Happy Hazelnut Heaven

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

I love nuts.

Macadamias, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts – I adore them all. Whilst I enjoy munching on a handful of raw nuts as a quick energy boost throughout the day, my passion for them really comes through when it comes to cooking and baking with them.

What this means is that as I continue to trawl through the food blogging world, if I come across a sweet, nutty recipe then 9 times out of 10 the recipe will be bookmarked, printed and handwritten into a scrapbook.

Hazelnuts

That is, in fact, exactly what happened when I came across this recipe from the blog Cafe Fernando. WOW! Talk about being blown away, I was smitten from the first page and lost a few hours as I scrolled through page after page, bookmarking recipes as fast as my mouse-toting fingers could handle. And whilst there were quite a few I was determined to make, it was the recipe for coffee hazelnut cookies (an adaptation from a recipe in Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert) that had me racing for the freezer and my stash of hazelnuts.

Whilst I found some of the instructions a bit difficult to keep with and had to add more butter in order to work the incredibly sandy dough, the end result were wonderful crisp, buttery, nutty cookies that had a wonderful almost shortbread-like texture and were absolutely perfect as a sweet bite to accompany a cup of tea (since I don’t drink coffee…but by all reports from others that partook, they were magical with coffee too!)

So, got a hold of some hazelnuts? Then what are you waiting for? :)

Hazelnut cookies

Coffee Hazelnut Cookies
(adapted from Cafe Fernando)

Ingredients
2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
1 cup hazelnuts, whole
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp finely ground roasted coffee beans (plus 45 whole beans for decoration…if you have them)
220g cold unsalted butter, cut into walnut-sized pieces
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Grind together hazelnuts, sugar and salt in a food processor till the hazelnuts are finely ground, then add the flour and ground coffee and pulse till evenly mixed.

2. Add the butter and pulse till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs or (if your food processor isn’t big enough like mine), rub the butter through the flour mix with your fingertips.

3. Drizzle in the vanilla extract and pulse or hand mix till the dough begins to form clumps. Mix so that the dough is well combined, then split the mixture in half and shape: either form two flat, round patties, or line a rectangular box with clingfilm and pack the mixture in (I used the box for my foil to do this)

4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and if you formed your dough into patties, roll out to 5-6mm thickness between two sheets of non-stick baking paper and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Alternatively, if you used a mold, carefully remove the dough and cut it into slices 5-6mm thick and place on a baking tray 5cm apart. Gently press a coffee bean into the centre of each cookie.

5. Bake for about 14-16 minutes, or till they begin to go golden around the edges. Remove baking sheet from the oven and cool cookies on the tray for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a month, but good luck getting them to last that long!

[tags]hazelnuts, nuts, cookies, sweets, dessert, baking, recipes[/tags]

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