It's again time for the Sunday Slow Bakers weekly recipe. This week's recipe is Bittersweet Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies, from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies Makes 5 dozen
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetend Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, skinned or unskinned
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them 2 or 3 times to chop them medium-fine. Add the hazelnuts to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine them.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate, and beat just until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cookign spray or butter or line them with parchment.
Place the confectioner's sugar in a shallow bowl. To form the cookies, roll 1 scant tablespoon of dough into a 1 inch ball, then flatten it slightly with your fingertips to form a small disk. Roll the cookie in the confectioner's sugar to coat evenly and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough is used, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
Bake until the cookies are puffed and cracking, 8 to 10 mintues. Rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them gently to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust them with additional confectioner's sugar.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.
Here is the process:
Chopping the chocolate- this was the most time-consuming part of making these.
Making the cookies-(I use a small scoop. I scooped them all onto a cookie sheet, then went back and pressed them flatter with the bottom of a flat wine glass.
Rolling cookies in powdered sugar-
Cookies ready to bake- as you can see, I use silicon baking mats. No sticking, and very easy cleanup.
Baked cookies on cooling rack-
These cookies are just wonderful! If you love strong chocolate flavor, be sure to use bittersweet
chocolate. The hazelnuts add a little crunch, and just intensify the chocolate flavor. I baked my cookies for 10 minutes, and they still came out very soft. They seem to be firming up as they stand. These cookies would be great with an espresso, a glass of milk, or a glass of port. Your house will smell wonderful, and your mouth will have a smile!
Here is a close-up of the texture of the cookie: