Spelt and Honey Crisps Recipe

Biscuits Epeautre et Miel

There is nothing like a good cookie to celebrate the completion of a big project, and even though this project of mine* is not 100% completed — I’ve written the bulk of the manuscript, but I have a few remaining elements to deliver –, cookies were 100% in order.

If you are a long standing reader of this blog, and I do mean a loooooong standing reader, the kind that deserves a medal, you may recall my quest for the elusive double chocolate crisps (pardon the horrendous picture), Swedish oatmeal cookies that come in pairs, sandwiched together by a layer of dark chocolate.

A handful of recipes were kindly proffered, a few were tested, and although they produced good cookies, none of them quite replicated the original. Others would have known no peace and spent sleepless night after sleepless night tweaking and testing and tasting until they got it right; I shrugged and moved on.

But good things come to those who wait, and to those who have short attention spans, too. It seems I wasn’t the only one smitten with these cookies, but while I was merely daydreaming about them, Belgian food blogger Sophie did the legwork and developed a copycat recipe — and a vegan one at that.

Hers is the recipe I semi-followed, making a few modifications to lighten it up and use the ingredients I had on hand: I lowered the amount of sweeteners and fat, added a bit of salt to bolster the flavors, used spelt flakes instead of rolled oats, sliced almonds instead of almond extract, and regular milk and butter instead of almond milk and margarine, thereby annihilating the intrinsic vegan-ness of the recipe (oops).

I also used honey (another vegan no-no) to sweeten and flavor the cookies in one fell swoop, but I should note that Sophie uses agave syrup instead, a Mexican cactus-derived sweetener I read about everywhere these days and feel increasingly compelled to experiment with**.

Rarely has a cookie been easier to make: it is a one-bowl recipe for which you simply measure, dump, and stir the ingredients before plopping balls of dough on a baking sheet. Do you think you can do that? I think so, too.

The plan was to melt some chocolate and assemble the cookies two by two so they could live happily ever after, but when they had come out of the oven and cooled to a crisp-edged, chewy-hearted perfection, when I took a bite and noticed how the rich chorus of their flavors ended into a single chord of honey, I confess I threw in the towel and decided that they didn’t really need chocolate. I sat by Maxence on the couch and we ate cookies.

The one caveat about this recipe is that the cookies tend to soften after a few hours***. They are just as good then, just different, but if you want to revive their initial texture, you can place them back on the baking sheet (save the parchment paper) and pop them in the oven for a brief encore the next day.

Do not, however, attempt to reheat one in the toaster like a pop-tart. Take it from me, that is just stupid, for you will end up with a soft and half-charred mound of cookie dough clinging for dear life to the metal insides of your toaster. Stupid, I tell you.

* Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris! A book on Paris restaurants and food shops! With recipes! Scheduled for US publication in May 2008! Have you not been paying attention?

** I hear agave syrup can be found at organic and natural food stores, also marketed as agave nectar, or sirop d’agave in French.

*** I suspect this doesn’t occur if one uses margarine, for hydrogenated fat holds baked goods in its crisping clutch, but I don’t do margarine.

Biscuits Epeautre et Miel

- 50g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 45g (1/2 cup) spelt flakes (substitute another type of rolled grain)
- 50g (1/4 cup) unrefined brown sugar (I used Rapadura)
- 2 rounded teaspoons quality honey (I used miel du gâtinais; substitute 2 level teaspoons agave syrup)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 60g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- A good pinch fleur de sel or kosher salt
- 20g (1/4 cup) sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons milk

Makes about 18 cookies.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the melted butter, spelt, sugar, honey, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl, and mix well with a fork to combine.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and almonds. Add these to the previous mixture, and stir again until it gathers in lumps.

Add the milk and stir again to incorporate. The dough will be sticky. (You can prepare it a day or two in advance and keep it covered in the fridge.)

Use two teaspoons to form walnut-sized balls of dough that you will drop on the prepared baking sheet, leaving each of them a little room to stretch their wings as they bake.

Slip in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffy and just starting to brown at the edges. Let the cookies settle on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

  • http://www.eatdrinklive.typepad.com Laura

    I found a beautiful jar of acacia honey that needs a good home I think it might be happy here. Already looking forward to the new book, I suspect those of us in Europe might be able to snaffle a copy from the US online.

  • http://cuisinezenwg.canalblog.com/ Lisanka

    Rhhho qu’ils sont chouettes!

  • Kova

    I love agave with quinoa and fresh fruit for breakfast on cold New England mornings! Congrats on finishing your manuscript! Will you come back to Boston for another book tour? Too bad the book won’t be out before my Paris trip in August… but I am sure I will be returning to Paris after May 2008!

