Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies flavored w/ aniseed: flour-less; dairy free option

The making of a seriously decadent and tasty treat, featuring hazelnuts, or other wild nut of choice, and organic chocolate. Aniseeds lend a delicate flavor to the deep rich, fudge-like cookie — wild fennel seeds or green sweet cicely seeds can be used instead. This flour-less recipe can be made with delicious, luscious coconut oil rather than butter, if desired. 

Thank you to The Village Tea Room for the recipe inspiration.

The cookie ingredients.

The cookie ingredients.

Gently melting the butter and chocolate in a hot water bath — home-rigged double boiler (aka baine marie). Gentle means the heat of the water isn't touching the vessel that the butter and chocolate are in. Also keep water out of the vessel or textural issues ensue.

Gently melting the butter and chocolate in a hot water bath — home-rigged double boiler (aka baine marie). Gentle means the heat of the water isn't touching the vessel that the butter and chocolate are in. Also keep water out of the vessel or textural issues ensue.

The cookie dough, well mixed and ready for scooping onto the baking sheet.

The cookie dough, well mixed and ready for scooping onto the baking sheet.

Cookie dough scooped from a tablespoon onto the cookie sheet.

Cookie dough scooped from a tablespoon onto the cookie sheet.

After baking, cookies are removed from the baking sheet with a spatula and left to cool on racks.

After baking, cookies are removed from the baking sheet with a spatula and left to cool on racks.

The result: a pile of cookies that will disappear faster than lightening!

The result: a pile of cookies that will disappear faster than lightening!

Recipe:

  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) grass-fed butter or virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat or granular maple sugar
  • 2 free range fertile eggs
  • 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
  • 8 oz bittersweet organic chocolate chunks or dollops (to be melted)
  • 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
  • 7 oz bittersweet organic chocolate chunks or dollops, chopped (not melted)
  • 2 cups chopped hazelnut (preferably soaked and dried) or other nut of choice — I have used coconut, walnuts, cashew, green pumpkin seeds, almonds, singly or combined. 
  • 2 tablespoons aniseed (or sweet cicely seed), freshly ground

Chocolate note: I suggest using 65-70% chocolate so it's more chocolate and less sweet. 

 

  1. Gently melt the 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks and butter in a hot water bath. Stir well and cool the mixture to room temperature. 
  2. Meanwhile beat eggs, Sucanat and vanilla in large bowl with a mixer until well incorporated and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chocolate-butter mixture to egg mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. In medium sized-bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients: cocoa powder, sea salt, 7 oz chopped chocolate chunks, chopped nuts, and aniseed. Add to the egg/chocolate mixture and mix well.
  5.  Scoop cookie dough with a tablespoon onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. 
  7. Remove cookies from baking sheet with a spatula and cool on wire racks.
  8. Once fully cooled, store in tightly lidded containers in a cool place.

Makes 26 cookies

 

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) of the Apiacae Family

The aromatic sweet seeds of Myrrhis odorata can be used in place of aniseed or fennel seed for flavoring beverages and dishes. Note the seeds are most flavorful when fully formed but still green; see image below. Now in early fall, the seeds of sweet cicely are dark brown and lack flavor. At this point the seeds are good for planting — sweet cicely seeds need to be planted soon after the plant produces them as older seeds won't germinate. 

Sweet Cicely-Myrrhis odorata.jpg

Comfrey: a very useful yet controversial friend.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) of the Boraginaceae family offers many gifts, ranging from food and medicine for us humans (if we dare, please see cautionary note below); as fodder for animals; and as a soil enricher referred to in permaculture as a dynamic accumulator. Right now this perennial plant flourishes, lush, vibrant and green in the landscape, making it a perfect time to gather its nutrient dense leaves for food and medicine. Dry the leaves for a mineral rich, soothing tea or use to make a topical healing oil. The smaller, younger leaves can be eaten as a cooked vegetable aka potherb: tasty in soup, quiche, frittata, etc. Or feed the leaves to your compost pile; brew them into a green manure tea for feeding plants; or if you have goats, feed some to them— they will love it.

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender .

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender .

Click for more on pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Nettle Seed = Super Food

The time of year has arrived for harvesting nettle seeds (Urtica dioica). The seeds of this perennial are considered a super food with adaptogenic properties. This means they help the body handle stress... all kinds of stress, by supporting adrenal function. Dosage: 1/2–1 teaspoon of fresh or dried seeds sprinkled into salads, soups, stews, etc. The seeds taste mild with a crunchy texture and can be easily added to dishes. Amazingly, some herbalist are finding the seeds help heal damaged kidneys — wow! Here is to a wild, invasive, highly useful medicinal food. FYI, may be very stimulating/energizing to some folks, so best to eat earlier in the day. Enjoy! Image from our book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. Check this link for more info on nettle seed.

