Chestnut Cookies With Pomegranate Glaze - Photo by Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

16 to 18 servings

The deep, seasonal goodness of chestnut plus spelt flour make this vegan cookie especially rich-tasting. The glaze adds a nice sweet-tart aspect to every bite.

You'll need a 3-inch, or slightly larger, round cookie cutter.

Freeze-dried raspberries are available in the dry-goods section of grocery store produce departments.

The chestnuts can be roasted several days in advance. The decorated cookies can be stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 10 days. You may have glaze left over, which can be used on banana bread or even on pancakes.

Ingredients

For the cookies

1 cup (about 3 ounces) vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttery vegan spread, such as Earth Balance

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

2 1/2 cups spelt flour, plus more for the work surface

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

For the glaze and toppings

About 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, or more as needed

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice, or more as needed

Freeze-dried raspberries, finely chopped (optional; see headnote)

Handful pomegranate seeds (arils; optional)

Method

For the cookies: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Arrange the chestnuts on a baking sheet and roast (middle rack) for about 10 minutes, or just until fragrant and lightly browned, being careful not to burn them. 

Let cool, then crumble or chop them. Reserve a few tablespoons for the topping; see below.

Combine the butter substitute, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat for about 5 minutes, until creamy. 

Reduce the speed to low, then add the spelt flour, the chestnut pieces, cinnamon and allspice, beating until just incorporated.

Lightly flour a work surface with more spelt flour. 

Transfer the dough there and roll it out to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Use the cookie cutter to cut out as many rounds of dough as you can, then reroll and cut more, spacing them on the baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. 

Bake (upper and lower racks) for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. 

The edges of the cookies should be just starting to brown. Transfer the cookies to wire racks (with wax paper or parchment paper under them) to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and pomegranate juice in a deep medium-size bowl until smooth, adjusting those amounts as needed to yield a fairly thick and dark pink glaze.

Dip one half of each cookie into the glaze, letting the excess drip off. 

Return to the wire rack; immediately sprinkle the glaze with the bits of freeze-dried raspberries, if using, and the reserved crumbled/chopped chestnuts or some pomegranate seeds, if desired. Let set before serving or storing.

Based on a recipe from the Little Plantation blog, in collaboration with TwiggStudios.com