Monday, 11 February 2013

Roasted Hazelnut and White Chocolate Cookies

I'm not one to normally insist on specific ingredients but occasionally I simply must. You can pre-buy roasted hazelnuts and they are fine for many things, but this time they just won't do. It is an understatement to say the minimal effort of roasting and chopping them yourself is worth it. The depth of flavour is sublime, ambrosial even and when combined with the other ingredients the result is a cookie unlike any you will have tried before. To prepare the hazelnuts, used blanched whole ones (you can get them in the supermarket) and place them in a hot oven for a few minutes until golden brown, then when cool roughly chop, or blitz for (literally) a couple of seconds. Easy!

Prep time: 15 Mins (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 13-14 Mins
150g White Chocolate
100g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
100g Light Muscovado Sugar
1 Medium Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Ground Almonds
100g Roasted Hazelnuts (Roughly Chopped)
75g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder

First up is the chocolate. Melt 100g of the white chocolate in the microwave or over a bain-marie. Whilst it's melting roughly chop the other 50g of white chocolate and leave to one side.

Once the chocolate is melted you can start on the cookie dough. Cream together the butter and sugar then mix in the melted chocolate until evenly combined. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla extract. Fold through the ground almonds, then do the same with both the hazelnuts and 50g of chopped chocolate. Sift in the flour with the baking powder and mix together to a stiff batter. Lay out a large rectangle of cling film, then spoon the cookie dough mixture into the middle. Wrap up tightly and place in the fridge for a couple of hours (even overnight), until firm.

I bake my dough in 3 batches as I can only trust one shelf of my oven, so if you're like me preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Unwrap the chilled dough, break off pieces and roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place evenly spaced on the baking paper, making sure they each have room to spread. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until pale golden in the middle and just starting to darken at the edges. When you're happy they're baked remove and carefully slide the baking paper onto a wire rack.

Repeat the process for the remainder of the dough. You should get 10-12 cookies out of this mixture. After they've cooled for about 30 minutes peel from the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Put the kettle on as it's time to eat them!

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