Baking with chestnuts is not a common practice in the Antipodes, it's more a European or Asian thing. I love boiled chestnuts though, and have fond memories of picking them in my childhood. The whole family used to go on a day trip to Cambridge to pick them in the big parks. We wore gumboots and would scrounge around for the perfect stick to help prize open their prickly shells, then stuff the deep brown nuggets into specially made fabric chestnut-picking bags. I don't know if those huge chestnut trees exist anymore or we stopped going there because all the locals eventually got wind and picked them all themselves.

Nowadays I might come across fresh chestnuts in a West Auckland orchard or fruit and veg shop. And I buy them cooked and peeled in foil bags when I see them in the Asian supermarkets. I used this shortcut in the recipe below.

Chestnuts make a soft dough, slightly sweet, and a good alternative to flour if you want a gluten-free bake. This is another goodie from Better Baking by Genevieve Ko (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)

Makes around 20

1 1/2 c cooked and peeled chestnuts (I actually didn't have enough chestnuts so made up the rest with almond flour)

1/3 c granulated sugar or coconut sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

about 20 Hershey's kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Blitz the chestnuts, sugars, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a food processor until crumbly. Add egg and process until a smooth dough forms.

Roll dough into small tablespoon size balls, flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet a few centimeters apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Prepare the next sheet while the first batch is baking. Remove first batch from oven and cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then press a chocolate kiss into the centre of each one. It will melt slightly and adhere to the cookie. Cool completely on a wire rack.

If you don't have Hershey's you can use any size chocolate melts or buttons, or sprinkle with flaky sea salt before baking if you want to omit the chocolate altogether.