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dirty chai pancakes + vanilla cranberry compote


Guys, I’m kind of sniffly and head-full-of-gross-stuff this week, so a posting of my contribution for the Toronto Vegetarian Association October newsletter will have to do. And by “will have to do,” I actually mean “is an unbelievably awesome addition that you’ll love.” Added bonus: I’ve linked to a few of my Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes at the end for all of you Canadians celebrating this weekend. Big hearts to you all.

Have you tried a dirty chai? I’m a recent convert to this indulgent drink. It’s a cinnamon-y and creamy chai latte with a shot of espresso added. This drink has MY JAM written all over it. It’s complex, warming, lightly sweet, still spicy and shot through with caffeine for good measure. This could be easy enough to produce at home with a batch of homemade chai concentrate, some strong coffee and the milk of your choice. Heat it all up together and get cozy.

Once I’m jazzed on something I usually can’t leave it alone, so naturally I had to make a pancake version of this beverage (NATURALLY). Truth: I tried to make waffles first, but it was one of the messiest waffle failures of my life. The batter itself is hearty with spelt flour and strong with coffee, spice and vanilla. Best part: I decided to blanket them in a cranberry compote tweaked with maple syrup. It adds a sweet-tart dimension that fits these little cakes so well. So much fall on one plate. Perhaps a lovely Thanksgiving brunch option for my country peeps? You could swap in some leftover cranberry sauce instead of making up a whole batch of separate compote if you like.

I’ll be sipping some ginger tea over here and snuggling in with this book (finally got around to reading it) while I rest up a bit. Oh and here’s a shorter autumnal reading suggestion from the good people at McSweeney’s (salty language warning). Make some pancakes and have a cozy and warm Thanksgiving friends. I’ll be back with something more ambitious next week :)


dirty chai pancakes with cranberry + vanilla compote
serves: 3-4
notes: I call for coffee extract, but ground coffee is just fine. Grounds give off a more intense flavour for sure, but they definitely get the job done (and leave beautiful little dark brown flecks in the batter). I would adjust the amount if you’re using ground espresso, like down to a teaspoon and half? If anyone tries it, I’d love to know how that goes. Also, if they sell that fancy cultured coconut milk at your local grocery store, you can use 1 1/3 cups of that and skip the whole vinegar-curdling-the-milk step.

compote:
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup (+ extra for serving if you like)
2 tsp vanilla extract

pancakes:
1 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I use the So Delicious brand Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup whole spelt flour
½ cup light spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of fine sea salt
1 tsp coffee extract OR 1 tbsp finely ground coffee
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra for cooking pancakes
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the compote: place the cranberries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add water as needed to keep the sauce moist. Mash the cranberries up here and there with the back of a wooden spoon to get a saucy consistency. Once you have a slightly wet, jammy texture, add the vanilla extract. Stir up the compote one more time and remove from the heat. Set aside.

Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Stir lightly and set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground coffee, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Stir to combine. Add the curdled non-dairy milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to over mix.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with melted coconut oil. Drop 1/3 cup measures of the pancake batter into the pan. Allow the first side to cook for 1 to 11/2 minutes, or until bubbles pop on the surface and the edges appear dry and lightly browned. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute. Remove pancakes and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve pancakes with cranberry compote spooned over the top and extra maple syrup if you like.

And some Canadian Thanksgiving ideas? Here’s a nifty grid of fall goodness for you to consider:

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Jeanine03/10/2012 - 9:06 am

I hope you feel better!

I really wish I had a plate of these right now… I could use a spicey coffee-ey pick me up this morning for sure!

Stacy03/10/2012 - 10:10 am

SUCH gorgeous photos! These look delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong with chai spices (almost) regardless of what you put them in. Hope you feel better soon and have a festive Thanksgiving celebration!

Kelsey03/10/2012 - 10:12 am

You’re either going to love me or hate me for sending you this link (i.e WILD) http://bit.ly/MMMgmr — This pancakes look amazing! My goodness.

Kristen03/10/2012 - 10:16 am

These are some seriously beautiful pancakes!

Michelle03/10/2012 - 10:30 am

DAMN GIRL. These are blowing my mind. All my favourite flavours together, for real.

Courtney03/10/2012 - 10:33 am

This post has succeeded in doing 2 things: making me drool on my keyboard, and making me really wish I had a dirty chai. These seem like the perfect fall pancakes!

