Coconut Cocoa Crack Cookies (Gluten Free)
Flavoured Cocoa powder and flavoured icing sugar. Why has no one thought of this before? It seems so obvious now I’ve seen it. Whilst I’m kicking myself for not being inventive enough to have got there first, I’m very pleased that someone else has put their livelihood on the line for the sake of my tastebuds.
I imagine it would be fairly easy to flavour cocoa powder with some synthetic agents, but then why wouldn’t I just use flavourings from the supermarket? Sugar and Crumbs, who have only been trading for 14 weeks, use all natural flavourings. It’s relatively easy to get natural peppermint of vanilla flavouring, but not so easy to get things like ‘black cherry’ or naturally made versions of flavours such as ‘strawberry milkshake’. They currently sell 20 flavours of icing sugar and 5 of cocoa. One of my favourite things about their range is the packaging – the little press-to-close airtight pouches are so much less messy and more compact than standard sugar boxes.
So, the theory is great – natural flavourings, less things in my cupboard, pre-balanced flavour combinations….but do they taste any good? Sugar and Crumbs sent me their Coconut cocoa (from £2.99 for 150g), Pear Drop icing sugar and Turkish Delight icing sugar (from £2.99 for 250g) to test. I have to admit that I drank most of the cocoa as a hot drink. I loved it and didn’t really want to share. It’s a good strong hit as a drink but mellows pleasantly in baking. One benefit of these products is that you can use them in recipes that might not otherwise stand up to the texture / acidity or other aspects of the raw item. For example, I baked crack cookies with the coconut cocoa. They just wouldn’t have worked as well if I’d have put desiccated coconut in them as it would change the craggy exterior too much. Also, lots of people don’t like the texture of coconut. I rolled the cookies in the Pear Drop icing sugar which added a nice fruity boost to them. Interestingly, whilst the flavours are naturally made they do achieve the true pear drop flavour, which I suspect was never very natural!
I haven’t used the Turkish Delight icing sugar yet as I have to admit that I find the flavour too floral. I’ve never liked rose turkish delight or parma violets. It’s like eating granny’s talc! Also, I’m not really sure what to put with it. <update> I’ve been pondering this questions and it occurred to me that a pistachio cake would work rather nicely. So, I’ve got plans…
Yes, S&C sent me these for free to test, but to sum up my thoughts on their product – well, I’ve just ordered Cherry cocoa and Pistachio icing sugar.
Chocolate Crack Cookies
Adapted from How To Simplify’s Crinkle Cookies
I made a rye flour version of these chocolate crack cookies last May. You can make these using normal flour too – just omit the xantham gum I’m just catering to some gluten-dodging friends ;)
65g coconut cocoa from Sugar and Crumbs (or normal cocoa for plain ones)
1tsp vanilla bean paste
1tsp baking powder
75g soft light brown sugar
95g caster sugar
50ml sunflower oil
145g rice flour (or plain flour)
1tsp xantham gum
Icing sugar to roll them in. I used the pear drop flavour from Sugar and Crumbs
In a large bowl mix the cocoa, sugars and oil.
Now add the vanilla bean paste and eggs. Beat until combined.
In a separate bowl weigh out the flour, baking powder, xantham gum and salt and stir through so all is evenly distributed. Stir into the cocoa mixture. It’ll be relatively stiff.
Cover the mixture and put in the fridge for an hour (last time I said 4 – I was impatient this time and it worked fine)
Preheat oven to 350f/ 180c
Pour some icing sugar into a shallow tuppaware or bowl.
Take chunks of the dough and roll into 1inch (2.5cm) diameter balls.
Roll each ball in the icing sugar and put on a greased baking tray. They won’t spread very much.
Bake for 15 minutes (check after 10). They are very soft when they come out so wait for them to cool before taking off the tray.
This makes 15-20 cookies.