Friday, December 23, 2011

Kitchen Adventure: Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints

I'm a sucker for any nut butter combined with chocolate. You name it, I love it. Chocolate peanut butter spread? The devil! I'll eat it straight out of the container with a spoon. Chocolate hazelnut spread? Same problem. Chocolate almond spread? I've never purchased it but I'm afraid it would meet the same end as the aforementioned chocolate nut butters.  Given my adoration for chocolate nut butters, it should come as no surprise that I've wanted to make these cookies for a couple of years now. It was quite a pleasant surprise to receive two packets of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in my Foodzie box this month because it gave me the opportunity to make them:
Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints
Adapted from Cooking Light, December 2009

1/4 cup hazelnuts, very finely chopped and toasted
4.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. instant espresso or coffee granules
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup chocolate- hazelnut spread (such as Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter blend)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Chop and toast the hazelnuts. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Stir with a whisk until combined.
3. In a small bowl, combine the yolks and espresso/coffee granules. Whisk with fork until coffee is thoroughly incorporated.
4. Using either a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to the butter and beat until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix at low speed until a ball forms. NOTE: This might actually take a little bit of time. I was worried at first when my "dough" looked like coarse sand but given a little more mixing it finally came together.
6. When the dough has formed a ball, turn the dough out onto a piece of wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Knead the dough until it's smooth and shiny. Portion the dough out into 21 balls.
7. Roll each ball in the chopped hazelnuts and place 1" apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Using your thumb, gently indent the center of each ball.
8. Bake for 10 minutes. NOTE: When I removed my cookies from the oven, they'd lost their indentation in the center, so I used a 1/2 tsp. and gently pressed the centers down again before the cookies could cool.
9. When the cookies are cool, fill each one with a bit of chocolate hazelnut spread.
10. Enjoy!
Oopsy, one's missing from the center.  I've simply got no
idea where that went. *brushes crumbs off apron*

What's your favorite kind of nut butter? Do you eat it out of the container with a spoon?