Kasey03/10/2012 - 11:41 am

I’ve never tried a dirty chai latte but wow, it sounds good…as do these pancakes! I hope you get better soon, lady! I’m excited to try this.

Megan Gordon03/10/2012 - 11:55 am

It is breakfast time and I’m sitting here checking emails and drinking coffee … dreaming, now, of these waffles! Happy Thanksgiving!

Jacqui03/10/2012 - 12:22 pm

That book is still on my to-read list too. And these pancakes! I love all things chai, so I’m going to love these!

la domestique03/10/2012 - 12:54 pm

I will always go for pancakes, and those look delicious! I hope you feel better soon. :)

Kathryn03/10/2012 - 3:07 pm

You know how I feel about your food and this is just another example. Dirty chai pancakes is also probably the best name for a recipe ever. And I’m going to whip up a batch of the compote this weekend to have with yogurt. Oh I just love everything about this.

sarah03/10/2012 - 3:36 pm

dirty chai + pancakes = perfect.
{I hope you feel better soon!}
{ps. beautiful photos!}

Erin03/10/2012 - 3:56 pm

I do love a big stack of pancakes and I really love the sound of dirty chai- that’s right up my alley! Feel better soon!

Elenore Bendel Zahn04/10/2012 - 3:12 am

Oh my darling! Are you feeling any better yet? I´m sending you tons of snuggly, healthy, feel-good vibes and hugs <3

The pancakes looks out of this world and the photos are -WOW-

Earthsprouty love to ya!

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious04/10/2012 - 6:40 pm

Amazing! That compote really sealed the deal for me!

Eileen04/10/2012 - 9:23 pm

I’ve never heard of a dirty chai, but it sounds so good–sign me up! This compote sounds like a perfect match with chai spices too.

Kim04/10/2012 - 9:47 pm

I have to tell you, I think I just fell in love with your recipe as I’m a huge huge fan of pancakes. Definitly gonna try these and Dirty chaï (never heard of it…)

Anna05/10/2012 - 1:37 am

Absolutely delicious! It looks wonderful with the jam.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar05/10/2012 - 1:43 pm

LOVE this idea!

Dirty Chai « Ellen Cherry07/10/2012 - 9:09 am

[…] looks tasty, but I’m really in love with the name: Dirty Chai pancakes with vanilla cranberry compote.  None of that uptight prude chai.  Nope, this one is a little […]

Cookie and Kate07/10/2012 - 11:01 pm

It’s 10 pm now but that is not stopping me from fantasizing about a steaming plate of these pancakes magically appearing on my coffee table. I’ve been on a Chai latte kick lately and I’m trying out this dirty chai concept next. No doubt I’m gonna love it.

Vanessa08/10/2012 - 12:50 pm

So lovely!

Tiffany @thetriplecreme09/10/2012 - 4:53 pm

Yum. I often find pancakes too heavy, but these look light and irresistible!

[…] In terms of things that sound delicious and quaintly fall: gluten-free pumpkin spice pancakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, peanut butter and chocolate cookie sandwiches, and dirty chai pancakes […]

Mince&Type10/10/2012 - 11:29 am

I’ve never been much of a pancake person, but I think these would totally change my mind! That compote sounds amazing too. Hope you’re feeling better!

[…] Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce | adapted from The First Mess and Foods of Our Lives | serves 3-4 | Printable […]

Karmagh09/11/2012 - 2:03 pm

These are AMAZING! Quite possibly the best pancakes ever! I whipped up a half batch for lunch and they’re delish. I swapped out the water in the compote for some chai I already had brewed & used a GF flour blend since I didn’t have any spelt. They turned out great. So glad to have stumbled across your blog. I’ve got a list of your recipes I’ll be trying soon!

[…] Dirty chai pancakes with cranberry and vanilla compote. You had me at dirty. And chai. She uses a homemade chai concentrate, but you could use a liquid concentrate from the store in a pinch. Cook down your cranberry sauce and throw a little maple syrup in there. Then throw ‘em down the hatch. […]

Valeria09/02/2013 - 5:01 am

I just finished eating these as part of an indulgent Saturday morning breakfast, and oh my, we are just in love with them. I never heard of dirty chai, but just following your instructions I can already tell I love it. I used fresly ground coffee beans (1 tbsp) and 100% whole spelt flour, with on top a blackberry compote (had leftover berries in the freezer from my summer foraging). Perfect, will make them over and over again.

