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It really is beginning to look like Christmas!
We’re in the middle of a 3-day winter storm that promises to bring us multiple inches of snow which is currently being blown about in a very festive fashion. Which is good, because we are under a bit of pressure here.
Due to the nature of our older son-in-law’s job, it is rare that he can get off enough days at Christmas for them to come here for the holiday, but this year is an exception. They live in northern NY, so you can pretty much figure on a white Christmas when we go there. And this year, our younger daughter, her husband and our newest grandbaby live close enough to make it home. They have lived in Georgia for the past 5 years or so, where snow is a pretty rare thing. So, with everyone coming here, we really need to produce a white Christmas!
We aren’t exactly in the south, you know – we are still in Upstate NY, after all, but that is no guarantee. We are getting out the sleds and making sure we have plenty of spare hats and mittens, but the weather here has been warm at the end of December before, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
With all of that company coming, we are going to need lots of cookies! Even the more health-minded among us seem to let their guard down over the holidays and dip into the cookie supply multiple times a day. And these particular cookies are not such a bad choice anyway. They do have a lot of butter in them, but also a pretty high percentage of hazelnuts which are high in protein, and then you dip them in melted dark chocolate which, as we all know is an essential way to get plenty of antioxidants.
Well… it’s essential to me anyway.
This is a great recipe for the busy holiday season, because you can get them mixed up ahead of time, and then bake them later on when you have a little spare time – I always like that in any cookie recipe. You could also get them baked off, and then do the chocolate dippy thing a day or two ahead. You can freeze the baked cookies, but once they are dipped, you will want to eat them in 4 or 5 days.
Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- 1 & 1/4 cup peeled roasted hazelnuts, divided
- 1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter softened
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar well packed
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted
- Place 1 cup of the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor, and add the flour.
- Pulse until nuts are finely chopped - don't just let the processor run, as the oils in the nuts may cause it to clump if they get heated by constant processing.
- Add the cornstarch and salt, and pulse a few more times to combine well.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is fluffy and light.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Beat in flour mixture, just until combined.
- Divide the dough into 3 parts, and form each part into a log. Wrap separately in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours or up to a couple of days. The dough can also be frozen at this point, and then thawed in the fridge for a day.
- When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350º, and line heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With a sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices, and lay them out on the lined baking sheets, leaving an inch or so between them.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
- When the cookies are cool, chop the remaining 1/4 cup of nuts finely. Dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate, and then sprinkle with a pinch of the nuts. Lay the cookies back on the cooling rack until the chocolate is dry and set.
- Store between layers of parchment in a tightly sealed container, at room temperature for up to a week.
Here we go – all ready for hungry holiday snackers!If you are looking for last minute gifts, I would suggest these great heavy baking sheets, which any cook on your Christmas list would love: Chicago Metallic Commercial Baking Sheet Pans.
This is my favorite parchment paper: If You Care Unbleached Parchment Paper [this is a 4-pack box, so you could use them individually as stocking stuffers if you like]
The Creekside Cook’s Christmas Cookie Collection
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