One of the two nettle pages from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender .

One of the two nettle pages from the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender .

Stocks: The Craft of Beautiful Bone Broth & Vegetable Stock (wild or cultivated)

The following six pages devoted to stock-making — including vegetable stock (wild or cultivated) — are excerpts from my book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. Many folks ask for this information. I want to share it and make it publicly available. Enjoy!

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 208).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 208).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 209).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 209).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 210).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 210).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 211).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 211).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 212).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 212).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 213).

From the book Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender (page 213).

Today's pawpaw: a visual essay with ice cream option.

Today's pawpaw: a visual essay with ice cream option.

Pawpaw fruit (Asimina triloba) ready for eating as detected by its alluring tropical odor and soft-to-the-touch skin. Notice the color of the skin turns from light green to slightly yellow with a few brown spots when ripe. This is when I prefer to eat them. Note: although not my preference, some folks wait until the skin turns a grayish-brown-black before eating. 

Pawpaw fruit (Asimina trilobaready for eating as detected by its alluring tropical odor and soft-to-the-touch skin. Notice the color of the skin turns from light green to slightly yellow with a few brown spots when ripe. This is when I prefer to eat them. Note: although not my preference, some folks wait until the skin turns a grayish-brown-black before eating. 

A view of the inside of the fruit. 

A view of the inside of the fruit. 

Inedible black seeds removed from edible fruit flesh. Seed can be planted right away, or stored in the refrigerator for future planting For more information on planting seeds click here or here. For more information on pawpaws in general click here.

Inedible black seeds removed from edible fruit flesh. Seed can be planted right away, or stored in the refrigerator for future planting For more information on planting seeds click here or here. For more information on pawpaws in general click here.

Remove the flesh from the inedible skin with a spoon or your mouth. 

Remove the flesh from the inedible skin with a spoon or your mouth. 

The delicious custardy pawpaw flesh is now ready for eating fresh as is; or made into ice cream. BTW, the pawpaw packs an impressive nutritional profile: 3 oz of fruit supplies more than half of our daily iron needs and over a third of our daily magnesium needs! That's a lot of nutrient density for a fruit. Click to see more nutritional information. 

The delicious custardy pawpaw flesh is now ready for eating fresh as is; or made into ice cream. BTW, the pawpaw packs an impressive nutritional profile: 3 oz of fruit supplies more than half of our daily iron needs and over a third of our daily magnesium needs! That's a lot of nutrient density for a fruit. Click to see more nutritional information

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Recipe from Foraging & Feasting: Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook, by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender

Black Walnut

Now is the time for harvesting and processing black walnut (Juglans nigra of the Juglandaceae family). The green hull will go into organic cold pressed olive for a therapeutic anti-fungal oil-come-salve and the musky-flavored nut meat will go into our mouths. Prized for its wood in furniture-making, this large, native Eastern North American tree can be found growing in USDA zones 4-9. Now is the time for gathering these fallen fruits. Free Food & Free Medicine!

A basket of black walnuts gathered last week from the ground under the tree.

A basket of black walnuts gathered last week from the ground under the tree.

Processing black walnuts: the crime scene.

Processing black walnuts: the crime scene.

The green hull removed from the nut shell with a simple paring knife. This part will be used for making medicine. BTW, the green hull begins to brown as soon as it is cut open and comes into contact with the air.

The green hull removed from the nut shell with a simple paring knife. This part will be used for making medicine. BTW, the green hull begins to brown as soon as it is cut open and comes into contact with the air.

The black walnuts after their green hulls have been removed. At this point they can be spread out and left to dry to be eaten in the future or they can be eaten right away...... 

The black walnuts after their green hulls have been removed. At this point they can be spread out and left to dry to be eaten in the future or they can be eaten right away...... 

Technique: cracking the nut open with a stone. If you want to get fancy, friends of mine who love eating black walnuts own the Hunt's Black Walnut Nut Cracker, available from Northern Nut Growers Association. FYI, even with this tool, shelling the nuts is a slow, meditative affair. An even fancier option is the World's Best Nut Cracker  — heavier duty, more expensive, and faster output.