  • Becks

    sounds yummy. what is the benefit of using spelt in place of oatmeal?

  • http://www.nookandpantry.blogspot.com Amy

    This recipe looks fantastic! I think I will make these very soon. I’m always a big fan of chewy and crispy cookies.

  • http://www.fwfoodie.com andrea

    I just made these cookies and they are in the oven as I type! The dough tastes amazing…can’t wait to try the final product.

  • Jenn

    they look wonderful, I will have to try these once the heat of the summer cools down a bit here in the South Bay :)

  • http://saffronandblueberry.blogspot.com Hilda

    C’est sympa des petits biscuits comme ça, surtout par le temps qu’il fait…

  • http://ccrijvia.canalblog.com $ha

    They look so perfect!

  • http://kellytheculinarian.blogspot.com Kelly Mahoney

    These look so delicate and tasty — perfect for an afternoon tea or snack.

  • http://meditationsonmyrtle.blogspot.com Ashley

    I was rather thinking that I would turn in at the ungodly hour of 9pm but after reading this entry, now want to make cookies…is 9pm too late to make cookies? I think not when the recipie sounds a delicious and easy as this one! Kitchen, here I come!

  • http://www.myspace.com/iwillbehere Miranda

    Clotilde,
    I checked Sophie’s website but am not really able to translate her vegan recipe. I would really like to try it out, as I am unable to consume dairy products. Is there any way you could email it to me privately or translate it on your website? Preey please?

  • http://blog.todayshomemaker.com Sarah

    I suspect that my husband will not eat anything with “spelt” or “whole wheat flour” in it. Perhaps we will just not tell him? Bwahahaha…

  • Moody Foodie

    I have just been given a pot of Greek honey from Rhodes where apparently the bees collect pollen from thyme and other herbs. The result is such a fragrant beautiful honey. I can’t wait to try it in this recipe….

  • Celine75

    J’ai déjà fait à plusieurs reprises la recette des bonheurs de Sophie, avec toujours autant de succès. C’est vrai par contre qu’ils sont tout mous le lendemain (j’utilise du beurre également)…
    La prochaine fois j’essaierai ta version modifiée, un peu moins de sucre et de graisse ne devrait pas faire de mal…

  • http://figsoliveswine.blogspot.com/ Figs Olives Wine

    I have a glistening jar of chestnut honey that I brought back from Italy, and I’ve been casting about for something special enough to use it for. Now I know just what to do with it! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Danielle

    For Miranda:
    Sophie’s Vegan “Ikea” Cookies
    (makes approx 15)

    75 g of melted margarine (one stick of butter is 113g, so I’ll let you convert – a bit less than ½ stick?)
    80 g of brown sugar (sorry not going to do the conversions, but you can probably compare amounts to Clothilde’s recipe- here they weigh ingredients instead of measuring volume)
    2 tbs agave syrup or 3 tbs honey
    45 g oatmeal
    60 g whole wheat flour
    2.5 cl almond milk
    ½ tsp of yeast (baking soda)
    1 tsp vanilla
    ½ tsp almond extract
    50 g chocolate for “icing” + 1 small spoon of margarine

    Follow Clothildes’ directions.

  • Misha

    I’m going to try the recipe this evening when i get back from work.
    Anyway, wanted to say that i have recently been hooked on authors@google and happened to come upon your talk!
    Its nice to see someone young from the techy world follow a different path… her passion! Wish I was brave and talented enough to follow in your steps.

  • Will

    Re: blue agave nectar–It’s worth trying. I picked some up the other day, and it’s been fun to experiment with. It’s got more of a floral edge than raw cane sugar, but some of the same wonderful rough edges. It’s also the best margarita ingredient you can possibly imagine–balances the bitterness of the lime without overcomplicating or making things too sugary.

  • RGM

    Salut Clothilde,

    I don’t have anything in particular to say about Biscuits Epeautre et Miel, except that they look delicious and will make them in the future, but I just want to drop a comment to say that I LOVE YOUR SITE!

    I often find myself sleeping late because I read your past articles. How could I have not known about this site before? This has certainly become one of my favorite online haunts. Here’s to a delicious year!

  • http://alteredplates.blogspot.com Deb

    Wonderful cookies! Agave’s great stuff. I’ve been experimenting with baking with it instead of sugar. It’s a bit of a challenge, but you can get some great results, and your diabetic friends will thank you. :D

    Thanks for keeping up with your posting. You do a really nice job.

