If you love chocolate and hazelnuts, you're going to love these cookies I just created. Sunny, my husband's oldest sister (she's 16 now), promised her girlfriends she would bring some sweet treats to share with them at school, so I helped her out by making these decadent French-inspired cookies.
Nutella serves as the base of the cookies, to which I added a layer of homemade hazelnut cream (frangipane-style) and a smattering of mini-chocolate chips.
The cookies come out of the oven chewy, soft and sweet. And of course, irresistible!
Our friends over at Nuts About Granola are featuring my Hawaiian-inspired granola bars on the new packaging of their Granola Basics and at the same time are giving away 3 copies of my upcoming book, Haute Potato, to their readers. Leave a comment at the bottom of Nuts About Granola Blog post and you might be one of the lucky winners!
Servings: 66 cookies
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
3 ounces hazelnut flour
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups granulated sugar (+2 tablespoons for the hazelnut cream)
½ teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
8 ounces Nutella
½ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
Making the hazelnut buttercream filling:
Using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. It will take about 5 minutes. The consistency should be very airy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and set aside.
Cream 3 tablespoons softened butter. Pour in the egg mixture. Add the hazelnut flour. Mix until the batter is smooth and chill in the refrigerator.
Making cookie dough:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set side.
In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup sugar for about 5 minutes. The texture will become thicker. Add the remaining vanilla extract.
In another bowl, cream 12 tablespoons butter with ½ cup sugar until it forms a uniform paste. Add Nutella and sea salt.
Alternately add the flour mixture and butter to the egg mixture and blend and knead the dough with your fingers until the cookie dough comes together.
Add the chocolate chips and brown sugar. Mix until they're evenly distributed.
When you're ready to bake the cookies, remove the hazelnut cream form the refrigerator and dot the cookie dough with little mounds of the hazelnut cream.
Using a melon baller, form ¾-inch dough balls. Roll them in the remaining granulated sugar. Place them on several (I used 4) parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Make sure they are spaced out so they won't touch each other as they expand while baking. Using the bottom of a cup, flatten the balls, forming about quarter-sized disks.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely to room temperature. They will harden and get more firm as they cool.
Serve with a nice hot tea or a pumpkin latte.
For easy mixing, I warmed the Nutella for a few seconds in the microwave.
Little reminder on how to make hazelnut flour: You can either buy ready-made hazelnut flour or make it yourself. Remember to get a little more than 3 ounces of whole hazelnuts to get the correct amount of flour. Place whole hazelnuts in a metal bowl, then cover them with boiling water. Let it sit for no longer than 2 minutes. Strain and transfer them into a cold water bath. Pat them dry on a towel, and the skins should come right off. Then grind them with a food processor or spice grinder. Make sure you stop before it turns into nut butter. The result should be a fine white mill.
You can store the baked cookies in an airtight metal tin for up to a week to keep them fresh. Our cookies never last that long!