The Cookie Jar: Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

For my annual holiday baking, I tried out yet another cookie from epicurious.com’s holiday cookie list: Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies. I don’t really have a lot of “in process” pictures, so I’ll just give you some of my thoughts.

Here’s the official photo from Gourmet Magazine:

Beautiful. And the finished product from the home cook comes out looking just like it:

To get the uniformed look, I used a spring loaded melon ball scooper. Though they came out looking beautifully, I was disappointed with the taste: The cookie involves grinding up toasted hazelnuts in the food processor, which gives it a great texture, but the smoky flavor was off putting. I should have figured that before I made them, but I was looking to try something different. If you like the taste of smoky, toasted hazelnuts, then you’ll probably enjoy this very much. I did not. It still went into my holiday cookie boxes because the batter made so darn many of them, but they weren’t my favorite.

The cookie is pretty straight forward and difficult to screw up. I did put my dough into the refrigerator and left it overnight, but I just let it sit out for a couple of hours the next day, until it was easily scoopable – chilled and firm, yet easy to mold into a ball. The balls of dough were rolled through a heavy dosage of powdered sugar and then baked. As they baked, the cookie spread, giving it the “crinkled” look. I only wish the taste lived up to the look.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies
Courtesy of Gourmet

2/3 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet
chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Make dough:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan in oven until skins split and nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (turn oven off), then wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove any loose skins. Cool nuts completely. Pulse nuts with granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.

Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Form and bake cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and chill 1 half, wrapped in plastic wrap. Roll remaining half into 1-inch balls, placing them on a sheet of wax paper as rolled. Roll balls, 3 or 4 at a time, in confectioners sugar to coat generously and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.

Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centers are still slightly soft), 12 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies (still on parchment) to racks to cool completely.

While first batch is baking, roll remaining dough into balls. Line cooled cookie sheets with fresh parchment, then coat balls with confectioners sugar and bake in same manner.

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