Technique: cracking the nut open with a stone. If you want to get fancy, friends of mine who love eating black walnuts own the Hunt's Black Walnut Nut Cracker, available from Northern Nut Growers Association. FYI, even with this tool, shelling the nuts is a slow, meditative affair. An even fancier option is the World's Best Nut Cracker  — heavier duty, more expensive, and faster output.

A close up of a cracked black walnut: the white flesh is the edible part and needs to be removed from the shell.

A close up of a cracked black walnut: the white flesh is the edible part and needs to be removed from the shell.

Stone for cracking; nut shell remnants (to compost); and nut meat to eat.

Stone for cracking; nut shell remnants (to compost); and nut meat to eat.

The yellowish-white black walnut meat ready to eat. Can be used instead of other nuts in cooking.

The yellowish-white black walnut meat ready to eat. Can be used instead of other nuts in cooking.

Don't forget to wear gloves when working with black walnuts as they have a strong dye that will stain your hands; the staining lasts up to three weeks.

Don't forget to wear gloves when working with black walnuts as they have a strong dye that will stain your hands; the staining lasts up to three weeks.

Elderberry

Hello #Elderberry! Just spotted my first ripe elderberry aka Sambucus canadensis. The berries of this Eastern North American native shrub will continue to ripen into late September. Harvest them only when they are purple-black and fully ripe. These nutritious berries — high in iron and bioflavonoids — are an immune tonic. Turn these hardly sweet, slightly acid and mineral flavored berries into tasty elderberry syrup; delectable elderberry catsup; refreshing elderberry agua fresca; fermented elderberry kefir soda; alcoholic elderberry liqueur; or toss some into salad: both green salad and fruit salad. Cautionary note: All plant parts except fully ripe berries and flowers (earlier in the season) can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; occasionally even ripe, raw berries can cause nausea (although I've never had this experience after several years of consumption.)

Elderberry.jpg

Wild Berry Picking

More #WildBerry picking: #blackberries w/ a few #raspberries. Gathered about 3 gallons this morning. The blackberries are very tasty and super abundant this year! Turning most of the berries into coulis and then freezing the coulis to use throughout the year. Today's featured blackberry recipe here at the house will be ice cream made w/ fresh raw grassfed cream.

Wild Bergamot in Bloom

#WildBergamot blooming beautifully= food for the #Pollinators and for us. Right now it's time to indulge in those lovely, light lavender #EdibleFlowers full of spicy sweetness. Sprinkle them onto salads; blend them into softened butter; use them as a flavorful garnish throughout. This wild American native, aka #Mondarda fistulosa, is a perennial of the Lamiaceae family. Look for it in meadows, clearings, prairies, thickets and gardens. Harvest the flowering tops to brew into a strong flavorful tea with a spicy, pungent, oregano-like flavor; has cleansing and digestive promoting qualities.

Wild Bergamot Plant Identification page from the book Foraging & Feasting

Wild Bergamot Plant Identification page from the book Foraging & Feasting

Day Lily Harvest

#DayLily's beautiful blossoms can be eaten now! Raw or lightly cooked, they offer a mild flavor with a mucilaginous effect. I love to tear the flower into smaller pieces and add it to salad or to garnish w/ it. The the long flowers buds and wilted flowers can also be eaten lightly cooked. Originally from Asia, and now widely spread throughout the landscape, this perennial's Latin name is Hemerocallis fulva of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. BTW, occasionally may cause vomitting or diarrhea if eaten in large quantities by sensitive individuals.

The Day Lily Plant Identification Page from the book Foraging & Feasting

The Day Lily Plant Identification Page from the book Foraging & Feasting

Red Clover

#RED CLOVER (Trifolium pratense) graces the landscape — time to gather the blossoms for food and medicine = medicinal food. Break up the flower heads and sprinkle the individual blossoms into salads, onto cakes, and as a garnish to beautify any dish. Dry the blossoms for a health-promoting tea; often used for supporting skin and lung health. Flavor is mild with a sweet pea-like taste.

Violet

Looking forward to righteous #violet (Viola sororia) arriving back in the landscape. Eat the mild leaves & flowers raw; super high in #vitaminC — flower surprisingly more than leaf. Decorate dishes, even cakes with the blossoms. Toss leaves into soup at the end of the cooking process, blend into pesto with more pungent greens or in Wild Green Goddess Dressing. Violet's soothing, cooling qualities help with inflammation in the gut and respiratory systems, as well as topically on the skin. Some say that these wild, free, and abundant violets are #antineoplastic, read anticancer!!!

Violet-Viola sororia.jpg