Karen’s easy Linzer Cookies are the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day hearts seem to go hand in hand along with flowers, perfume, jewelry, candle lit dinners, romantic weekend get-aways, star studded skies and walks on the beach. No matter what else you receive from your cupid, some sort of chocolate almost always accompanies it.

As for my husband and myself, we celebrate a double event - our anniversary and Valentine’s Day.

He gets a pass on one of these since our anniversary is just a few days before Valentine’s Day and we usually celebrate the Saturday in between. Lucky guy, huh? One gift, one dinner and one box of chocolate and he knows what I love - truffles. Not the mushroom truffle, but the chocolate truffle, is my favorite way to enjoy chocolate. I especially love the ones with hazelnuts in or on them. I just love the way they slowly melt in my mouth like a soft chocolate lava stream, covering every taste bud. I can’t wait for the eruption! This year will be no different except for the fact that we will celebrate at home with wine and Champagne. I can’t wait; just dip me in chocolate and call me a truffle and “please join our table” as we celebrate times two!

Almost A Truffle No Bake Low-Glycemic Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of our loyal readers asked me if I had a great recipe for a low-glycemic cookie. This is a recipe I created that I think is pretty tasty - almost a truffle. These decadently rich cookies are low-glycemic and sugarless because they are made with coconut or palm sugar that is made from the nectar of coconut palm blossoms. Most chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipes will raise your blood sugar and have a lot of hidden calories because of the flour and sugars in them. These cookies are gluten-free and, if you use non-dairy chocolate chips, they will also be dairy free. Makes 2-dozen no-bake cookies.

This recipe was created as a special request from Chuck Rollo of Kingwood.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa/cacao (65% cacao or higher)

1/2-cup coconut or palm sugar (available at H-E-B and I also found it at Trader Joe’s and Amazon)

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I use Starbucks Via Instant)

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla)

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

3 tablespoons grapeseed, sesame almond or coconut oil

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries (raisins or cranberries) chopped

1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted (7 minutes in 350-degree oven) and chopped fine or use raw walnuts toasted and chopped fine

½ cup mini dark chocolate chips (65% cacao or higher) or buy a bar and crush to mini chocolate chip size

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa/cacao (65% cacao or higher)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

**Tip: I like to use the oil from the top of a jar of tahini, butter that is sesame seed oil.

DIRECTIONS: In a shallow plate, combine 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa with cinnamon, mix well and set aside. In a small cup, mix the water with the instant espresso powder, set aside. In a large bowl, combine almond butter, cocoa, coconut sugar, coffee water, nut/seed oil, cardamom and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in oatmeal, cranberries, toasted almonds and chocolate chips. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll cookie dough into walnut size balls and gently roll them into the unsweetened cocoa/cinnamon mixture. Place them on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cookies will be chewy but will stay together. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Note: cookies are gluten-free and if you use chocolate chips that have no dairy, they can also be dairy-free. It has an approximate GI index of 35-40. It is approximate because of the variables of a palm blossoms’ nutrients and growth cycle. Calories 30, GI Index 35-40. Please note both are approximate.

My Heart is Yours…Easy Linzer Cookies

I really love Linzer cookies and around Valentine’s Day, I see them everywhere. I thought to myself, how hard can it be to make them?

Let me tell you, if you don’t have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, it is pretty challenging. I bought my ingredients and knew I already had a few heart cookie cutters at home but when I got there and opened the drawer, all I had were Christmas cookie-cutters. I freehanded the smaller cookies I cutout but I used a baked cookie I bought as a stencil for the large heart cookie. Makes approximately 6-8 large Linzer style cookies

INGREDIENTS

2 packages refrigerated Pillsbury sugar cookie dough or my “Best Darn Sugar Cookies in Texas” recipe

½ cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves (not jelly)

1 ounce white chocolate, melted (optional)

Red or white granulated sugar crystals

APF flour as needed when rolling out the dough.

DIRECTIONS: Remove cookie dough from the fridge. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place dough on a lightly-floured working space about 1/4 of dough at a time and roll 1/4-inch thick between sheets of parchment paper. (Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll.) Cut with a large heart or round shaped cookie (dip cutter into flour if needed to keep cutter from sticking). Cut small heart circle from center of half of the cookies. Place cookies on parchment-lined, ungreased cookie sheet.

Spread a thin layer of jam onto the cookies with no center cutout. Spritz a fine mist of water over the cookie with the cutout and sprinkle with the granulated sugar crystals. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Spread about 1/4 teaspoon more jam on the bottom cookie; top with cutout cookie or another whole cookie. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (optional) and more sugar sprinkles. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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