As you peel off its red pinstriped wrapper, Choc-Nut almost always crumbles. The fragile milk chocolate confection has a subtly grainy texture and has a delightful nutty taste.  It is cocoa powder, milk powder, ground roasted peanuts and sugar mixed and molded into thumb-sized, ridged candy bars.

The Filipino chocolate bar is truly iconic.  Ask any Filipino you know and they’ll instantly recognize the red pinstriped wrapper.  It has been a part of many Filipino childhoods and mine is no exception.  If I were to single out my favorite candy while growing up it would have to be the beloved Choc-Nut.  It was my go-to candy whenever I needed a jolt of sugar.  I spent many afternoons after school enjoying bar after bar of Choc-Nut bought from our local sari-sari store, the neighborhood Filipino convenience store where you can buy virtually everything from soup to nuts.  Scant change bought me happiness, which I happily washed down with thirst-quenching soda in a plastic bag.

My fond affection for Choc-Nut transcends time and distance.  Last weekend, I made Martha Stewart’s chocolate crackle cookies but took the cocoa powder and brown sugar out and replaced them with crushed Choc-Nut bars.  I used TCHO bittersweet chocolate, 68% cocoa, and lots of confectioner’s sugar.  The hints of Choc-Nut were delightful.  The cookies had the perfect size and sweetness — dark with notes of nuts.  Enjoy them by themselves or with a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Or even with soda in a plastic bag, in true Filipino fashion.

You can find my favorite childhood candy in most Asian grocery stores.

 

Choc-Nut Chocolate Crackle Cookies Recipe
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Recipes, makes about 4 dozen

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably around 70% cocoa
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
30 pieces Choc-Nut bars
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons, 1 stick, unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using a fork, crush the Choc-Nut bars into crumbs.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and Choc-Nut crumbs.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined.  Add melted chocolate.  Set the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk until just combined.  Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.

 

Choc-Nut Chocolate Crackle Cookies

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar generously on a clean countertop.  Roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.  Sprinkle more confectioners’ sugar to prevent the dough from sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Unwrap the logs and cut each into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time.  Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape.  Roll the ball-shaped dough in confectioners’ sugar to coat them completely.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Choc-Nut Chocolate Crackle Cookies

 

Cooking Notes:

1. The original recipe from Martha Stewart calls for 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder and 1-1/3 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed.  Sift the cocoa powder with the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Follow the directions as written above.

2. The dough is definitely sticky.  Make sure to chill the dough for at least a couple of hours until it is firm and cover your countertop with plenty of confectioners’ sugar so that the dough wouldn’t stick everywhere.

 

Choc-Nut Chocolate Crackle Cookies

  • http://twitter.com/CharlesGT Charles G Thompson

    This reminded me of all the candy my sister and ate as children. Trouble is I’m not sure there was a favorite (we ate way too much!) Really enjoyed reading about this favorite Filipino candy, and the version you came up. Looks and sounds delicious.

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  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thanks, Charles! I know it’s always hard to choose just one. Honestly, those toothachingly sweet mallomars were a close second.

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    Juunnnnnnnn now I want some choc-nut!!! Can you believe I used to NOT like it when I was a kid in the Philippines?? Then I moved to the US and boom, I start craving choc-nut like crazy. I always ask my friends/family to bring me some whenever they visit :)

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I’m sending you a big box of Choc-Nut right now! It’s on its way! :-)

  • Cusinera

    Wow choc-nut cookies…galing! Remember Flat Tops…ahhh does were the days! Once I get my hands on a packet will definitely try this cookies=)

  • http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com sylvie@gourmandeinthekitchen

    I’ve never had a chocnut before, but it sounds like a winner from your description. Now I want to try some to know what I’m missing :-)

  • http://www.spectacularlydelicious.com Sean

    Looks great. The much-celebrated pasty chef at the David Chang restaurants (Momofuku, La Peche) is justly famous for creating candy ingrediented wonders. This looks equal to any in that pantheon.

  • Lemons and Anchovies

    Hi, Jun. I like how you combined an old favorite with a new recipe. I bet each bite of the crackly cookies brought fond memories of childhood. I don’t know how you always make everything look so perfect but you do–these cookies are no exception.

  • Stephanie

    How gorgeous and awesome is that! Love the crackled effect on top. Lovely! And gratz for making FNJ!!

  • Anneliesz

    Jun! Your photos are gorgeous. I can imagine the texture and chew of your cookies. I love that you got inspired to infuse a favorite of the past into a present recipe.

