Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits (Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Option)

I came up with these biscuits when I needed to do some vegan baking for an event. My initial thought when asked was to feel overwhelmed and concerned that it would be impossible to produce food that is gluten free (so that I didn’t risk any cross contamination that may make me sick because of my coeliac disease) and vegan AND tasted good. My early trials received positive feedback from my family and the people for whom I had baked seemed to enjoy the biscuits, with one even asking for the recipe. So I’ll count that a success!

This recipe makes 12 biscuits, which keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a few days. If you’d prefer more, smaller biscuits, divide the mixture accordingly and reduce the baking time. As usual, the cup measurements are based on a 250 ml cup as equal to 1 cup.

What you need:

1 ½ cups of almond meal

½ cup of cornflour (also called corn starch in some countries)

½ cup of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of psyllium husk

1 tablespoon of baking powder (gluten free if needed)

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of salted butter (for dairy free, use soft dairy free margarine)

¾ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of cold water

100 grams of chocolate, roughly chopped (use dairy free chocolate if needed)

1 tablespoon of icing sugar (for decoration, optional)

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray (or 2 if you only have small to medium baking trays) with baking paper.

2. Place the almond meal, cornflour, cocoa powder, psyllium husk, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and mix together well.

3. Place the butter (or margarine), sugar and water together in a small to medium saucepan with the lid on over a medium heat. Heat for at least 5 minutes with the lid on, or until the butter and sugar have melted together and the mixture is bubbling.

4. Remove the butter/sugar/water mixture from the heat and pour into the bowl with the mixed almond meal, cornflour, cocoa powder etc. Mix everything together thoroughly and then set the bowl to one side to allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.

5. Once the mixture has cooled a little, add the chopped chocolate to the mixture and mix together. As the mixture will still be warm, it is likely that some or most of the chocolate will melt into the mixture – this isn’t a problem and, as long as the melted chocolate is reasonably evenly distributed across the biscuit mixture, it does not need to be mixed in fully.

6. Divide the mixture into 12 roughly equal-sized balls (they don’t have to be perfectly round!) and place each onto the lined baking tray (or trays), leaving about 4 cm between each ball. Flatten each ball with a fork and then use your fingers to shape each biscuit into a rough circle.

7. Place the baking tray (or trays) in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the biscuits are baked.

8. Remove the baking trays from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for 5 to 10 minutes. After this time, if you would like to, sieve a sprinkling of icing sugar over each biscuit and then carefully remove them from the baking tray (or trays) and leave them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

9. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

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