fat free opinions on a food centric life

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

The math isn’t exactly challenging:  12 cookies in 12 days; this is December 11th; tomorrow is the last day; and I have posted five cookies.  Five.  Bear in mind that I’ve made eight, and have dough for a ninth sitting in the fridge just waiting for several hours of time so that I can play my favorite holiday music, spread out my materials, and decorate cookies.  Trust me when I say that time between the hours of 6 and 10 p.m. does not count as an available chunk.  Once upon a time I could have been extremely productive at that time of day, but no longer.  It’s easy to conclude then that I will be engaging more in a month of cookies, or something like that.  And perhaps I’ll throw in a holiday bread or two.  Maybe.

Nevertheless, here are my Hazelnut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which not only look like ordinary chocolate chippers, they taste like ordinary chocolate chippers.  That isn’t a bad thing if you’re me, because chocolate chip cookies will always be my favorite cookie even though I’d never consider it a holiday cookie.

I had hazelnuts in the pantry, so decided to make my own hazelnut butter for these.  It’s not complicated if you have a Cuisinart, 10 minutes, and don’t mind telling your neighbors to prepare for the sound of nuts clacking crazily against plastic.

Hazelnut-Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy unsalted hazelnut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 112-ounce package semisweet mini chocolate chips (2 cups)

The directions can be found here.

  • There are several “recipes” for hazelnut butter to be found on line.  I chose one after comparing several.  If you’re used to natural peanut butter, then you know that the consistency isn’t anything like Skippy Super Chunk.  The oil does separate from the nut meat and the mixture needs to be stirred before using.  I chilled mine for about 30 minutes before I used it in the recipe and had only a couple of tablespoons left from the batch I made after making the cookie dough.
  • I looked for mini-chocolate chips.  I swear I did.  I couldn’t find them, so went with Guittard’s baking chips which are actually quite large.  Tasty, too, if you’re a dark chocolate lover.
  • On the dough:  It’s a bit odd in its consistency.  The texture is somewhat oily and it acts like it doesn’t want to hold together very well, so I did make balls with semi-chilled dough, and they baked nicely for the required time of 12 minutes without much spread.  They do benefit from the cooling time as they tend to fall apart if you handle them at all right from the oven.  When completely cooled, keep them in a well-sealed plastic bag at room temperature.
  • For what it’s worth, outside of the novelty of making my own nut butter (and I do love hazelnuts) regular chocolate chip cookies are just fine by me.  I will admit that there is a healthier element to these as the nut butter replaces some butter.
  • I sampled the hazelnut butter on toast with honey and it was wonderful.  The roasty flavor of the nuts truly comes through.  There is so little sugar in the mix that if you’re someone who truly enjoys sweet peanut butter, you may have a different opinion about this.
  • To make the nut butter:  Roast the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread 2 cups nuts in a single layer on a jellyroll pan.  Roast for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.  When they’re done, the skin should be cracked and peeling, with the meat beneath beginning to turn gold.  Allow to cool briefly, then process in the Cuisinart for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and with the motor running, add 1/4 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. sugar.  Allow to process continuously for 7 minutes.  Scrape into a bowl and chill for 30 minutes before adding to the cookie recipe.


Hazelnut Butter

Don’t forget to check out my fellow cookie bakers this holiday season.  Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Courtney of Coco Cooks, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining who are all returning this year, and Michelle of Big Black Dog, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Renee of Flamingo Musings, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project who will be joining us this year.  A special nod goes to Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes who started the group last year, but cannot join in on the craziness this year.