It is Chestnut season.
I never really ate chestnuts growing up. It’s just not something that was included in our holiday food rituals.
The first memory I have eating chestnuts is from when I lived in Japan. I have fond memories of chestnuts tucked in the middle cakes or mochi.
A few years later I explored using chestnuts in savory dishes. I’ll have to share my chestnut cream soup sometime soon.
I always try to make my recipes allow the bold slightly sweet, earthy chestnut flavor to be fully present. I think these cookies do just that.
This chestnut shortbread screams fall to me- something about the chestnut is intrinsically blended into memories of stoking the wood stove and bundling up as winter approaches in our tiny little cedar cabin on Hood Canal.
I love that these cookies are extremely simple to make. And if you don’t let yourself get distracted by using cookie cutters or rolling out the dough, which I sometimes do, these tasty cookies can be ready in a matter of 15 minutes.
Even better they are gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and STILL bursting with flavor. Not to mention the added bonus that these can be prepared in just one bowl. Taste AND time-efficient!
The naturally gluten-free nut is different from other nuts. Because they have a higher carbohydrate content, they bake differently from other nuts. This makes them perform a little bit more like a grain than a nut in the baking process, which translates to a lighter cookie, well slightly.
I also like chestnut because it is a local food for me. The chestnuts I use are from a small farm in Washington state, called Ladd Hill Chestnuts.
In my book, chestnuts have a whole bunch of positive attributes going on!
Nutritionally speaking chestnuts contain manganese, molybdenum, and copper and a good source of magnesium, vitamin C as well as vitamins B1, B2, and B6, and folic acid. Which translates to a fiber-rich, immune boosting, bone strengthening, blood pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, nervous system soothing, and memory boosting nut.
And now, here is how to make it into a nutrient-dense and delicious cookie!
CHESTNUT SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1 cup chestnut flour, sifted (I get mine from Ladd Hill Organic Chestnuts here)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted or butter
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch unrefined sea salt
Melt the coconut oil in a medium-size bowl in the oven while you preheat to 400°F. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
With oven-safe gloves, pull the bowl out of the oven as soon as the coconut oil is 75% melted. Add all the other ingredients. And mix with a terms bachelor until smooth. Knead the dough with your hands if necessary.
Roll the dough into small 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. Using back a measuring cup gently smash the dough balls until they are 1/4 inch thick or less.
Arrange on the cookie sheet so that the cookies are not touching. These cookies will not expand while cooking.
Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are slightly brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on racks.
Store in an airtight container
- Press chocolate chips, crushed nuts, dried fruit, candied citrus, or whatever else your heart desires into the cookies before baking.
- Substitute the coconut oil for butter.
- Use honey instead of maple syrup.
- Spice it up with ¼ tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves.