Hazelnut and Choc-Hazelnut Macaroons (sugar-free/gluten-free/dairy-free)

By making these biscuits I could bring the downfall of Christmas in my family. Chocolate, the downfall of Christmas? I know…. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Introducing anything new to our family’s Christmas is risky. I got weird looks with these stuffed eggs last year; but everyone loved them. This year, I mentioned to my mum I’d seen Viv’s Gianduiotti, and that I wanted to try a making chocolate Haselnussmakronen. There were serious murmurs about ruining Christmas! Chocolate, ruin christmas? Bah!

Plain hazelnut macaroons are steeped in family history. Originally Haselnussmakronen, traditional German macaroons from my grandmother’s recipe. These have always been my favourite Christmas biscuit ever since I was young. When the Christmas baking was handed down to me, I saw how easy it would be to lower the carbohydrates in these. No one even noticed.  We now have several diabetics in our Christmas party and the low-carb approach is really appreciated.

To placate everyone, and satisfy my curiosity, I prepared both. If the family don’t get into them, the woman I bought the hazelnuts from will happily take them off my hands. I hope that these make your Christmas extra special.

xo

Gianduja and Haselnuss Macaroons for Christmas

To make 15 of each

  • 300g (18oz) hazelnuts, plus 30 extra
  • 150g 85% dark chocolate or cocoa farm sugar free chocolate
  • ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch
  •  salt
  • a pinches cinnamon
  • 1 cup granular sweetener, or 200g castor sugar
  • 4 fresh egg whites, at room temperature
  1. Place your oven racks near the centre of the oven, allowing for a little room for the air to flow. Preheat an oven to 120ºC/250ºF. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the hazelnuts, reserving the 30 extra, in a food processor and grind until they are a fine powder. Set aside in a large mixing bowl. Break the chocolate into squares and place in the food processor,  process until fine crumbs are formed.  Place in a second mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt and cinnamon to the ground nuts, and mix until combined. Place a third of the nut mixture (about 100g) in the chocolate bowl. Divide the sweetener equally amongst each bowl, half a cup in each. Stir both bowls to combine the mixtures.
  4. In a large clean, dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold half the egg whites through the non-chocolate mixture until evenly blended through to form a sticky, slightly crumbly dough. Repeat with the chocolate hazelnut mixture.
  5. Using your clean hands (for extra hygiene wear gloves), form each mixture into balls the size of walnuts and place on the prepared trays. Gently press a hazelnut into the top of each one.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the door ajar for a further 20 minutes before cooling on a wire rack or elevating the trays on bowls to allow air to flow under them.

Substitutes and Alterations:

  • If you don’t have a food processor, purchase ready ground hazelnut meal from the supermarket and grate the chocolate with a cheese grater.
  • Raw castor sugar, natvia or spenda would all make suitable sweeteners in this recipe

This time last year I shared with your my family’s Christmas Cinnamon Stars