on top).

Love these, and the thought of eating them during fancy lady tea time. But I really want to dunk one in my morning coffee.

sarah20/09/2012 - 10:42 am

Gorgeous!! I wish I would have seen these an hour ago – I have a friend coming over in 15 who can’t eat gluten or dairy, and I was just racking my brain what I could make her. This, of course. Maybe we can make them together.

Also, I love your honesty. Makes me feel a teensy bit better about that bag of combos that somehow makes it’s way into our car on road trips. {ha}

Shanna20/09/2012 - 10:51 am

I am so impressed!

Emma @ Poires au Chocolat20/09/2012 - 10:56 am

These look so delicious. I have no idea what the originals you bought are like (and actually, have never tasted an authentic graham cracker) but I definitely want to try these. It’s so much fun recreating and updating treats you can buy.

Stacy20/09/2012 - 1:30 pm

This is wonderful. Excellent work health-ing up a lowbrow treat, and, I imagine, improving it in the process — I can’t imagine the elves would ever use lavender buds…

Kasey20/09/2012 - 3:25 pm

Love the feeling of success when I can recreate something super tasty (and usually super unhealthy!). These look positively divine, lady!

Courtney20/09/2012 - 3:51 pm

Oh those tricky elves and their cookies. I would go for your version hands-down, any day of the week. These look awesome and now I’m drooling all over my keyboard… Guess I’ll have to make these this weekend!

Jess20/09/2012 - 5:05 pm

Beautiful as always! Love the molasses incorporated into the biscuit, gorgeous. Could easily munch away on these with a dandy cuppa. Nom nom.

Heidi @foodiecrush20/09/2012 - 8:11 pm

I’ve never tried making my own grahams, but if it involves crack, and a healthier version than the dirty elf version, I’m down! Thank you!

la domestique20/09/2012 - 9:41 pm

Those elves totally put crack in the cookies! I am not gluten free, but your chocolate covered hazelnut grahams look friggin delicious!

brighteyedbaker22/09/2012 - 4:45 pm

Looks like a yummy recipe! I don’t think you can go wrong with that classic combo of hazelnuts and chocolate. Kudos to you for making a guilty-treat not so guilty. :)

Sophie22/09/2012 - 5:41 pm

I’m trying to quit chocolate and you are making it impossible! These beauties look absolutely delicious!

Elizabeth23/09/2012 - 10:29 am

These sound seriously wonderful. I was bracing for some kind of earth-shattering confession, so “I’m human” was a funny surprise (I think we’ve all accidentally done our time with something by those elves. I recently did battle with a box of Cheese-Its and managed to only eat three). Sadly, I’m allergic to hazelnuts, but I wonder if there’s a way to make this with coconut and pumpkin seeds, or both?

Barbara | Creative Culinary23/09/2012 - 10:32 am

These are gorgeous…and despite having to field the question a MILLION times, I’m not a Keebler, I’m a Kiebel and just as well. I’ll scarf some store bought cookies in a pinch but I don’t look at the ingredients; it would ruin the experience. I would rather have these in a heartbeat!

victoria23/09/2012 - 1:38 pm

Have you ever attempted making your own kombucha? It is super cheap and super satisfying!

Laura24/09/2012 - 9:58 am

Victoria,

I want to try making it for sure! I definitely spend too much money on my addiction to kombucha at this point :)

-L

Jacqui24/09/2012 - 8:34 pm

I haven’t had one of those cookies in year’s! I like the sound of yours much better though : )

Cookie and kate25/09/2012 - 11:25 pm

I’d forgotten how tasty those little elf cookies are until now. Yours look way better, though!

Kelsey26/09/2012 - 12:25 pm

Elves ain’t got nothing on this stuff ;)

Katie @ figgyandsprout05/10/2012 - 8:38 am

I’m dying to try these! Sounds like the perfect project for the weekend. They look absolutely gorgeous, Laura :)

[...] Chocolate Covered Hazelnut Grahams [...]

Melissa26/03/2013 - 11:45 am

I have a batch of these cooling right now, have tasted the end pieces and OH MY GOD! They are delicious all by themselves without anything added to them! Thanks so much for this gorgeous recipe – I will use it many times!

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