We don’t do Halloween, but we have our own monsters. One of them is world famous. You see his heavy footprints throughout the world literature and arts, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to The X- Files. You hear his eerie voice in Karel Capek’s R.U.R., where the word “robot” comes from, in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, recognizable as Gollum, and in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Golem which actually relates the old legend (or at least one of them).
It is said that Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague created a golem out of clay to protect the Jewish community from Blood Libel and to help out doing physical labor, since golems are very strong. Upon the Maharal’s demise, in 1609, the golem no longer functioned, thus it was stored in the attic of the Maharal’s Synagogue, known as the famous Staronova (Old-New) Synagoga of Prague and considered one of the most remarkable synagogues in Europe.
Today, it is still a functioning synagogue with a lively and vibrant community. Tours are conducted at the times free of services, of course, but the attic is off limits! My son, who visited it some time ago, was told that, even though the golem now is just a huge lifeless lump of clay, during the World War II some Nazi soldiers attempted to search the attic for hidden treasures and came out stark raving mad.
Since we are not nearly as holy and powerful as the Maharal of Prague, we’ll make our own monsters of spelt and whole wheat flour, rather than clay. To sweeten them, we’ll use light brown sugar and cinnamon, and to make them livelier, we’ll give them some coffee, walnuts, and a pinch of baking powder.
Let me remind you of my Rules of Dessert:
Rule # 1. If it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert.
Rule # 2. The more chocolate, the better.
Both cocoa powder and chocolate chips are here, supported by Smart Balance, an egg (or a substitute, if you want to make it vegan), and vanilla. Just a splash of apple cider vinegar helps to make the monster cookies lighter.
Just like everything else, you mix your dry ingredients first, then introduce the wet ingredients. Don’t forget to grind your coffee beans to powdery espresso consistency! Mix it up and spoon onto a greased baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) between spoonfuls. Don’t worry about shaping them, as they will flatten down and spread sideways anyway, as you bake them. In about ten minutes, pull them out and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Bake for five more minutes or until soft but not sticky to the touch. Break into individual squares as soon as they have cooled off enough not to burn your fingers.
Here are my Chocolate Coffee ChoCo Monsters. They might look ugly – what do you expect from monsters, after all? – but they are very friendly to your tummy and totally scrumptious!
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white spelt flour
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon espresso ground coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup Smart Balance or any butter substitute of your choice
- 1 egg or substitute
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- A splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons coconut milk, if needed
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Mix whole wheat flour, spelt flour, brown sugar, ground coffee, cinnamon, baking powder, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
- Whisk egg with Smart Balance, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Gradually add to dry ingredients, mix thoroughly to avoid lumps. If the batter is too thick, add some coconut milk.
- Spoon onto baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) between spoonfuls.
- Bake for 10 minutes, sprinkle with cocoa powder, and bake for 5 more minutes or until soft but not sticky to touch.
- Remove, cool slightly, and break into squares.