Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Spiced Cookies

As Halloween approaches, many of my friends are talking about their favorite Halloween candy. How is it that a day captures our imagination so much? I really like Halloween, even though I am not one for parties and I can never think of that perfect costume. I can always be a ballerina (not much of a stretch since I dance) or a graduate (I’ve graduated from many schools) but neither of those is all that creative. I still love Halloween. I love the candy. I swear I love candy more now as an adult than I did as a kid.

So what’s your favorite Halloween candy? I love 100 Grand Bars. I also love that I can get
vanilla tootsie rolls at Halloween, since they are impossible to find the rest of the year. (Find these is you’ve never had them.) My all time favorite candy is from England, these green triangles that come in the Quality Street chocolates. I love them and luckily there are a few British stores around here that sell them. The green triangles are chocolate and hazelnut. I love chocolate and hazelnut together. I look for this combination whenever I can and I found this recipe through the Epicurious iphone application.

You make the dough for these cookies in a food processor, which I think is super easy and convenient. Just process everything together and go! The take a relatively long time to bake, since the ground hazelnuts primarily act as the “flour” in the dough. They don’t look all that different when they come out of the oven, so you just have to trust that they are done. The icing comes together in a snap, too.

They look rugged and maybe like they might be tough, but they aren’t at all. They are wonderfully chewy and the flavors blend together so well. The orange flavor is pronounced but the spice is just there in the background. They aren’t too sweet, just chewy and rich. These aren’t the prettiest cookies you might come across but they are sure good to eat. They don’t get stale very quickly and the flavors blend together as they age.

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Place the hazelnuts, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the butter and the orange zest and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the orange juice and liqueur and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. It will still be crumbly.

Form tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and slightly cracked. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Make the icing while the cookies cool.

To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon the icing on to the top of the cooled cookies.

Recipe from Epicurious, via their iphone application

1 comment:

Jules Someone said...

I love Quality Street candy! I look for it in the winter at Cost Plus.