Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Cookies 2011

Hazelnut Yumminess!
Yes, I'm a little late with my Christmas cookie post. Fashionably late, perhaps? No, probably not. I'm sure everyone is tired of Christmas cookies by now. But I'm here now to share my Christmas cookie creations of 2011.

The first cookie is inspired by the Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies that I made last year. I'm not a huge fan of pecans, but what I do love are hazelnuts. I thought if I swapped out the pecans for hazelnuts, that I would have a delicious Nutella-flavored cookie. And I was right. With the first bite into this creation, I was in love. We all know about my Nutella addiction, so it's pretty clear why these cookies were a hit with me. They also seemed to be a bit of a hit at work. And because they remind me of Ferrero Rochers,I am naming these little guys Rocher Cookies.

The other cookies is a hazelnut thumbprint cookie, using some of my mom's homemade Blackberry Port Jam (which, on its own, is amazing). I found a recipe online and it worked perfectly. The result was a crispy, buttery, hazelnutty, jammy cookie. It would be perfect with tea. I think my mom's jam paired rather nicely with the hazelnuts in this cookie. For the recipe, see this blog; note: I followed the recipe using hazelnuts and did not use almond extract. Almond extract is the devil.

They taste better than they look...
Rocher Cookies
adapted from The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup ground roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and CocoaPinch of salt

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa

To make the cookies, in a large bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, hazelnuts, ground chocolate, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until well blended.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls (I used a 1-inch scoop). Place the balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are firm to the touch. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack.

To make coating, sift powdered sugar and ground chocolate into a shallow bowl. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the coating.


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