Everyone absolutely loved, loved, loved these adorable cookies. I used the recipe from Bon Appetit’s Special Edition “Essential Cookies.” I’ll just say that every cookie in this edition of the magazine looks amazing, and not just for the holidays but for any time of the year. I made these Crinkle Cookies and I also made Ultimate Sugar Cookies, which were equally as good.
I followed the recipe according to the magazine, however I did tweak it a little; you will notice the changes I made below in the ingredients list. I really love coffee in anything chocolate, so I added that to the recipe. I think it really enhanced the flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer.
These cookies are perfect for the holidays to enjoy at home, share with friends and neighbors, or give to your kids’ teachers. They pack beautifully in a cellophane bag. You will love them!
- 2/3 cups hazelnuts (use a bit extra–see explanation below)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 6 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), I used Ghirardelli –finely chopped
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 kosher salt
- 2 good pinches (about 1/8 tsp) instant espresso–optional
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk (I used 2% low fat and a little half and half; fill your 1/4 cup measure with the low fat milk but only up 2/3 of the way, then fill the rest with half and half)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 powdered sugar
- Place your oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 350º.
- Toast the hazelnuts in a rimmed baking sheet in the oven until skins split and the nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. I noticed that not all the nuts lose their skins so easily, so I ended up with a tiny bit less than 2/3 cup. I really didn’t want to return 10 nuts to the oven, and those few missing nuts did not take away from the flavor, but next time I will either add extra nuts to pan or cook them a couple of minutes longer.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. Rub each nut to remove the loose skins. I used the edge of the towel to rub off the skins. Cool the nuts completely. Then, place them in a food processor along with the granulated sugar and pulse until finely chopped, but not powdered. Set it aside.
- While the nuts are in the oven you can melt the chopped bitter-sweet chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Stir the chocolate until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and if using espresso powder add that as well.
- Using an hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla and mix again to incorporate. Reduce the speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in the nut mixture by hand with a wooden spoon.
- Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- To bake, place the rack in the center position of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350º. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.
- Using a small spoon, scoop the cookie dough and roll the dough in your hands to form balls that are around 1 1/2″ in circumference (almost like making a meatball). Place each ball into the powdered sugar to coat generously and then place the coated ball of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet, separating each cookie with 2″ in between. I coated 2-3 cookies at a time. I was able to fit 20 cookies on each cookie sheet, so I ended up with 40 cookies; I froze the remaining cookie dough.
- Place one pan in the oven, and cook for 15-18 minutes. While the first pan cooks, you can prepare the second pan. If you’ll be making the entire batch, you will repeat this. This is something else I changed from the magazine’s recipe. This seemed more practical to me. The magazine’s instruction is to place one sheet on the lower 1/3 of the oven and the second sheet on the upper 1/3, then switch them around half way through cooking. I don’t like to open the oven door while things are baking, so I preferred to bake one sheet at a time in the center rack. It worked out fine and cooked perfectly. Mine were ready at 15 minutes.
- Place the cookies on a cooling rack. If you’ll be preparing them as gifts in cellophane bags or boxing them, make sure they are completely cooled before pack them. They will keep for 5 days in an airtight container, at room temperature.