Wednesday 21 February 2018

Got a sweet tooth? Then try a bite on the dark side

Aoife Barry

I admit it: I'm a chocolate addict. Barely a day goes by without me nibbling on a few squares of dark chocolate, or savouring a bar of raw chocolate that I've found in my handbag.

I have a terrible habit of stashing it in my bags and coat pockets, and have even brought some with me on a night out in case I got peckish!

When I gave up dairy completely at the start of this year, I found the transition to dark chocolate a tough one at first. I yearned for the milky taste of the bars I used to eat, and on more than a few occasions caved in to my cravings.

But then, before I knew it, dairy-filled chocolate was no longer something I wanted to eat. I'd fallen in love with the many notes and textures of the dark flavours, marvelling in the fact that, depending on the percentage of cocoa and the other ingredients added, bars could take on a unique taste of their own.

For today's recipe, I've combined the lusciousness of dark chocolate with the deep, salty taste of almond butter.

These cookies are very simple to make, are vegan, gluten free, refined-sugar free and take just over 10 minutes to bake. Instead of flour I used almond meal, or finely ground almonds -- an ingredient that can be easily found in any supermarket. The agave syrup can be exchanged for honey if you prefer, but you may need to add more lemon juice.

So on to the lemons -- originally I made these cookies with orange zest and juice, but I wanted a lighter touch, so I tried lemon. The zest gives a zingy edge to the cookies and cuts through the intense taste of the almond butter.

If you're not a chocolate fan -- are there any of you out there? -- you can certainly leave these cookies as they are. But dipping them in chocolate makes them a rich, moreish treat. The saltiness of the almond butter complements the dark chocolate perfectly.

You may even find yourself stashing them in your coat pocket for a post-lunchtime treat!

Irish Independent

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