If the culprit for my college "Freshman 15" had to be named, it would be ridiculous amount of hazelnut lattes I consumed. When I lost the extra weight, I lost the taste for hazelnut flavoring and hazelnuts in general. Many many MANY years later, I saw this recipe and thought it could be a good test to see if the adult Tracy still liked hazelnuts---in moderation of course! And yes, thanks to this recipe, I still do. If I had to do college over again, I would have made these cookies weekly! I also wouldn't have lived with my roommate who was the mayor of PSYCHOVILLE for over 2 years, but we'll save that for another time.
These cookies are everything I look for in a cookie. They've got crispy crunchy edges with a nice chewy center. Such a great bite! No need to worry, the espresso flavor isn't too bold. It's like a light buttery hazelnut latte with a few crunchy toasted nuts every now and then. There's also a subtle hint of malt flavoring in them. I don't know where that came from, but I enjoyed it immensely.
A few more notes about these cookies-
-The description in the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavors Fast cookbook says that these cookies are more of an adult cookie. NOT TRUE. Eleven of the twelve cookies I gave to my neighbor were eaten by her children. Those kids saved ONE for their mom. How ROTTEN! Tell your kids that there's spinach in them. Get their paws away from your cookies. Eat them during their nap time or when they are down for the night. Hide them where you hide their Christmas presents! Seems Coop wanted to get his little fingers on them too... NO WAY!
-The scent that will fill your kitchen when you bake these resembles the smell of hot buttery pancakes served with a freshly brewed pot of coffee. Close your eyes and meditate on that one. Is there anything more comforting than that? NOPE.
-They aren't ridiculously sweet. Which is great! And that's probably one of the reasons they are considered an adult cookie. If you want something on the sweeter side and want to indulge yourself even more, add some chocolate chips. DO IT. I will if you do!
-Roasting the hazelnuts wasn't as hard and annoying as I thought it would be. The skins peel right off if you use the technique described in the recipe! The steaming in the dish towel trick is pretty cool.
Let's get started!
You lightly roast the hazelnuts in the oven first. They go into a dish towel to steam, when done.
Gather your ingredients for the cookie base.
Get yourself some instant espresso powder. It's great for baking and candy making.
Start by creaming your butter with sugars. I used dark brown sugar in this recipe instead of light.
Now add your espresso powder!
Whip it up and add one egg at a time. Mix!
Here's the de-skinning hazelnut process. The technique is described below. It's super easy.
Chop up the hazelnuts, so you have 2 cups total.
Mix the flour in with the wet ingredients.
And then mix in your nuts! Go nuts!
Drop them by rounded tablespoons onto your cookie sheet. Space them further apart than this. I had a few stick together...
And keep little baby hands off of your finished product. Kids hopped up on espresso? NOT GOOD.
Hazelnut Espresso Cookies
(recipe Everyday Food: Fresh Flavors Fast)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 2 cups (about 10 ounces) hazelnuts, skins removed, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a meduim bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in espresso powder.
- With mixer on low speed, beat in flour mixture until incorporated. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix in hazelnuts.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto three baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake, first two sheets together, until golden, about 12 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and from top to bottom halfway through. Repeat with remaining sheet. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve, or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.
To remove the skins of the hazelnuts:
Heat oven to 250 F degrees. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking pan. Toast in oven until the skins start to crack, about 15 minutes. Wrap hot hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and let steam for 5 minutes. Rub the hazelnuts with the kitchen towel until most of the skins have come off. It's OK if some are still on them. Discard skins