This healthy chocolate cookie recipe makes thin, sugar-kissed cookies flavored with dried cranberries and hazelnuts. The cookies are drizzled with homemade natural red icing, but if you prefer white icing, omit the natural red dye.
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, American-style or Dutch-process
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil or corn oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour (see Tips)
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chopped toasted and skinned hazelnuts (see Tips) or chopped almond slivers
Natural Red Icing Drizzle
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon dried egg whites (see Tips)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
“Holiday” red natural liquid dye (see Tips)
To prepare cookies: Grind chocolate in a food processor using on/off pulses until coarsely ground. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add cocoa, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt; stir until blended. With an electric mixer on low, then medium speed, add eggs, then honey, oil and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, then cranberries and nuts until thoroughly incorporated. (The dough will be stiff.)
Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into a 9-inch-long "log." Divide the log into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place on a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour.
Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 °F. Line a large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar on a small plate. One at a time, dip the top of each ball of dough into the sugar; place, sugar-side up, about 2 1/2 inches apart on another prepared baking sheet. Coat the bottom of a wide glass with cooking spray, then dip it into the sugar. Flatten the balls with the glass to make cookies about 2 1/4 inches in diameter, dipping the glass into the sugar between cookies and spraying it as needed.
Bake the cookies on the center rack, one pan at a time, until just firm to the touch, 8 to 13 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
To prepare icing & decorate cookies: Stir together confectioners' sugar and dried egg whites in a small bowl. Stir in corn syrup, vanilla (or almond) extract and a few drops of red dye to create the desired color. Add a little more water if necessary to achieve a thin consistency for drizzling. Spoon the icing into a small plastic bag with a tiny tip of one corner snipped off. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. Or dip a fork into the icing and quickly wave it over the cookies. Let stand until the icing sets before storing the cookies.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 1 day. Store baked cookies airtight in a single layer for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
White whole-wheat flour is made from a special variety of white wheat that is lighter in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available at large supermarkets and natural-foods stores and online at bobsredmill.com or kingarthurflour.com. Store it in the freezer.
Pasteurized dried egg whites are a wise choice in recipes that call for uncooked egg whites, like icings or meringues. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets. Reconstitute according to package directions or use according to the recipe.
Find red and other natural liquid dyes plus a rainbow of already-dyed decorating sugars at chocolatecraftkits.com.
75 calories;3 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 11 mcg folate; 8 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 7 g added sugars; 12 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 18 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 36 mg sodium; 52 mg potassium