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.

Balsamic Fudge Cookies | A Dash of Compassion

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.

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Balsamic fudge cookies

Yield: one dozen

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cocoa, sugar, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
  2. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, balsamic vinegar and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  5. 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.