[…] Frühstücks-Experiment gestartet: Pfannkuchen ohne Ei. Hat mit diesem Rezept (und einer himmlischen Mango) wunderbar funktioniert. Wer hätte gedacht, dass Apfelessig und […]

[…] this recipe for Chai pancakes with cranberry […]

[…] 3. Usa compota de fruta en vez de mantequilla y jarabe sobre tus hotcakes. […]

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Inés06/07/2013 - 1:26 pm

Hi Laura,
I just made your pancakes and while eating them I suddenly noticed that there was no egg or egg-replacer in them. Then I checked whether I’d simply forgptten…but, no. This is amazing! Somehow I always thought something, like ground flax or anything else, had to be in pancakes to keep them together. Do you definitely taught me something! :-)
I made your recipe with cashew milk and grain coffee and somehow the pancakes turned out looking like I had put cocoa in them ;-) Well, maybe the coffee powder dissolved … I guess so. I’d been looking forward to the speckles ;-)
Apart from that I had a strawberry sauce with them.
And to the pancakes: I liked them! At the first bite I thought the cardamom was too overwhelming and maybe I’d use less in future, but after a few bites and adding more sauce it blended it quite nicely. It reminded me a bit of what you can buy here in Germany as “Lebkuchengewürz”, which is a spice for gingerbread. It was different as I had expected, as I’d thought it would taste of coffee, but didn’t really. So, thank you! This is a nice flavour variation you created there! :-)

Weekend Warriors! | Sous Style30/08/2013 - 4:21 pm

[…] Chicken Thighs with Nori Seaweed & Sesame Rice Boozy Bacon Jam, Honey Grilled Watermelon, Dirty Chai Pancakes, Baked Cheese with Rosemary Crackers, Chickpea Yoghurt Dip, Spiced Moroccan Wrap, Mint Chocolate […]

Terry24/10/2013 - 4:10 pm

These pancakes are divine and the photos are mouth watering.

Jess24/11/2013 - 6:55 am

These need to be in my life. Stat.

caylee14/12/2013 - 5:16 pm

Hi, I was just wondering…if I used a pre-made vegan soy protein drink as the sub for say other non-dairy milks would that affect this recipe in anyway?

Laura Wright16/12/2013 - 8:42 am

Hi Caylee, I think the recipe would be fine if you subbed the non-dairy milk with the protein drink. Is the protein drink thicker than normal non-dairy milks? You might have to thin it out a bit, but other than that–should be fine.
-L

Dian31/12/2013 - 3:22 pm

Great idea for pancakes! I’m going to try these except with some dairy + eggs.

[…] by recipes found on these lovely sites: The Roasted Root, The First Mess, and Joy the […]

[…] it was really good and now I’m inspired to make my own jam! I found the original recipe on The First Mess, a site with a lot of amazing […]

[…] frivolous, funny to prepare and a bit unusual for Italians’s taste. I drawn inspiration from this post of Laura. I really love her blog, her style and her […]

Robin29/09/2014 - 11:09 pm

Made these last week and they were absolutely perfect. Everything I was hoping for! Such a fun flavor profile. I sprinkled some extra espresso powder on top along with a drizzle of maple. Had plenty of cranberry compote leftover and I’ve been enjoying it in all sorts of ways! On oatmeal, mixed into yogurt, spread on toast, and dolloped on baked sweet potato.
Thanks for the great recipe!

thefolia23/10/2014 - 3:30 pm

Viva la pancake…we love eating these in our nest and are always blending with whatever veggies and fruits we have on hand. These sound amazing…can’t wait to try! Happy Nesting.

Steve Lassoff01/12/2014 - 11:54 pm

Sounds amazing! I shared this on pinterest.

[…] Chai Coconut Ice Cream by Cookie + Kate 2. Dirty Chai Pancakes by The First Mess—Yes, tooting my own horn ¯_(ツ)_/¯ 3. Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie + Black […]

delicata squash + lime tabbouleh


What is it about seasonal change that is so emotional?

This hunch seems especially true for fall, but especially pertinent in my little nook of Canada. Another 6-7 months of briskness is coming. The booties have been dusted off and wooly scarves have cozied around my neck on more than one occasion already. We seem to brace ourselves and turn into each other so readily. The community feels strong wherever cold winds sweep through and my dwelling spaces have been no exception.

