Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hazelnut Sugar Cookies with a Touch of Chocolate

I have this thing for cookies, any kind of them!. As you may have noticed I already posted many cookie recipes and will continue to do so as they are easy to make and can be adapted to suit just about any taste. 
I am also a huge fan of nuts and at any given time, there's bound to be at least 4 or 5 types of them in my kitchen. I consume them as snacks or put their wonderful taste and texture to use in sweet or even savory recipes.

A year ago, I made a hazelnut and coffee cake and it was an amazing combination. Since then I wanted to incorporate hazelnuts into another recipe and that's how this recipe came about.

These cookies have a very deep and rich nuts flavor which goes along so well with the little amount of chocolate that the recipe contains.Any serious fan of the buttery and complex flavors of nuts, especially hazelnuts, should try this recipe.

And here's how you make it.
For the cookie dough:
  • 160 g soft butter
  • 40 g hazelnut paste
  • 40 g lightly toasted ground hazelnut
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 small egg at room temperature
  • 390 g all purpose white flour
  • 10 g cocoa powder
  • 120 g brown sugar
  • dash of salt

First, combine flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut and salt and set aside.
In a bowl and on a low speed, mix the butter, sugar and the hazelnut paste until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for a couple of minutes.
Start adding the flour mixture and mix. When all the ingredients almost come together, flip the mixture over your working surface and gently mix until the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic film, flatten into  a 1 cm disk and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 3 to 5 mm in thickness. Cut the shapes you want using a cutter or a sharp knife, just pay attention that if the dough becomes soft put it back in the fridge for about half an hour. The number of cookies you might get from this batch of dough depends on the size of  the cutter you use or the size of the shape you desire , but in any case you will get lots of cookies!

Place your cookies an a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and put them it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 180C. Put the cookies in the oven for about 10 min, till they are just cooked through but not over-cooked.

It might seem tedious to move the dough in and out of the fridge many times, but doing so is needed to ensure the cookies are flat with no bubbles and will keep their shape once baked.

This recipe works really well if you love decorating cookies and you want to try a new flavor. I decorated few of these cookies and I added hazelnut aroma to the royal icing to compliment the flavor of the cookies. You can see the result below.

I also dipped some of the cookies in melted chocolate (any kind you want) and sprinkled some chopped hazelnuts on top. Finally, I sandwiched some with my favorite chocolate spread and that is Nutella, of course!