Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until finely ground.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl (I use an electric stand mixer, but a bowl with a hand mixer works just as well), mix the butter and granulated sugar together on low speed until they are just combined.  Stir in the vanilla plus 2 teaspoons of water.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the flour slowly to the butter mixture.  Then add the hazelnuts and mix on low until the dough comes together.  Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, cut the dough in half and roll each piece 1/4 inch thick.  Cut 36 (2 3/4 inch) rounds with a cookie cutter.  Ue a 3/4 inch cutter to cut a small circle out of the middle of half of the cookies.  Place all the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake for 20 to 2 minutes, rotating pan in the oven once, until the edges of the cookies begin to brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Spread the Nutella thickly on the flat sde of each solid cookie.  Then place the flat side of the cookie with the hole in it on top of the nutella.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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