Monday, July 18, 2011
Most evenings, it cools off enough that putting something into the oven for a little while isn't a big deal. Sure, you might not want to roast a turkey, but a little batch of cookies is no problem.
The nice thing about these hazelnut cookies is that they're designed to be baked from the refrigerator. So you can make the dough whenever you like, refrigerate it, and bake when it's cool enough, whether it's that evening or a few days later.
Slice-and-bake cookies aren't the prettiest things you can make. But here's the secret: instead of slicing and baking, you can scoop out small balls of dough and flatten them instead.
These cookies aren't terribly sweet, so if that's your preference you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar after you bake them, or drizzle them with a little chocolate. Or, if you're feeling really decadent, make sandwich cookies with chocolate-hazelnut spread in the middle.
Besides the hazelnuts, I used a bit of hazelnut extract along with the vanilla. If you don't have hazelnut extract (and who does, besides me?) use all vanilla.
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chop the hazelnuts finely - a food processor is ideal, or you can do this by hand, if you prefer.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it is light. Add the vanilla and continue beating until it is thoroughly combined.
Form the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or longer, if it's more convenient.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the log into disks about 1/4 inch thick and arrange them on the cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees until the cookies are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Cool completely on a rack.