  • http://www.skiptomalou.net skip to malou

    Choc-nut is my all time favorite chocolate.. even if you put it side by side a gourmet chocolate, I would pick choc nut hands down… and even if it crumbles before you could put it in your mouth hihihi. I would enjoy each bite of this crackle cookie… I would imagine having a delightful feeling that makes me want more and more…

  • http://twitter.com/sippitysup sippitysup

    The power of food memories. I love those kinds of stories. GREG

  • http://www.pastrychefonline.com/ onlinepastrychef

    These look wonderful. The Choc-Nuts sound like they’d taste like crunchy Nutella, but w/peanuts instead of hazelnuts. And crunchy goodness like that obviously belongs in a cookie.

    Somehow, I think that I might have missed out on some cool stuff, not being Filipino. I mean, soda in plastic bags?! It’s like it’s just *made* for kids!

    Like Greg says, it’s all about recreating a food memory, and that’s always a precious thing!

  • Anonymous

    These cookies look amazing! Your entry makes me want to run to the nearest store and buy me a pack of Choc-Nut.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I’m sending you a pack right now! :-) Thank you for stopping by!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you! I actually found it difficult to describe the texture. I know, subtly grainy isn’t descriptive enough. It isn’t your regular chocolate. It has that grainy texture of a cookie but more dense.

    And yes! We, Filipinos, had the best childhoods. Weird chocolate candies and soda in plastic bags!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Sean. You’ve just inspired me to create my own spin on American desserts with Filipino candies! Looking forward to trying out Chang’s restaurants in NYC this year.

  • http://kitchen-confidante.com Liren

    Jun, what a brilliant combination and use of Choc Nut! Choc Nut was that rare treat for me, reserved for those visits back to the Philippines every 4 years, or the pasalubong of relatives. The cookies came out beautifully!

  • http://kitchen-confidante.com Liren

    Jun, what a brilliant combination and use of Choc Nut! Choc Nut was that rare treat for me, reserved for those visits back to the Philippines every 4 years, or the pasalubong of relatives. The cookies came out beautifully!

  • http://www.spectacularlydelicious.com Sean

    Hope you have a time for a coffe or bite when you’re here. Sean

  • http://twitter.com/missTdJ Trina

    Love taking a crumbly bite of Choc Nut, having it “melt” (or rather, disintegrate) on my tongue, just to make it last a leeeetle bit longer, swirling the candy’s gritty density around my mouth until all that’s left is a wisp of sugary peanuttiness…

  • http://lickmyspoon.com Steph @Lick My Spoon

    i love discovering new candy bars from other countries :) i’ll keep my eye’s peeled for ChocNut now. lovely looking crackle cookies!

  • Jamtfr

    Hi Jun! what a great new way to enjoy Choc Nut (my favorite as well growing up because it was tasty and inexpensive)! I actually have some so I’d like to try making this. When do you add the 1 cp of confectioner’s sugar ? Or is that just used for the countertop and rolling ? The recipe does not seem to include any other sugar. Thanks in advance.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m glad to meet another fellow Choc-Nut lover. The confectioner’s sugar is for rolling and for sugar coating the cookie dough when you form them into balls before baking. The original recipe contains cocoa powder and sugar but I replaced both with 30 pieces of Choc-Nut candies. The cookies are sweet enough that they don’t need any extra sugar. Please let me know how it goes. I’m anxious to hear what people think of the recipes I post here in my blog. And please do stop by again. Thank you!

  • Cherrie

    Nice one Jun! I haven’t had choc nut since I was a little girl. It brings back memories.

  • http://www.dinnerwarecenter.com/ Martincspencer

    Wonderful! It looks very yummy!

  • http://www.weddingfavourskingdom.co.uk/ Annegwells

    A very easy-to-follow recipe. Love to try this!

  • http://catalogueing.wordpress.com Rachel

    Choc-Nut! This brings me back to my childhood. I definitely need to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://psychosomaticaddictinsane.wordpress.com Iya S. Santos

    i put chocnut naman sa hot milk. :) yum. :)

  • http://www.asianinamericamag.com ElizabethQ

    This is a terrific recipe and so unique! We love Choc-Nut….can’t wait to try this!

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  • Joy

    Awesome variation! I make during the holidays all the time, I’m totally trying this one!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Try it, Joy.  Choc-nut gives the cookies a delightful nutty flavor!

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