  • Beth

    Congratulations on being (almost) done with Book #2! It will surely be my primary food resource for my next trip to Paris (unless I’m lucky enough to get back there before next May).

    And these cookies look delicious. However, I just wanted to add, in reference to margarine: I, too, strictly avoid trans fats, and would certainly always choose high-quality real butter over any kind of vegetable-oil product for baking were it not for my toddler son’s dairy allergy. Thankfully, though, several natural-foods brands widely available in the U.S. (like Earth Balance) now make non-hydrogenated margarines. So, for those who choose veganism–or who, like me, have veganism thrust upon them–there are now better options.

  • Stacey

    Hi all! These look yummy and I hope to make them this evening…two questions,

    1) I have Demerera sugar, regular brown sugar and white sugar, can I sub any of these for the “unrefined brown sugar”?

    2) No almonds, but I have almond extract, do I need to change anything else in the recipe if I make the change to extract?

    Any suggestions from anyone would be appreciated, of course, I am just trying to be lazy and avoid stopping at the store :)

    Thanks!

  • http://daddywhatareyoudoing.wordpress.com/ scottb

    Being part Swedish (and knowing so little about their cuisine because mom chose not to force it on us like when she was little – lutefisk anyone?) these cookies really appeal to me – and for their added wholesomeness (as cookies go) too.

    I just noticed Agave syrup at the supermarket last week, and now I know what I can do with it!

    Congrats on wrapping up the next book – now you can relax a bit and celebrate the publication of the first one, right?

  • http://5percentcelery.blogspot.com Rachy Rach

    I’m certainly no vegan, but I always choose agave sweetener for my patented granola recipe (developed carefully with my professional chef co-blogger, when I complained that all store-bought granolas were too sticky and sweet). Agave is perfect for sweetness without gooeyness, and a fresh flavor without the fakey chemicals of other sugar alternatives. I first bought agave at a little convenience store near Venice Beach…so it must not be too hard to come by!
    >rr<
    5%Celery

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Becks – There is no specific benefit to using spelt instead of oats; it’s just what I had on hand.

    Miranda – To make the recipe vegan, just use agave syrup instead of honey (following the quantities given in the recipe), margarine instead of butter (same amount), and almond milk instead of milk (same amount).

    Danielle – Thanks for translating this!

    Beth – Good to know about the non-transfat margarine. Does it behave in the same way as regular margarine in baked goods?

    Will – Thanks for the margarita tip!

    Stacey – Demerera sugar is an unrefined cane sugar, so you can definitely use that. And Sophie’s recipe uses 1/2 teaspoon almond extract instead of the sliced almonds, so you can use that, too.

    Rachy Rach – Any chance you might share your granola recipe?

  • http://www.errantdreams.com/ Heather

    This sounds so scrumptious! I have some spelt and some delicious mesquite honey lying around, so I think I’ll have to try it. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve added your blog to my directory of cooking links.

  • http://balancefood.blogspot.com Christy

    The reason the cookies soften up so much after a few hours actually has more to do with the honey than anything else. Honey is highly hygroscopic (translation: water loving) so it just sucks moisture out of the air. High fructose corn syrup and molasses act in a similar fashion.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Christy – That’s so interesting, thanks for the diagnosis and the new word! Is maple syrup as hygroscopic? I will try to make the cookies again with agave syrup and see how it fares.

  • http://www.skinnychef.com Jennifer Iserloh

    This is so great- I wish more people would bake with spelt and other whole grain flours. Have you heard of Lorna Sass the Grain Goddess? She does amazing things with spelt too…

  • Beth

    I really can’t comment on how the non-trans fat margarine compares with regular margarine, because I’ve never used regular margarine (always used butter before my son’s allergies were diagnosed, and the non-hydrogenated stuff was, thankfully, available when I needed it). But I can say that I’ve used Earth Balance “Soy Garden” margarine in cookies, muffins, and pie crusts now, always with satisfactory results. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it over butter (to those who eat butter), but I’ve been very grateful for it, especially now that fruit-pie season is upon us. Occasionally, I’ve found that the “buttery” flavor of the “Soy Garden” margarine (how DO they achieve that?), “natural” though it purports to be, leaves me with a ever-so-slightly toxic aftertaste (not good). But I also bought some Spectrum brand non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (like Crisco without the trans fats), and I think I’ll give that a try for my next crust.

    Please keep your fingers crossed for me that my son, like 85% of allergic kids, outgrows his milk and egg allergies by the time he goes to school!

  • http://www.ruralmama.wordpress.com Dawn

    Thank you for this recipe… I’ve been wanting to introduce spelt to my family and this cookie fits the bill!

