Monday, January 20, 2014

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Once upon a time, I didn’t like hazelnuts. As far as nuts are concerned, almonds have always been my absolute favourite! Hazelnuts were just the occasional guest-star in some chocolate, most of the time accompanied by raisins (mmm…). I have to admit I still have a bit of a problem with Nutella, though. Too much hazelnut-y is definitely not for me.
This is why the following recipe calls for half a cup whole, raw hazelnuts (about 60 gr.) which then get roughly ground and incorporated in the dough to give it lovely crunchiness! Combined with two kinds of chocolate – milk and dark, and substituting some of the butter for cream cheese, this recipe makes the loveliest velvety cookies in the whole world! I chose to make them bigger this time, so that they could be soft and the chocolate inside could stay half-melted for longer, making them chewy and moist, perfect for a foggy day in Sofia.

If you decide to make them only with milk chocolate, you might have to cut down on the amount of sugar if you don’t like too sweet. Alternatively, if you choose only dark chocolate, it would be a good idea to put 1/3 or even 1/2 cup sugar instead of 1/4.

Here I have used store-bought dark chocolate chips (65% cocoa) and chopped Milka chocolate bar as I was too lazy to go look for milk chocolate chips. ;) Also, I got a little creative with the decoration.
So, here’s the recipe.

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

You need:
2 1/4  cups (280 gr) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup (170 gr.) butter, at room temp
1/4 cup (60 gr.) cream cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup (50 gr.) sugar
1 cup (220 gr.) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR one Dr. Öthker butter vanilla  
2 large eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips OR chopped dark chocolate (150 gr.)
1 cup milk chocolate chips OR chopped milk chocolate (150 gr.)
1/2 cup whole raw hazelnuts (60 gr.)

You do:

1.      Preheat oven to 180o and line a baking tray with parchment.
2.      In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
3.      Pulse the hazelnuts a couple of times in a food processor or a chopper until roughly ground.
4.      In a large bowl (you could use either a mixer or a whisk), beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each one, until well incorporated.
5.      Add the flour and stir until everything is well mixed together.
6.      Add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and mix.
7.      Refrigerate for about half an hour. Then take out and with the help of an ice-cream scoop or two spoons, make balls of the dough (about the size of a table tennis ball) and place on the baking tray at least 10 cm apart, pressing them slightly with the spoon.
8.      Bake for about 12-15 mins, until golden brown around the edges.

These chewy hazelnut-y cookies are best enjoyed with a cup of warm milk with cinnamon and honey.

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