Spicy Chocolate Krampus Cookies

I was never really into cakes, or donuts, but I LOVE cookies. Those little chewy and crunchy bites you have with a good cup of coffee is what it's all about. I also love the holidays and baking, probably because of those memories I have of baking sugar cookies with my mom and aunt as a day-long activity over Christmas. Well, when December rolls around, I deem it Cookie Season and anything goes.

Since I eat a gluten free, grain free, and whole ingredient diet, I've gotten really used to using those ingredients, but I wanted to keep the seasonal flavors I grew up with. That meant a lot of trial and error, ingredient testing, and perfecting certain recipes. Today, I wanted to share the cookies I like to bake in order to kick-off Cookie Season, which are perfectly themed for Krampus Night, or Krampusnacht.

Introducing, Krampus Cookies. These chocolatey treats look unassuming, but they certainly bite back. They're made with dark dutch cocoa, coffee powder, spices, and topped with flaked sea salt. Depending on your personal tastes, you can scale the spices up, or down, but I love the heated kick that these have the more you eat them. They're close to Mexican chocolate if you're a fan of that flavor profile.

A few notes before you dive in to baking: I highly recommend using a dutch cocoa powder like Droste since the flavor is nice and rich, but feel free to use any you prefer. The type of instant coffee you use is also important. Coffee helps bring out the rich chocolate flavors, so you want to use a good Italian instant espresso powder. I've included specific recommendations on the ingredient list as links. Finally, the spices. If you have a bottle of ground ginger or cayenne pepper that's just been sitting in the back of your cabinet for two years because you just don't use it enough... you're probably going to find that they're not that potent. Try using fresh spices to get the real heat and kick we're looking for from these cookies.

This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

Spicy Chocolate Krampus Cookie Recipe

Spicy Chocolate Krampus Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin*
1 3/4 cup (200g) Otto's Cassava Flour
1 cup (100g) dutch cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper**
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon**
1 tsp ground ginger**
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Flaked sea salt (optional)

NOTES:
I use Vital Proteins Gelatin as my binder for cookies instead of eggs because I prefer the texture that's in the end result. If you want to substitute this ingredient, just use 2 eggs instead.

** This spice mixture is for those who are a little Naughty and want some kick. If you're on the Nice list and want a little less heat, reduce the amount of spices by 1/4 tsp.

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375° F.

In a separate bowl, whisk together gelatin, flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla for at least 5 minutes. You want the mixture to be extra creamy. Slowly add in the mixture of dry ingredients until combined into a dough. Use a spoon or spatula to mix in the chocolate chips.

Prepare a cookie with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop, or spoon hefty 1-inch mounds of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten the mounds of cookies into a 1/2 inch thick disc, don't worry, these cookies will not spread or rise too much beyond where you see them now. Top with flaked sea salt (optional).

Bake on the center rack for 15-17 minutes, until the tops start to split and crack. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet, or immediately slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. These cookies need to cool and set before you can handle them, so don't try to pick them up just yet. Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.

Pro tip: Once the cookies have cooled enough to handle, move them into the freezer, and serve and eat them while frozen. This is my favorite way to eat them!

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

– Epictetus