I heard a rustle of slowly decaying leaves from the apple tree in the middle of our garden at dusk and I swear it was fraught with emotive… like, vibrational THINGS. You know?! The fallen fruits laying in the dampness, some rotting and sunk in, kind of threw me. I was taken aback by the whole scene. Strange beauty in the cool mud before dark.

Mark and I were in Montreal a couple weekends ago and passing by an old church in the morning hours, I could hear the choir of voices inside just slightly muffled by ages-old bricks and mortar, the congregation’s joy barely contained. I felt like my chest would explode, just walking on by.

I’ve been laughing harder too. So many things giving me that riot of hearty laughs where the sides of your eyes are all misty wet and crinkled from the inability to contain that big, smiling mouth. Just one little gesture or phrase from Mark and I’m senseless with that gasping-for-air-kind of laugh, face blindly pointed to the sky trying to catch a moment, a breath, only to fall into it again.

Needless to say I’m drinking this atmospheric goodness up fairly greedily. That lushness seems abundant all around. I’m gently savoring it in some ways; the slower sipping of morning coffee, lingering over a book or magazine in a warm spot of the house, craving anything that can possibly be roasted or caramelized… In other ways, I’m much more eager to get my fill with a sense of haste; spontaneous road trips, all kinds of indulgence, permitting myself some laziness on a whim. It’s all keeping me in the moment.

My appetite has been pretty strong through all of this, as per usual. I wanted to make something that would serve as a very complete side dish at dinner that could gracefully turn into a perfect lunch addition for a few days longer. Leftovers. I wanted some damn good leftovers to eliminate any  doubt around lunchtime for a bit. We had some gorgeous delicata squash forming in the garden, one of my favourites.

I started thinking about a sort-of tabbouleh salad with roasted squash and super sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes, barely clinging to the dried up vines at this point. Lots of herbs and citrus in the form of a whole lime vinaigrette is in the mix, an awesome technique I’m borrowing from Brooklyn Supper. You get the acidity of the juice and all the fragrance of the zest in a couple little blitzes of the blender. It’s the perfect accompaniment to sweet, roast-y squash, cracked wheat and a bounty of parsley and mint. This comes together so easily once you get the squash roasting, which is completely by design. I wanted to leave you with plenty of time to fill your heart up with the excitement of change and coziness :)


delicata squash and whole lime tabbouleh
vinaigrette from Brooklyn Supper
serves: 6-8
notes: Make sure you let the cooked bulgur cool down completely before tossing it with all of the other ingredients to avoid major grain-clumping. Feel free to use quinoa or millet for a very similar gluten-free option too. Don’t eat grains? Try some cauliflower pilaf technique. Also, I recognize that some limes might be more juicy or pith-y than others, so in light of this I have some suggestions for whole lime vinaigrette success/trouble shooting. First, zest the lime onto a cutting board, aiming to only grate off the green part (the white/pith is rather bitter). From here, cut it in half and squeeze the juice into your blender. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of the zest to start and go from there. You might want more if you like the fragrance/essential oils of the peel.

salad:
1 medium delicata squash, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper
1 cup dry bulgur
5-6 roma-sized tomatoes, cut into small wedges
8 sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped roughly
8 sprigs mint, leaves chopped roughly

vinaigrette:
1 lime, halved and chopped into smaller pieces (preferably a juicy one)
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup grapeseed (or olive) oil
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the delicata halves crosswise into 1/2 inch thick half moons. Toss them with the 2 tbsp grapeseed oil, ground coriander, salt and pepper. Arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.

While squash is roasting, combine bulgur and 1.5 cups water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Add a splash of oil and stir it around at this point to prevent clumping.

Combine the chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, roasted squash and cooked bulgur in a large bowl.

Make the vinaigrette: Combine the chopped lime, garlic clove, water, oil, salt and pepper in a blender pitcher. Blend on medium-high speed until lime is liquified and you have a creamy, homogenous mix. Taste for seasoning.

Pour vinaigrette over vegetables and bulgur. Stir to combine and add any salt or pepper if you like. Serve at room temperature or cold.

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Kittee-Bee Berns27/09/2012 - 11:29 pm

heck, this looks so great i’ll be making this with quinoa just as soon as i get my hands on a delicata. super brilliant

xo
kittee

Hannah28/09/2012 - 12:14 am

Laura this is perfect! Those last sweet tomatoes meet fall’s fairest harbinger, the delicata. I love it. And leftovers, yes, yes.