  • http://analisfirstamendment.blogspot.com/ Anali

    These look really good and quite simple. I’m going to try them with oats and maybe some nice flavored honey from the Farmers Market.

  • http://blissinthekitchen.typepad.com/blissinthekitchen flo

    hello clotilde,
    I have played around with this recipe. No honey at all, I used palm sugar, and today, my cookies are as crunchy as yesterday, of course stored in an airtight container. I hope I will remember Christie’s tip!! Anyway the biscuits are really delicious!!

  • Katie

    I am not sure whether people that live outside Australia have ever heard of ANZAC biscuits, but they are wonderfully simple and delicious. And they have a history. Their existence stemmed from diggers’ wives, mothers and girlfriends were concerned about malnutrition so came up with the ANZAC biscuit – with as much nutritional value as possible, and they travel and keep well.

    Combine:
    1 cup rolled oats
    1 cup dessicated coconut
    1 cup plain flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 (very large!) tablespoon golden syrup
    1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
    100g melted better

    Put teaspoonfuls onto a greased oven tray leaving plenty of space to spread out. Cook at 150-160 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until beautiful golden brown.

    Like Clotilde’s, these will go soft if left out. The soldier’s wives used to store them in a tin to keep moisture out. Enjoy the biscuits!

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Chew on That

    Delicious! I love the picture and how the cookies are stacked so perfectly on a heart-decorated plate. Would agave syrup just be a variation on tequila? :) Just kidding, thanks for this recipe!

  • http://lazymamasdining.blog113.fc2.com/ Lazy-mama

    Hello! I found your blog when I was serching for Swedish food’s recipe. I loved oatmeal cookies when I lived in Sweden. Oatmeal food is not populer in Japan where I live now. I miss the cookies…maybe I should try to make it.

    I like your blog!

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi’s Vienna

    What is it with this year’s month of July? Everybody’s into cookies, great recipes everywhere. I collect and collect and yet, I have to resist baking, having just schlemmed my way through Italy. :-(
    I can’t wait, though, to taste your spelt crisps. I substitute spelt flour in a lot of recipes, because I like the slightly nutty taste of it, and it’s supposedly very healthy, but this will be the first time I will use spelt flakes.
    Thank you for another great recipe! :-)

  • http://epices-moi.over-blog.fr/ lory

    Elles doit être super cette recette,…il faudrait la traduire…!

  • Gail

    Thank you for this recipe.

    I just made these cookies and they are very tasty. To avoid a trip to the store, I used Canadian maple syrup in place of the honey or agave nectar.

    For reasons unknown (to me), the cookies didn’t “spread their wings”. They kept the same form they had as when I dropped them on the parchment paper. This is the first time I have ever baked with margarine – perhaps that’s the culprit?

    Regardless, they taste great!

  • http://www.beansandcaviar.blogspot.com BC

    Maple sugar is hydroscopic but the syrup? I don’t know, it may depend on the grade. The syrup adds a fantastic flavour but the sugar is hideously expensive and is best sprinkled on oatmeal and chocolate maple truffles … yum.

  • GG

    Hi Clotilde,

    I just tried out the recipe today, unfortunately, the dough did not spread during baking and I ended up with a thick cookie rather than a crisp. Other than using oats instead of spelt, I followed the recipe completely. Do you know what could have gone wrong? Should I have flattened out the balls of dough with a fork before baking? Thanks.

    GG

  • Whitney

    The same thing happened to me as GG…any advice??

    (They’re still yummy, but more chewy and granola-y even when flattened out on the second try)

    Thanks!!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Gail, GG and Whitney — I’m not sure why your cookies didn’t spread. In Sophie’s recipe, she instructs that you flatten out the batter, but I didn’t and my cookies spread of their own accord. Did you chill the batter before baking, or did you bake the cookies straight after making it?

  • Sarah

    I’m making my second batch of these right now, and they’re so good! Best cookie recipe I’ve found in AGES, and if you melt some dark chocolate on top, they taste just like Hobnobs, which I remember very fondly from my days of living in Scotland. Also, I’ve been adding a splash of hazelnut oil to my dough, and that is working out really really well. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  • http://www.sweetnicks.com Cate O’Malley

    The recipe sounds fab, but I think I love those heart-decorated plates even more. Any chance they were purchased/from in the US?

  • GG

    Hi again, Clotilde,

    I baked the cookies straight– no chilling. The texture was like a super thick oatmeal cookie, tasty, but not crispy thin like the picture you posted. Should I have chilled the dough? I wonder what the issue is, since a couple other folks mentioned the same??

