We desperately need to replace what little furniture we have on our back deck. After being ignored for multiple Chicago winters, it is looking pretty shabby. Luckily we live near multiple parks, so whenever we have the urge to dine al fresco, we can pack up a spread and picnic in the neighborhood. Usually I keep things simple with a few cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and of course, dessert.
Instead of just picking up a fancy gourmet candy bar at my favorite corner market, I baked these chocolate hazelnut cookies. With a combination of roughly chopped hazelnuts and finely ground hazelnuts in the recipe, no surprise the cookies were nutty, crispy at the edges and a bit chewy in the middle. Next time we decide to picnic in the park, I will definitely bake a little something sweet.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang
Makes about 20 cookies
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1-1/2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups blanched hazelnuts, toasted
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Place 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse into a fine powder. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts. In a medium bowl, combine the ground and chopped hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate.
With the mixer on low, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Transfer the dough to an airtight container and chill in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Roll the dough into 1/4-cup-sized balls and place on the prepared sheet pan about 2 inches apart. Press down the dough balls slightly with your hand. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, crisp at the edges, but soft in the middle. Cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.