You can put those seeds in the toaster oven and sprinkle a nice crunchy topping over it all too, you know. Just sayin’ ;)

Kathryn28/09/2012 - 4:18 am

I love this; I feel almost giddy about fall at the moment. As much as I love the summer, I walked home from work last night in the dark and the rain and the cold and I couldn’t believe how happy it was making me. This kind of hearty salad is perfect for this time of year. Delicious.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar28/09/2012 - 11:39 am

This salad is stunning! Awesome photos :)

Stacy28/09/2012 - 12:13 pm

This is a beautiful essay, and, per usual, you have crafted a unique and delicious-looking dish. This is on my dinner list, to be sure!

Kasey28/09/2012 - 3:26 pm

Hi friend! I totally know what you mean about the emotional nature of seasonal change. I absolutely adore this time of year..when the air gets crisp, and the leaves turn, and all those beautiful squashes come into play in our kitchens. This sounds like a fabulous dish -delicata is probably my favorite fall squash! xo

Kelsey28/09/2012 - 10:07 pm

Emotional is right. Holy moley. I can imagine you laughing to the sky, and it makes me smile. One day, one day. This looks crazy good, btw.

sara30/09/2012 - 2:36 am

you! so good! the photos on this one are magnificent, my dear. can’t wait for fall squash foods once it cools down around here!

Jacqui02/10/2012 - 2:24 pm

I’m right there with you on the seasonal mood shift. I’ve been loving it. And this dish is definitely on my must make soon list, I love the list of ingredients!

Cookie and Kate07/10/2012 - 11:06 pm

Gah, so with you on this one. The change in seasons has been an emotional one for me, for sure. I’m not so happy about the brisk weather. I would be very happy eating this salad, however. It looks perfect and I love that you used Elizabeth’s lime vinaigrette technique. That was a great night.

Elisa mcfarlane19/04/2013 - 12:09 pm

Love the fresh look and I am presuming great taste

Reeve25/07/2013 - 7:54 pm

so excited to have found your beautiful blog. I mean, seriously excited! But sad that this recipe isn’t in season right now:( Any suggestions for making a summer version?

Laura Wright26/07/2013 - 8:38 am

Hi Reeve,

Thanks for leaving such a kind note! I would probably grill or roast some summer squash in place of the delicata to make the dish more summer appropriate. :)
-L

Hannah20/09/2013 - 1:45 pm

This looks gorgeous and your words so perfectly describe this time of year!
You say you had this as a side – I’m intrigued what flavours it matched with?

P.s. I love your site so so much thank you for sharing so much deliciousness!x

The Big Salad: November28/11/2013 - 9:39 pm

[…] was inspired by the Delicata Squash Tabbouleh at The First Mess, but ended up making some significant substitutions, such as millet for the […]

[…] First Mess Delicata Squash Tabbouleh – A love letter to the seasonal changes written by Laura, a good gracious greenylicious rock […]

David Moses18/10/2014 - 10:33 am

My girlfriend and I are huge fans of your website. We’ve tried many of the dishes and enjoyed them thoroughly.

Tonight we made this dish, and honestly the lime vinaigrette was overpoweringly bitter. Given the deliciousness of your other meals however, we figure this must be something on our end.

What could have made the dressing so bitter? Does source of the produce matter when it comes to using this technique??

Laura Wright18/10/2014 - 12:19 pm

Hey David,

I’m so bummed out that this recipe didn’t work for you guys! So since this vinaigrette uses the whole lime, I’m going to guess that your lime might have had more white pith in it than mine? That’s the most bitter-tasting part of the fruit typically. Or maybe your lime wasn’t as juicy and the bitterness of the peel + pith overpowered the actual juice.

If you try this one again, instead of chopping up the whole lime and putting it in the blender, I might zest it with a fine grater onto a cutting board first. From there, you can cut the lime in half and use all the juice and then add the zest in to taste. I hope this is at least a little bit helpful + my apologies too. I’ll make a note on the recipe for others.

-L

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!

[…] Adapted from The First Mess […]

[…] her culinary school and restaurant endeavours, combined.  I just loved her gluten free and vegan chocolate hazelnut grahams. And then there’s my favourite, Aran Goyoaga, allergic to gluten, she began […]