Mario's Famous Cookies
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Serves: 35 cookies

Cookies covered in crushed nuts and buckwheat seeds

For nut free option use pepitas and sunflower seeds instead of almonds and pecans, and coat in seeds as well

Cookies can be kept at room temperature but I store them in the fridge where they remain hard as I love biting through the solid nutty exterior into the middle … yum!

To portion the cookies equally use an ice-cream scoop … if you don’t have one then you can portion them using a spoon but you will need to wet the spoon and your hands intermittently to stop the mix sticking to you

To toast the nuts or seeds place into a preheated 180 degree fan forced oven and bake 5 minutes, turn over in the tray and continue for another 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted … this can be done ahead of time, or whilst you are collecting all your other ingredients … if doing the latter allow the nuts to cool for 10 minutes before lightly chopping and adding to the dry mix, you do not need to chop the seeds

You should get approximately 60g juice from each lemon so if you are a bit short then you will need to juice a third … if that is the case add in the extra zest of the third lemon

Once the cookies are baked keep leftover nuts or seeds that fall off the cookies onto the baking tray to sprinkle on your next salad or use over yoghurt … they are too gorgeous to waste

Use whatever nuts you like to coat the cookies, sunflower, buckwheat and sesame seeds work really well too as does coconut, but my absolute favourite is crushed peanuts

If you love the peanut flavour then you can add 100% crunchy peanut paste to the mix before rolling … allow 2 tbls of paste for every 12 cookies so you can divide the mix up if you wish, or make all of them more “peanutty” by adding the amount of paste you need

To easily crush nuts place them into a plastic bag and run a rolling pin over them … you want the pieces to be relatively small but not a “meal” so it is better to do it this way than using a machine

I use Buderim “Naked” Ginger which is easily purchased at grocery stores but use whatever you have or prefer

Recipe can be halved but if you make the full amount you have enough to last a good couple of weeks and they keep very well in the fridge (they do not need to be kept refrigerated but I like them in the fridge where they will remain hard)

These cookies improve by being left overnight before consuming … the flavours have a chance to mature and the sweet/sour taste of the fruit vs lemon juice really develops

If you are time poor you can bake this mix as a slice but it won’t be as firm as the cookies … spread the mix into a large lined slice tin (30cm x 20cm), spread over half the amount of warmed honey, top with a good coating of nuts/seeds and bake 20 minutes, turn tray around and bake for a further 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool an hour before placing in the fridge to get completely cold before slicing into desired pieces (you will get more even slices when it is cold)
  • 100g (1/2 cup) lightly toasted almonds
  • 100g (1/2 cup) lightly toasted pecans
  • 150g Medjool dates, pip removed, roughly chopped (this is pitted weight, approx. 10)
  • 120g (1 cup) cranberries
  • 120g (1 cup) seeded raisins
  • 80g (1/2 cup) currents
  • 50g “Naked” uncrystallised ginger, roughly chopped / or 3 tsp ground ginger
  • Zest of 2 lemons (save juice for “wet” ingredients)
  • 230g (1-1/2 cups) wholemeal spelt flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
  • 50g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 120g (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil, or other light flavoured oil of choice
  • 2 x 60g eggs
  • 120g lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Honey – approximately 180g (½ cup)
  • Crushed peanuts– approximately 300g (this will depend on how well you wish to coat the cookies)
  1. Place dry ingredients into a large bowl, and if you have only now toasted the nuts wait 10 minutes until they cool a little, then roughly chop and add in
  2. Turn the mixture over with your hands so that everything is coated evenly … put aside
  3. Mix together wet ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the dry mix … combine thoroughly with a spatula or spoon … texture should be sticky but not too wet … if you feel it is too wet (sloppy) add another tablespoon or two of oats
  4. Leave 15 minutes to allow mixture to firm up before scooping into cookies
  5. Heat oven to 160 degrees fan forced, and line two baking trays with baking paper
  6. Place a bread mat or a sheet of baking paper on your bench for portioning and coating the cookies (it’s messy work but totally worth it)
  7. Dip a small ice-cream scoop into a jug of water (this stops the mix sticking to the scoop) and scoop the mix onto your baking mat or baking paper (press the scoop against the side of the bowl to compress the mix into the scoop before placing onto baking mat) … portion all the cookies first, then go over them tidying up any rough bits with wet fingers
  8. Place the crushed nuts and a teaspoon into a bowl ready for coating the cookies
  9. Warm the honey (I do this in a microwave or use a small pot) so that it is fluid and brush it over the cookies with a pastry brush (don’t spend too much time on this but try to coat the sides of the cookies too)
  10. Use a bread knife to lift up each cookie and place it into the opposite hand, then use that knife to scrape up some honey from the bread mat and spread it onto the base of the cookie
  11. Then place the cookie into the bowl of crushed nuts on it’s sticky base
  12. Use the teaspoon to help cover the rest of the cookie with the nuts/or coating of choice
  13. Pick the cookie up with your fingers and place onto the baking tray
  14. Continue until all the cookies are done … they do not spread in the oven but keep a little space between them so that they bake evenly (I can get 16 on to each of my trays)
  15. Bake each tray for 15 minutes, turn tray around and continue for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown (if you like them super crunchy then bake for 35 minutes all up)
  16. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes on the tray before using an egg flip to lift the cookies and place on a cooling rack to cool completely
  17. Gather up the nuts/seeds that have fallen onto the baking trays and store in the fridge ready to sprinkle over your next salad or serve over some yoghurt
  18. I like to store the cookies in the fridge overnight before enjoying my first bite, and I continue storing them in the fridge so they remain hard
  19. Keeps well for at least 2 to 3 weeks
Recipe by The Passionate Pantry at