Sometimes you’re just thrilled with an experiment that pays off, and this is one of those times – even more so than when I first managed a gluten-free version of this a few years ago. This time the hazelnut espresso shortbread is rolled up with a cinnamon sugar cookie. The resulting flavor is a delectably nutty swirl of cappuccino.
The original heavenly shortbread, originally discovered on Epicurious, had been a regular in my holiday lineup for years until I gave up the gluten in 2008, and I can’t say how stoked I am with this version, rendered not only gluten-free but also free of grains, dairy, and even refined sugar.
HAZELNUT CAPPUCCINO PINWHEEL COOKIES
Hazelnut Espresso Dough
1 cup hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder OR one packet of Starbucks Via instant coffee*
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (but cooled down)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350. Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until very fragrant and skins are a deep, dark brown. Transfer nuts onto a dishtowel, gather up the ends and rub the hazelnuts against each other to loosen the skins; they should mostly just flake right off (and drive yourself mad, they don’t have to be 100% cleaned, you just want to remove most of them).
Allow nuts to cool a bit as you measure out the other ingredients, then transfer nuts to the work bowl of your food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but be careful not to turn it into hazelnut butter – err on the side of caution). Remove from work bowl and set aside.
Add almond flour and coconut flour, palm or brown sugar, espresso powder and salt and pulse to just combine. Beat egg, coconut oil, honey and vanilla together, then pour over the dry ingredients. Pulse until the mixture starts to look like coarse sand. Add all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the cooled hazelnuts, reserving the extra for garnish. Pulse a few more times, until all is well-incorporated.
Transfer to a work surface and pack into a ball, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, starting with while you make the other dough . . .
Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Dough
2 ½ cups almond flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, whisk together coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry, then pack into a ball and chill for at east one hour.
Once both the dough balls have had a chance to chill, roll out each of the balls between 2 sheets of parchment paper (this way you can re-use the parchment for the baking sheets). I rolled to about 1/4 inch, I believe, and for best results with least leftover dough, aim for lengthy rectangles rather than circles.
Lay the sugar cookie dough over the hazelnut espresso dough and roll up into one long tube, as tightly as you can. I got the process started by using the parchment itself to fold the edge of the dough into itself. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate again while the oven preheats (or until ready to bake – the chillier the better, really).
Preheat oven to 350. Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on parchment-covered baking sheets. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until golden and richly brown. Cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with chocolate (as per below), sprinkle with reserved hazelnuts, and serve.
3 tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips (check your brand to make sure it’s dairy-free, such as Enjoy Life or Ghirardelli)
Mix hot water and chocolate in a small saucepan and heat over low to medium low heat, just until chocolate is almost melted, stirring continuously, then remove from heat and keep stirring until it melts the rest of the way. Drizzle over the cooled rounds and then sprinkle the reserved finely-chopped hazelnuts over the top.
Other gluten-free holiday cookies:
Gluten-Free Rugelach from Domata Mama
Lemon and Almond Meltaways from Canelle Vanille
Pecan Shortbread Cookies from Elana’s Pantry
Gluten-Free Chocolate Shortbread from Gluten-Free Girl
Shortbread Digestives from The Curious Baker
Orange Cacao Nib Florentines from Silvana’s Kitchen
* If coffee is verboten even in decaf form, you could try this product called Pero, which I found courtesy of Confessions of a Mormon Foodie. Proceed with caution, flavor-wise, as I haven’t vetted this variation myself and thus cannot vouch for it. But it might be worth a try!
— posted by Anne