I remember how I used to love nuts and seeds since childhood. I would munch on peanuts, roasted chickpeas, roasted peas, pecans, walnuts, and what not. I still do. Hazelnuts for me are more of an addition to something… like my coffee or my early morning chocolate drink (hazelnut liqueur in this case).
Hazelnuts have quite a heady aroma as well as taste and I use them quite sparingly. I don’t make much of cookies, but this recipe just had to be tried, because it had chocolate. And because it is Italian. And chocolate and hazelnuts are the most heavenly combination as the world knows. I made these for Christmas this year, and these got finished the same day.
- 140 gm hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- 140 gm rice flour
- 100 gm unsalted butter
- 50 gm sugar
- 50 gm dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips
The first time I made this, I used double the sugar, but this time I used just 50 gm. And the rice flour I used is just plain white rice flour, and not the brown variety. And sugar is not confectioner’s sugar. Just plain crystal sugar. And don’t forget to grind your hazel nuts.
– In a large mixing bowl, add in the rice flour and the ground hazelnuts. Add sugar and lightly mix till combined.
– With your fingers, make pieces of the butter (butter must be at room temp) and add to the flour mixture.
– Make the mixture into a dough by slowly kneading it at first and then kneading it constantly, but not vigorously, till it holds together. You should not have a problem with the dough holding together, but if you do, then I’d suggest adding a teeny tiny bit of water, flour or butter. But you won’t really need to, as I mentioned.
– Divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal parts, make them into logs and refrigerate them for about 2-3 hrs. Just like in the process of a puff pastry, you have to let the butter get back to 4 degrees C. This is what sets the dough.
– Preheat your oven to 160 C
– After the chilling, start cutting 0.75 cm size circles of the logs, like you cut cucumber or zucchini slices, but obviously not so thin.
– Make balls out of these circles, and place them on a lined baking sheet.
– Bake them for 30 min or till the crusts are golden and the cookies become firm.
– Cool them completely on a wire rack
For the ganache/chocolate filling:
All you need is a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips into a fine liquid. Wait for the mixture to cool a bit and become spreadable. Now just pick up your cookies and fill them on the bottom and stick them together. We gobbled up a few while the cookies were cooling down. So we were down by a few by the time the filling started. Again.