I absolutely LOVE Christmas. Regardless of how hectic my life is, in the first week of December I always make sure we’ve lugged a real tree into the house, decorated it (according to my ‘Perfect Tree’ plan that starts with Christmas lights arranged for maximum visibility, equally spaced tinsel, and decorations to fill every space so there are no gaps…), and cranked the Christmas music on the stereo so everyone has to sing along to boost the festivity.
About seven years ago I also started making Christmas baking gift baskets to give to our close friends and family. These were so well received it has now blown out to around 10 gift baskets which each have around 10 types of baking in them. Needless to say, our kitchen is always busy for three solid days before Christmas, our fridge turns into a storage unit for baked goods and our dining table is covered in a mess of cellophane, baskets and curling ribbon.
However, there’s also something to be said for using the best quality ingredients that you can, and opting for organic products when possible. Your baking will taste so much better for it, and if you’re gonna eat something decadent you might as well do it properly!
When it comes to Christmas flavours, peppermint is a classic thanks to candy canes (which we always have hanging from our tree). This recipe uses real mint leaves from the garden, rather than peppermint extract, to add a Christmassy twist to delicious dark chocolate cookies.
Dark Chocolate & (Real) Mint Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar
- 1 1/2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped (you can use any type of mint, however peppermint is preferable otherwise the flavour may not be as strong)
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted (can use another type of cooking oil if you wish)
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour (I use a pre-made gluten-free baking flour)
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups dark chocolate pieces (chunks, chips or broken up block; doesn’t matter but try opt for the best quality you can afford!)
- Pinch of salt (boosts the chocolate flavour)
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced oven). Place Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar in a large mixing bowl with the finely cut mint leaves and use the tips of your fingers to rub the mint and sugar together.
Add in the dark chocolate pieces and pinch of salt, stir to combine.
The mixture may be quite crumbly; use your hands to shape tablespoons of the mixture, gently squeezing it into flattened circles. Your hands will warm the coconut oil and help the mixture keep the shape. Press any chocolate chunks that fall out back into your shaped cookies.
Place on baking tray (I always prefer to line mine with baking paper and spray with a little cooking oil), then bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tray (otherwise they may fall apart).
Makes 20-24 cookies.
These make a great gift! Wrap in a square of clear cellophane and tie with some curling ribbon for a beautiful Christmas present with a personal touch.
Thanks to #chelseasugar for teaming up with me for this post
Find more delicious recipes and baking inspiration for this festive season at chelsea.co.nz.
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Images / NZ Real Health