Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

One of my favorite friends is a fellow mom from my four-year-old's preschool. Hi, Beth!

She is smart, funny and super creative. She writes a great blog called Remarkably Domestic and makes the cutest barrettes I have ever seen! Yes, I am going to plug everything she does because I am such a fan. Sorry, if I'm embarrassing you now, B!

A couple days ago I had the pleasure of attending her fifth annual "cookie exchange". Basically, everyone brings five dozen homemade cookies of their choice. At the party we all sampled each other's wares and if that wasn't awesome enough, then we got to take home several cookies of each kind. The remaining cookies were dropped off at a shelter (which was actually the best part).

Here was my contribution, which I found on the Epicurious website. I picked them because they sounded elegant and looked very "holiday cookie" to me.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

Gourmet | December 2006
These classic rich, chewy cookies crack — or, yes, crinkle — as they bake. Hazelnuts, cocoa, and chocolate come together to make them particularly potent.
Yield: Makes about 7 dozen cookies
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 4 hr

2/3 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet
chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Special equipment: parchment paper
Make dough:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan in oven until skins split and nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (turn oven off), then wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove any loose skins. Cool nuts completely. Pulse nuts with granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.

Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Form and bake cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and chill 1 half, wrapped in plastic wrap. Roll remaining half into 1-inch balls, placing them on a sheet of wax paper as rolled.
Roll balls, 3 or 4 at a time, in confectioners sugar to coat generously
and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.

Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centers are still slightly soft), 12 to 18 minutes total.
Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

While first batch is baking, roll remaining dough into balls. Line cooled cookie sheets with fresh parchment, then coat balls with confectioners sugar and bake in same manner.

Cooks' note:
Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.

Cool Tools: