Delicious syrup flavoured soft (or crunchy) cookies studded with colourful chocolate beans (a.k.a Smarties), these must surely be the most cheerful cookies around, and just perfect to celebrate the first signs of spring.
Is it just me, or has this winter been endless? I can’t even imagine not wearing a coat and sunshine seems to have been a rare occurrence for such a long time. Whilst I love the cosiness of Winter, I’m seriously craving a bit of light and heat, and seeing the leaves and blossom appear on the trees. Spring, we’re ready for you!
I’ve spent years trying to source ‘safe’ Smarties. Ages ago we could buy ‘Whizzers’ which were a variety of safe colourful chocolate beans and definitely filled the cheerful chocolate hole. Sadly they were discontinued and we’ve had no readily available alternative for a long long time. Sad days 😦
To my delight, I’ve recently come across two new varieties which are occasionally available in the UK. Chocolate No-No’s, made by No Whey Chocolates based in the US and Colourful Chocolate Beans made by Clarana in Germany. Chocolate No-No’s are my preference as they are top 8 free, whereas the Clarana beans are made in a factory which uses peanuts, milk, almonds and nuts and so poses a risk we’re not willing to take. They are the more authentic in taste and look so if you’re happy with a ‘may contain’ then they are probably the ones to opt for.
You may think it rather foolhardy to use two packs of these expensive and hard to source chocolate beans in a cookie recipe? Maybe, but i’ve wanted to make my own version of these colourful and full of fun cookies for such a long time, it seemed like a good use of this scare resourse. They remind me of the Spotty Cookies which always used to be sold in cafes and soft-play centres when my girls were tiny. I’d always see them admiring the pretty dotty cookies and feel sad that i had to hand over a boring box of raisins or some rice cakes instead. It may have been a wait but here is my Dotty Cookie recipe. The chocolate beans seem to remain slightly melted inside for a fair few hours which is a wonderful contrast to the crunchy sugar shell. These were gone in no time, so whilst it may have been a long wait, it was most definitely worth it!
If you don’t want to waste your smarties, these cookies work equally well with chocolate chips instead.
(free-from milk, eggs, nuts, soya, sesame, vegetarian and vegan)
makes about 12
125g dairy-free margarine
80g caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup or maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
180g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
approx. 100g chocolate beans [you’ll want 6 per cookie]
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/180 degrees Centigrade Fan Oven. Grease two cookie sheets and set aside
- Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the syrup and vanilla.
- Sift in the flour , bicarbonate, baking powder and salt. Mix to form a soft dough.
- Roll into balls the size of ping pongs and gently flatten onto the baking tray
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and press the smarties into the top of the cookies, 6 per cookie is ideal.
- Return to the oven for 2 minutes. Cool briefly on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
- For a crunchier cookie, change the cooking times to 12 minutes plus another 2 with the beans on.