Hello hello! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend/start to the week! I had a particularly spectacular weekend celebrating our first wedding anniversary! It’s so hard to believe that a little over a year ago, I was in a completely different state of mind, re: wedding planning chaos mode. It’s funny how that happens right? You spend a whole year obsessing over little details and just like that, in a blink of an eye, the big day is over. What a wonderful day it was though! I would totally re-live just that one amazing day again 🙂
Suril planned our celebratory trip this past weekend (which is now turning into a yearly pilgrimage) to Charlottesville, Virginia. We stayed at Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast, a quaint b&b surrounded by nature and a stone’s throw from Monticello. Our hosts were terrific and the breakfast they made for us everyday was top notch! They took us on a wine tour and thankfully we had only been to one of the four vineyards they took us to. We’ve been to the area so many times, our list of vineyards that we haven’t been to is getting smaller!
Charlottesville to me is the Napa Valley equivalent in the DC area. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive from DC (or shorter if you hit no traffic) and you are surrounded by farms, hills and sprawling vineyards. Obviously the wine scene is impressive, but the food scene is equally impressive! We had dinner reservations at a beautiful French restaurant called Fleurie, where the staff was just so so awesome! They gave us a personalized menu (because they knew it was our first anniversary) and treated us with so much kindness. The staff’s amazing service aside, the food at Fleurie was nothing short of phenomenal! I think this is one of the best french restaurants I’ve been to! All in all our weekend was absolutely lovely and in typical wonderful Charlottesville form 🙂
On to today’s recipe!! Even though I’m far from vegan, I do keep a lot of vegan ingredients in my pantry and fridge. I wanted to make cookies just because and was craving to have cardamom involved in some way (I love love love cardamom!). Since I had vegan butter in my fridge I decided to try my hand at vegan cookies! I came across a great vegan shortbread cookie recipe and figured I’d add my little twist on it! The end result was amazing of course. You really can’t go wrong with a cookie recipe that involves cardamom, chocolate and hazelnut! Enjoy these with a hot cup of chai or coffee!
King Arthur 100% Organic All Purpose Flour, 32 oz
Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips – 10 oz – 2 pk
Diamond Hazelnuts, Chopped, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)
Simply Organic Cardamom, 2.82 Ounce
Bob’s Red Mill – Baking Powder Double Aluminum Free Acting Gluten Free – 16 oz.
- 1 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of vegan butter, softened
- 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar, powdered**
- 2 Tbsp of water
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt**
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, *optional
- Handful of chopped hazelnut for sprinkling, *optional
- In a bowl mix the flour, cardamom powder, baking powder and salt (see note below about salt).
- In another bowl, cream/mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and water.
- Add the bowl of the flour mixture into the bowl with the butter mixture and mix well, first with a wooden spoon and then knead with your hand. At first the texture will be mealy and crumbly, but as you keep kneading the ingredients it will start to become more like a dough.
- When the consistency is more like dough, form it into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough ball in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- After refrigerating, take the dough out and leave on the counter for about 10-15 minutes as the cold dough will be impossible to work with.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- When the dough is softer, place the ball between two sheets of wax paper on your counter and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. If the dough begins breaking too much, just reform the dough into a ball and start over.
- After you have rolled the dough out to the 1/4 inch thickness, using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out the desirable shapes and sizes. I typically take the leftover dough, form it into a ball and roll it out again to cut more cookies out. I do that several times until all of the dough is cut/used.
- Place the cut cookies onto the baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the oven for 10-12 minutes.
- After 10-12 minutes, take the cookies out of the oven and using a spatula, place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
- If you are dipping them in chocolate, use the time that the cookies are cooling to melt the chocolate chips.
- Place chocolate chips in an oven safe bowl over a pot of about a cup or two of water (double boiler). Heat on medium heat over the stove top and melt the chocolate chips (you can use a spoon to stir the chocolate).
- After the chocolate chips have melted, lower the heat to low or turn the heat off. Dip half of each cookie and place on a sheet of parchment paper to cool. You can sprinkle the optional chopped nuts on top of the chocolate dipped cookie before it cools.
- I cooled my cookies in the fridge, to expedite the cooling process. But the cookies can be left at room temperature and are ready to serve as soon as the chocolate has hardened.
- Store leftover cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- **Using a spice grinder/blender I blended 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar until it turned into a powder. You can use any sugar and don't have to powder. The sugar just distributes better in powder form.
- **Omit the salt if you use salted butter