Say helloooo to your new favorite fancy cookie.
Crisp, buttery shortbread. Rich, gooey caramel. And salted dark chocolate.
We’re really raising our Christmas cookie standards this year!
I must say this recipe is a one for true bakers who enjoy the process of seeing a recipe come together. It’s not the quickest. And the ingredient list is longer than average. In other words, it’s the perfect project for a cold winter day when you just lock yourself in with little else to do than drink hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music.
Tis the season for these low key days. And I must say, baking cookies makes staying warm and cozy at home even better =)
Alternately, if you make the nut butter and caramel ahead of time (you can even make the cookie dough up to 5 days before baking), these cookies actually come together rather effortlessly.
They will definitely be a jaw-dropping at holiday parties, and even more so when people are told that these beauties are totally healthy.
We’re talking oil-free, refined sugar free, vegan, and gluten-free!
And the best part is decorating them. Pile on the caramel and chocolate as your heart so desires! And get creative with the toppings!
When you make a batch, be sure to tag @thenakedfoodlife and #tnfl on Facebook and Instagram
Pepita-Date Caramel & Dark Chocolate Shortbread
Shortbread Ingredients (adapted from here):
1/2 c tapioca starch/flour
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c sorghum or brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
3 tbsp melted coconut butter
For mildly sweet cookies: 3 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp cashew butter
For sweeter cookies: 1/3 c maple syrup
For the cookies, sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the coconut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla, and beat on medium high with a hand mixer until a thick dough forms.
Knead into a ball, then roll out 1/4 inch thick.
Use small round cookie cutters to cut cookies, and transfer them to a parchment lined pan. Reroll and cut any extra dough.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
For the Pepita-Almond Butter:
2 c blanched sliced almonds (or whole blanched almonds)
1 1/2 c pepitas
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Toast the nuts and seeds in a 300 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted. The pepitas may begin to pop!
Allow to cool for 10 min.
Combine the nuts, seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a high-speed blender and blend on medium for 20-30 seconds, until a paste begins to form.
Turn the blender to high and continue to blend until a smooth creamy butter forms.
Transfer to a glass dish and leave at room temperature until cooled.
Store refrigerated for up to 3 months.
To make the caramel:
3/4 c pepita-almond butter
8-10 medjool dates (if they’re not gooey, soak in hot water and drain well before using)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until a “caramel” forms. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
For the Chocolate Drizzle:
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, room temperature
1/4 c sifted cacao powder
Pinch sea salt
Stir together the oil, maple syrup and salt.
Whisk in the cacao until a smooth chocolate sauce forms. It should be thick enough to cling to a spoon but thin enough to drizzle.
Add a dollop of caramel to each cookie.
Drizzle with chocolate.
Top with shredded coconut, pecans, flaky sea salt, or whatever you fancy!