Hazelnut Valentine Cookies- vegan, wheat free, sugar free

Perfect healthier treat for your loved one...

I spoiled the no-sugar by half-dipping in dark chocolate, but you could always use xylitol chocolate, available from health food stores

If you really love someone, you'll want them to enjoy good health, right?  Srimati Radharani received a boon from Durvasa Muni that whatever She cooked would bestow a long and healthy life, which is why Yasoda Mayi would always ask Her to cook for Krsna. As I don't have any such blessing, it is to the most health-giving ingredients that I turn when cooking for my Beloved. These delectable cookies contain no sugar plus the nutritional benefits of nuts and chickpea flour rather than wheat flour, so they are just perfect to bake for a loved one. 
They are soft rather than crunchy- in fact, they just melt in the mouth. The protein in the nuts and chickpea flour (besan) makes them very satisfying- you won't want to eat more than one at a time. 
Next time I make these -and that may well  be quite soon, as they were very popular with my family- I'll replace the margarine with coconut oil, as this is the most stable oil for baking, and a healthier option. If you eat dairy products, then ghee is also a great option. I have to thank Sadhana of the awesome Sensible Veg blog for the inspiration for these, as she has some great cookie recipes using almond flour which gave me the idea to use nuts. If you want a main course to make a complete meal, try looking here for my last year's Valentine meal recipe.
I made about 22 cookies with the following quantities, but some of them were smaller.

400g ground hazelnuts (if you do it yourself, leave some slightly larger pieces)
250g unhydrogenated vegan margarine (or try coconut oil, and let me know how it turns out!)
200-250g xylitol, according to your taste
250g chickpea flour (besan)
1 tsp  natural vanilla essence
100-150g dark chocoolate/ xylitol chocolate (optional)

  • Combine the ground nuts and besan in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, cream the margarine/ coconut oil and xylitol together.
  • Add these to the nut mixture, along with the vanilla essence.
  • Mix to a dough, pat into a roll and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least half an hour, or even overnight. This is essential, to avoid the dough going runny as it bakes.
  • Either slice into rounds or roll into balls and press into cookie shapes, put on oiled baking trays and cook in an oven preheated to 180C for 10-15 minutes, until just starting to brown. Pat down with a spatula halfway through.
  • When you take them out of the oven, they will be really delicate so don't even think about taking them off the tray until they have cooled a little. Then lift them carefully with a spatula to finish cooling on a fine-meshed wire rack.
  • When cold, carefully half -dip in chocolate, if desired. Leave to set on waxed paper or foil.
Happy Valentine's Day!


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