Balsamic fudge cookies
I have been using balsamic vinegar on my salads forever. There’s something about that rich, tangy flavour that I love.
Yet I had never used it in baking until a few years ago, when I came across a balsamic fudge cookie recipe on SusanV’s Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The chocolate and balsamic seemed like a very interesting flavour combination. And wow, is it ever! The vinegar acts as an enhancer of the chocolate rather than a discreet flavour, and I now make these cookies regularly to feed my husband’s cookies-and-tea addiction.
But there’s a problem. Over the course of the last year I have been making the transition to more organic and fair trade whole foods ingredients in my baking. As much as I love how vegan Earth Balance margarine makes for perfectly textured, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, I can no longer bring myself to use it as much as I used to (SusanV also makes a fat-free version with prunes, but that just doesn’t work for me). The white flour and the high sugar content in the recipe also turn me off.
So, I began working on recreating the recipe to include spelt flour, less sugar and no margarine. What came out of this experiment was a wonderful surprise–it turns out you can replicate that fudgy flavour in a more healthful way! I am so happy with this recipe that I have to share it with you all.
I should note, however, that the type of balsamic vinegar does make a difference in the outcome of these cookies. When I first started making SusanV’s version, I used inexpensive, no-name balsamic vinegar, and it did make a great cookie. But I was fortunate to receive a pricey bottle of aged Belazu balsamic vinegar as a gift earlier this year, and the whole bottle has since been used to make these cookies. Yes, it’s that good. If you aren’t able to get the good stuff, I recommend reducing an inexpensive brand so that it becomes thick and syrupy. Please see my note at the bottom of the recipe for instructions.
Balsamic fudge cookies
Yield: one dozen
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 cup muscovado sugar
- 2 tbsp arrowroot
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cocoa, sugar, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
- In a seperate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, balsamic vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Line a cookie pan with parchment paper and drop the dough by tablespoons onto the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are cracked. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in a tightly covered tin container at room temperature.
To reduce inexpensive balsamic vinegar, pour a bottle or two into a large pot, and simmer it all down until it is reduced by about 1/4-1/6 and is thick, syrupy, and coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not too let it simmer too long or it will burn your pot! Once thickened, pour it back into one of the bottles and keep it in your pantry.