I admit that I’m on a bit of a hazelnut kick right now. I’ve eaten two bags of them at work over the past two weeks and I posted the hazelnut torte as part of My Italian Fantasy last weekend. I’ve never been known to go overboard on any one food for an extended period of time, but the crunch, the subtle sweetness, and the exotic-ness of them (does anybody remember them being called Filberts? At least here in the States?) keeps me coming back for more, at least until the next new ingredient obsession takes over.
And good news, rebels: we’re making headway on the gluten-free faction in the household. My wife succumbed to eating half a cookie despite knowing that there was flour (gasp!) in them. Maybe it was the chocolate coating, or maybe it was her latent desire to break free of this heresy and return to all that is tasty.
I’ve never made shortbread cookies in my life before this week. Whenever shortbread was offered as a choice, I always chose chocolate chip. This recipe helped me to come around to my senses. The cookies came out crisp and crumbly, with a pleasing sweetness and great flavor. I did end up roasting the hazelnuts myself and I think that added to the flavor. I got lucky and pulled them out just on the acceptable edge of doneness. I’d recommend roasting for 12 minutes and checking on them every minute after that.
I ended up doubling the recipe and making the same amount of cookies (about 20) as a single-batch test bake earlier in the week. I had a vision in my head of a thick cookie with a lush coating of chocolate on one side to increase the decadence factor. The bake time was only a little bit longer, maybe about 22-24 minutes, but monitor the degree of browning after 20 minutes and you should get something that resembles the pics seen here.
Like I said, I don’t often get an obsession for an ingredient like I have had for hazelnuts, but I’m glad I did this time around. Northern Italy has never been so close in my thoughts and sentiments and I have a new cookie selection to consider when out shopping. That is, when I’m too busy to whip up a batch on my own!