Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

It's oddly difficult to figure out where one cookie ends and the other begins.
Following two days of my attempted Harry Potter Vacation Detox, I relapsed into a sugar and chocolate haze(lnut). Given the success of my previous foray into low ingredient count desserts, I decided to break up the lack of fictional wizard monotony of the work week with some 3-ingredient cookies. Naturally, I altered the recipe to include one more ingredient because I still just can't trust these minimal recipes fully.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Adapted from Chilly Frosting
Soon, I would assert my dominance on the hazelnuts
Servings: 12-18 cookies
Time: 60 minutes

1 1/3 cup hazelnuts
2/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 egg whites
A pinch of salt
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

I was still highly skeptical of this nut and sugar batter.
Double boiler!
  1. Read ingredients and wonder why no one ever counts salt when they're making these "3"-ingredient recipes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  3. Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet for 13-15 minutes or until fragrant and lightly golden brown.
  4. Remove the now loose skins and let cool.
  5. Drop the oven temperature to 300 F.
  6. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor to a coarse consistency.
  7. Beat the egg whites using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
  8. Lightly fold the hazelnut and sugar into the egg whites until a batter forms.
  9. Drop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in ~ tbsp sized amounts about 1- 1/2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then carefully transfer to a wire rack. The cookies and bottoms may crack.
  12. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  13. Dip the cookies in once they've cooled. Place them on parchment paper in the fridge for at least half an hour to let the chocolate set.
The cookies looked sadly plain...
For a recipe that involved so few ingredients, this was surprisingly labor intensive (peeling/shelling nuts individually continues to be my least favorite baking activity alongside zesting citrus). As expected, the rich toasted hazelnut taste and sugar dominated the flavor of this cookie (seriously, don't forget to toast the nuts). This combo resulted in a crispy outside and an intriguing soft, chewy inside. In an attempt to not be overwhelmed by the sugar bomb, I used some semi-sweet chocolate (but I would recommend darker varieties for full effect). This extra step was worth it because the chocolate really helped balance things out and made these plain cookies look even more amazing. If you wanted to make these simple cookies even more complex, I'd recommend incorporating some nutella or a hint of espresso into the chocolate dip.

...which chocolate always cures!
Luckily, I was able to stop myself after just two cookies and save the rest for my coworkers. Going cold turkey with candy just wasn't as successful as I had hoped.

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