Easter is only a little over a week away and for that, I am so thankful. Every year I give up chocolate for Lent and for six weeks I am constantly on the search for a substitution for my daily chocolate fix. I can make it through the morning and most of the afternoon, but between 3 and 4 o’clock, I am on the hunt! I had originally planned on making a batch of pecan shortbread cookies today until I realized that I’m out of pecans. I decided to substitute walnuts and once again I was out of luck. Finally I decided that I should just see what I did have and go from there. Something with hazelnuts-I had a full bag.
This is another recipe from Gina de Palma’s book “Dolce Italiano”-I just love this book! As I was putting this together I realized that these cookies are similar to the crinkle cookies I’ve made, of course without the chocolate.
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole hazelnuts, skinned *
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, for rolling
- To skin hazelnuts, roast them in a single layer in hot oven (350 to 375 degrees) for about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a dishtowel, fold over and move them back and forth inside the towel to rub skins off. Not all the skins will come off, but that’s okay!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor with 2 tablespoons sugar and process until they are finally chopped.
Using an electric mixer fitter with paddle, beat the eggs and remaining granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and then the melted, cooled butter. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the ground hazelnuts to make a firm dough, about 30 seconds.
Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Using lightly floured fingers, form dough into 1″ balls. Roll each ball in confectioners’ sugar to coat evenly. Place the dough on cookie sheets, evenly spaced 1/2″ apart and lightly press them with your fingers to flatten them slightly.
Bake the cookies until they are puffed and cracked and lightly browned, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets for 1 or 2 minutes and then transfer them gently onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place for up to 4 days.
Yield: 4 dozen cookies