Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
I had every intention of posting this delightful little number nearly a week ago, when it would’ve been some use to you for last weekend’s festivities. Then the chaos that is Valentine’s week in a bakery happened, and well, I sort of forgot about everything else.
Nonetheless, these are every bit as delicious as their name suggests. I’ve had them earmarked in December’s Cooking Light since, well, December, and when I finally got around to making them I was not disappointed. And they provided the excuse to buy Nutella, which every other food blogger on earth seems to love, and which I now love as well.
These cookies are rich, slightly dark, moist, and delicious. The shaping takes a little more time than I’m usually wont to put up with, but it’s totally worth it.
Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted*
1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.
Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. At this point my dough was a bit too soft to work with; if this happens to you, stick in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and you’ll be good to go. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.
*I used walnuts here — I had them on hand and they’re cheaper than hazelnuts anyhow. I imagine almonds or macadamia nuts would work equally well, so long as you chop them up!
High-Altitude Notes: Bake at 375ºF.