A cookbook author’s test kitchen is a constant struggle with an overflow of new creations—sometimes good stuff, sometimes amazing stuff but equally often we end up with, shall I say, creations. These are things for which good ingredients were used but the outcome was less than enticing: no butter was added, not enough sugar, over- or under-baked, and so it goes.
In my case, I always have too many cookies on hand because I love a small treat with my morning or afternoon coffee, and I constantly create new recipes. If my cookies are just a little flawed we eat them anyways. But sometimes, when I can’t take it anymore, I freeze my botched creations and make these boozy nut and cookie truffles. Frugal homemakers have done similar things, of course, for centuries so as to avoid wasting good ingredients.
So here’s your backup plan for cookies failures—in case a sheet of your holiday cut-outs turns out less than stellar. Serve them on a silver platter. Don’t say anything just watch your friends ooh and ahh.
And, super-great desk-dance-worthy news: Simply Ancient Grains was selected as a best cookbook of 2015 on a number of great lists this holiday season. Seeing it right next to food heroes such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Ruth Reichl, Heidi Swanson, and Claire Ptak from trendy Violet bakery in London, is overwhelming. I could not have done all of this without you, readers, who support and share my book—and who cook from it. To this, Happy Holidays to everyone with loads of good food!
—Washington Post, a highly recommended cookbook of 2015
—Huffington Post, holiday gift guide for the food lover
—Sweet Paul, 24 favorite cookbooks
—WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, Here & Now, favorite cookbook of 2015
—Take Part, sustainable food gifts you want to buy
—Award-winning Canadian blogger Aimée Bourque, favorite international cookbooks
—Fresh New England, top New England cookbooks
—Bundt Lust, top cookbook 2015
Makes about 30 (1-inch) treats
110 g (*) botched biscotti or cookies, broken into chunks (thawed if previously frozen) — I used botched chocolate fig biscotti from testing this recipe
110 g (about 1 cup) toasted hazelnuts
20 g (about 4 1/2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
30 g (2 tablespoons) Limoncello or Grand Marnier or other good-quality citrus liqueur
80 g (1/3 cup) honey
Cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar (optional)
1 Add the cookies and the hazelnuts to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until most of the mixture resembles coarse sand with a few 1/4-inch pieces of nuts remaining, about 25 (1-second) pulses.
2 Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and, using a fork or a wooden spoon, stir in the cocoa powder. Drizzle on the liqueur and the honey, and stir until the mixture comes together into a ball. If it doesn’t, add honey by the teaspoon until it does.
3 Pinch off 15 g-pieces and roll into walnut-sized balls, moistening your hands if needed with water. Store the treates in the fridge, layered between parchment paper, in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Enjoy them plain, or—if you want to be a bit fancy—roll in ample cocoa powder just before serving. Or just dust them with confectioners’ sugar.
—Use orange juice instead of liqueur when making these for children and add 1 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest
—Vary the mixture by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs or 3 tablespoons golden raisins.
—(*)For best outcome, weigh your ingredients. It is very hard to estimate chunks of cookies or biscotti. Perhaps about 1 cup? Thanks for letting me know.