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi’s Vienna for Beginners

    I couldn’t resist and baked the cookies yesterday. I used olive oil instead of butter and ground almonds because I hadn’t any other around, orange zest instead of vanilla (here in Austria, real vanilla comes in powdered form only) and used three tablespoons of soymilk (the extra spoonful to compensate for the liquid of the vanilla extract). I had formed 16 little balls and pressed them down with the bottom of a glass. While baking, they spread only a little bit, no way as waferthin as yours. Maybe next time I try to use less oil (butter not having such a high fat content), instead two or three tablespoonfuls more soymilk.
    The cookies still came out delicious tasting, and I thank you for giving me the incentive to try to bake a good cookie on a hot summer’s day. I had half of them for dinner, with a glass of soymilk. Thank you. :-)

  • http://bonheursdesophie.canalblog.com bonheursdesophie

    Hi Clotilde,
    Thank you very much for the link and for trying my cookies with your touch.
    You should really try the agave syrup once, it’s a great and delicious product.
    As for margarine, I only use now non-trans fat and it woks very well.
    On my website, I have also created a healthier version and a gluten free one.
    And to my experience, to have them really crunchy, you should stick to my recipe. The healthier version with less butter and sugar is not as crunchy and then I make them quite thin to get the result.

    Miranda, if you need any help on my vegan recipes, do not hesitate to contact me.

    And Clotilde, congratulations for your success

  • Emily in Kansas

    This was my first foray into baking after starting a gluten free and dairy free diet. Thanks for the inspiration, Clotilde and Sophie! I’m usually a to-the-letter recipe follower, but I’ve found improvisation to be necessary lately. I used Earth Balance sticks, quinoa flakes, a gluten free flour mix, and hazelnut milk. This was the perfect chance to try out agave syrup. The cookies were delicious!

  • http://5percentcelery.blogspot.com/2007/07/5-celery-granola.html 5lery

    Hi Clotide! We posted the granola recipe on our site. Thanks for asking!

    .:tt:. and >rr<

  • http://allthebest2007.blogspot.com all the best

    Love your wonderful blog! These look amazing, can’t wait to make these this week. I”m sure my son and husband will be thrilled too!

  • sp

    Just finished baking these cookies. They are really wonderful right now. I replaced vanilla essence with crushed cardamom and walnut with cashew because I didn’t have them…but the flavors are gorgeous together. Thanks!

  • Christy

    My apologies to the slow response to your question about maple syrup. I’m still doing some research.

    Here’s a quick summary: All sugars are, by nature, hygroscopic. Just how hygroscopic depends on the sugar. For example, fructose is more hygroscopic than glucose. The percentage of fructose present in a syrup could then affect how soft your cookie will be. In a slightly ironic twist, when sugars crystallize they “loose” water–the crystal structure doesn’t allow room for as much water to be bound.

    The form the sugar is in also affects how much water it will bind. If you add acid to a sugar you can cause it to “invert”, making it relatively impossible for the sugar to recrystallize because the structure has been changed. Invert sugars like to hold on to water. That’s one of the reasons a small amount of acid is used when making candy–you don’t want the individual granules to crystallize out, instead you want a nice glass-like structure.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Christy – Many thanks for getting back to us, this is so interesting.

  • http://www.pinkofperfection.com Sarah

    I love those oat-y, Sweedish chocolate sandwich cookies! They are my absolute favorite!

  • Monique

    The toaster incident has got to be one of the funniest things I’ve read recently. Made me laugh out loud!

  • Sam

    I have to agree with Gail, GG and Whitney I was totally disappointed. My cookies were lumpy, too moist and not at all crispy after 14 minutes.

    I’m at a loss.

  • Julia

    I have tried to make the biscuits twice now, and while they taste delicious, they refuse to go flat. Why is this? I have, I must admit, been using oats instead of spelt, but should this matter since the original recipe was done this way? And then I also used traditional whole wheat flour the first time, switching to whole wheat pastry flour the second, which helped somewhat, but still I am not getting the desired result. I had to press them down in order to make them go flat, otherwise they stay as little oat and almond mounds. Could someone give me advice? Is my oven temp off? I have been following the recipe to the letter.

  • TY

    Julia,
    I used oats too and had the same problem of the cookies not spreading out nice and thin like in the picture. I thought it was because I used margarine instead (was out of butter). I didn’t chill the dough but baked it straight away.

    For my second batch, I pressed the dough down with a fork but it still didn’t really turn out crispy thin. Suggestions, anyone?

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