I’ve been absolutely surrounded by amazing Christmas cookies lately. Some I’ve made myself, some are from friends and neighbours, and some I’ve just ogled online. It’s been pretty hard to resist temptation and I have to confess, I’ve had a nibble here and there. Nothing too out of control, so I’ve managed to keep my blood sugars in check, but it is rather frustrating to be so surrounded and not to eat. Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. Yesterday, I decided to remedy the situation and make some cookies that I could indulge in without having to worry about how my pancreas might (or might not) respond.
The inspiration for these cookies came from my blogging friend, Lora, of Cake Duchess fame. She’d made some lovely Chocolate Mint Thumbprints a few weeks ago that instantly had me scheming to make a low carb version. Obviously, I couldn’t really use any of her recipe to formulate my own, as it was filled with flour, sugar and white chocolate. But I thought that the base of my Pecan Turtle Cookies would make a good thumbprint, and I figured I could invent a minty buttercream-type filling. This go round, I added a little instant coffee to the cookie batter, to intensify the chocolate flavour (but not so much that you can actually taste the coffee).
To make them look a little more festive, I wanted some sort of sprinkle on top. I probably could have sparingly used some regular sprinkles, so as not to up the carb count with the sugary decorations. But I had another idea in mind. This past weekend, while decorating gingerbread men with my kids, I’d made a little of my own red sanding sugar simply by adding a little red food colouring to coarse sugar. So I decided to attempt the same with granulated erythritol.
The Results: Well, I’d been wrong about the chocolate base making good thumbprints. The consistency just wasn’t right and the little holes I made filled in as they baked. So I had to spread the peppermint icing on top, rather than fill the cookies with it, but beyond that, they are wonderful. Santa would never know that you were trying to put him on a diet if you put these cookies out for him on Christmas Eve! And I am particularly proud of my red sanding erythritol. It worked perfectly and definitely jazzed up a rather plain-looking cookie.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – base cookie adapted from Tiana Coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
12 drops stevia extract
1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
1 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp coconut oil, softened but not melted (could use butter but icing won’t be bright white)
3 tbsp powdered erythritol
1 tbsp heavy cream
8 drops stevia extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp granulated erythritol
a scant drop red gel food paste
For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter or oil in a small saucepan over low heat and stir in cocoa powder and coffee granules until thoroughly combined and mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs, erythritol, salt, vanilla and stevia together. Beat in cocoa mixture until thoroughly combined. Whisk coconut flour in until there are no lumps. Let batter rest for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened.
Drop batter by spoonful onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until top is set. Remove from oven and let cool completely on baking sheet.
For the icing, beat cream cheese and coconut oil together until smooth. Beat in powdered erythritol, cream, stevia and peppermint until smooth.
For the sprinkles, mix granulated erythritol and food colouring together in a small bowl. Use the back of a fork to grind colour into crystals. Once it is coloured to your liking, let sit for an hour or so to dry out.
Spread each cooled cookie with some mint icing, and sprinkle with red erythritol crystals.
Makes 16 cookies. Each cookie has 8.5g total carbs, but only 3g if you subtract erythritol.