Intense Cocoa Coffee Cookies for David

October 23, 2011

It’s that time of the year again, that shitty time when it’s so painfully obvious that my brother is no longer with us. David would have been 29 today. This is the forth year that we’ve celebrated his birthday without him. My way of getting through days like today is to distract myself. Yes, it’s nice to remember him…but honestly most of the time that’s just too hard. I’m not there yet. But I can bake for him.

Last year I made David Peanut Butter Cookies for his birthday. They were his favourite as a child.


Yesterday I made him a different type of cookie, using ingredients that he loved but could not eat as they triggered his severe migraines – chocolate and coffee. They’re intense, definitely intense. Hence I made sure to include that in their name.

If David were alive he would have wanted to eat these. He would have resisted, but he would have wanted them. For years we made him cakes, puddings and crumbles made with apple, banana or citrus…everything but chocolate. Today I’m giving him chocolate.

Happy Birthday, David. Love, Bud xo

Intense Cocoa Coffee Cookies for David

Makes 12 Cookies


1/3 cup Pecans
1 cup Almond Meal
1/2 cup Wholemeal Plain Flour
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons Dutch Cocoa Powder (I use Droste Cocoa)
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
8 teaspoons Ground Coffee (I use Delta Chicco D’oro Premium Blend Ground Coffee)
Pinch of Salt
1 egg
4 tablespoons softened Light Dairy Spread (I use Devondale Light often in place of butter to reduce the saturated fat content of my recipes)
1/2 cup Low-Fat Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius, Convection setting. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a non-stick pan, lightly toast the pecans over low-heat until just fragrant. Take off the heat, roughly chop and set aside.
3. Soften your dairy spread (don’t melt it completely). I soften my spread by placing spoonfuls in a cup, then placing said cup in the sink and surrounding it with hot water (making sure no water gets in the cup). Some may think this is weird, but it’s my method. I soften and melt many things this way – honey, coconut butter, dairy spread, butter… I grew up without a microwave – you learn to get crafty. You could also place the spread in a heatproof bowl over boiling water, but this way you avoid it getting too hot. Once softened to the consistency of a thick soup, remove the cup from the water bath and set aside.
4. Sift the almond meal, wholemeal flour (with the leftover flakes added to the bowl after sifting), cocoa, sugar, baking powder and coffee into a large bowl. Add the salt and whisk to combine.
5. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the egg. Add the softened dairy spread, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup and stir to combine.
6. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry ingredients. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and gently fold until just combined.
7. Using a tablespoon and a dessert spoon, scoop out a tablespoons of the mixture, place it on the lined baking tray and form a cookie shape. Be sure to space the cookies so that they are at least 3 cm apart. You should get ~12 cookies out of the mixture. Depending on the size of your oven and baking tray, you may need to bake your cookies in two batches.
8. Place your baking tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cookies will come out clean. Your cookies will feel a little soft – don’t worry, this is good! Transfer your cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool – the flavour really comes together even more once they’re cool, so be patient, my pretties (mental note: learn to practice what I preach).
9. Enjoy alongside a glass of cold milk. Store in an airtight container.

Heidi xo
  • Heavenly Ingredients October 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

    this post brought a tear to my eye. thanks Heidi x

  • Michelle Chin October 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

    They look intense..

  • Robyn (GirlonRaw) October 23, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Thinking of you honey, this was certainly a very heartfelt post and I felt it. xxxx

  • Anh October 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I want to hug you. The post is so touching and full of love Heidi!

  • hollypop October 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    i'm so sorry heidi.
    the biscuits look incredible.

  • KittyCate October 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I teared up reading this. Thinking of you hun xx
    PS: the biscuits look absolutely delicious

  • Blithely Unaware October 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I also teared up reading that.

    Thinking of you and your family darling girl. I'd say it gets easier…. and it does… but you never forget and not a day goes by when there isn't a moment you remember. There are days when the sadness engulfs you all of a sudden and you cry your guts out and then there are days when you can't stop smiling and remember only the most happy moments.

    Keep smiling, keep writing, keep creating, these things are so healing.


  • Michelle October 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss, thinking of you today.x

  • Emma Stirling October 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    What a beautiful Melbourne day to honour David. Its my sisters birthday today. And even though we had a lovely lunch at Happy River cafe at Footscray I'm going to call her now to tell her how much I love her. Thanks for the precious reminder Heidi. Be kind to yourself to tonight honey. Tomorrow will soon be here.

  • The InTolerant Chef October 24, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Super intense! Creating for your brother is a lovely way of making new memories of him, and keeping the older ones fresh too, lovely 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

    oh sweetie – thinking of you xx
    What a beautiful 'sweet' tribute 🙂

  • Heidi October 24, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for all your beautiful, comforting words – you're all so gorgeous xo

    Laura – xo

    Michelle – yes 🙂

    Robyn – thank you 🙂

    Anh – thanks xo

    Holly – thanks lovely

    Cate – thanks xo

    Blithely Unaware – thannks, lady. I'm looking forward to being able to smile more when thinking about him xo

    Michelle – thank you 🙂

    Emma – thanks so much, Emma xo

    InTolerant Chef – you're right, I'm finding it a really helpful thing to do 🙂

    Lisa – thanks 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Ashley October 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    It's always so sad to read about your brother, but I think it is wonderful and brave that you share as well. Lots of love x

    Your cookies look absolutely lovely and I do love rich intense cookies, so these may well be up my alley… 🙂

  • Lisa October 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I love that you made your brother the thing he would have really wanted, even if he couldn't have eaten it. And thank god for baking, it really does help.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I'm so sorry for your loss Heidi. And no matter how many years go by I'm sure it's such a hard time xxx

  • Heidi October 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Ashley – thanks, I also love a bit of rich, intense flavour 🙂

    Lisa – thank you, and yes it does!

    Lorraine – thanks, lovely xo

    Heidi xo

  • Hannah October 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    My darling, my darling. I'm so sorry. As always, as ever, as now. I only hope with time that it becomes easier to think of him – I'll not say "easier to remember him", because I know that's something you'll always be doing. Love you, honey. I'm here if there's anything you need. xo

  • wikigirl October 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I'm so sorry Heidi, I remember reading your post last year and feeling completely hopeless as to what I should say. So instead I made your cookies! I want you to know that I'm thinking of you ~ Maddy xo

  • msihua October 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Happy Birthday David 🙂 The sun is shining where you are 🙂

  • Heidi October 25, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Hannah – thank you, beautiful xo

    Maddy – thanks so much, lovely xo

    Msihua – I hope so 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Leah October 25, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Heidi Im so sorry that you lost your brother…my heart hurts for you…
    Sending you hugs and love xoxo
    Love the cocoa coffee cookies, it is such a beautiful way to remember him.

  • Sig October 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Something like this can't even bring the right words for comfort, but I know your brother would have loved those cookies and more so because it was made with all the love you had for him.


  • Heidi October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Leah – thanks, lovely, you're amazing.

    Sig – thanks so much, that's beautiful 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Iron Chef Shellie October 26, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    🙁 Happy Birthday David.

    I still do a ritual for my Grandfather. I think it's important to help remember the people that touched you <3

    oh gawd, here come the tears

  • Heidi October 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Michele – oh, love!! it is a nice ritual, you're so right. It helps you work through emotions. love love xo

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