it’s always cookie time: chocolate hazelnut cookies

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This weekend, I had a few friends over and said, without hesitation, that my apartment feels like a home. After 38 years of living in New York, only two places felt like they weren’t merely a four-wall cage to which my mail had been forwarded: my dad’s farm in Mill Neck and my current serene Brooklyn abode. As an introvert {would you believe I only discovered I was an introvert THIS YEAR? The insanity} I crave a place of quiet, a refuge from long days spent with people. Mind you, I love everyone in my life, but sometimes I need to retreat and refuel so I can be that amazing friend while still preserving some of my time for me.

That having been said, I cooked two feasts for two different friends, but kept these cookies just for me. These cookies were my stolen treat–perfecting pairing for a movie night spent in central air, curled up with my cat.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Joanne Chang’s Flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, plus 1 tbsp
2/3 cup cane sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blanched whole hazelnuts, toasted (peel off the skin and toast nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

DIRECTIONS
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium/high speed for approximately 5 minutes (10 minutes if using a hand mixer), or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pause a few times and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts until ground to a fine powder (stop grinding once they are powdery; if you continue, they will become a paste). Roughly chop the remaining 1 cup hazelnuts.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ground and chopped hazelnuts, the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate. On low speed, slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and then mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. You can finish this off with a wooden spoon to ensure all the flour bits at the bottom of the mixing bowl are incorporated.

For the best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for 3-4 hours) before baking. When you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop the dough in 1/4-cup balls onto a baking sheet (I use an ice-cream scoop), spacing them approximately 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 20-22 minutes (I prefer my cookies chewy, slightly undercooked, so start checking at 15 minutes), or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale and slightly soft in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Note: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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6 thoughts on “it’s always cookie time: chocolate hazelnut cookies

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