Showing posts with label hazelnut cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hazelnut cookies. Show all posts

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hazelnut Cookies

This Christmas cookie recipe is one that my mother made every year when I was growing up.  In German, they're called Spritzgebäck. You might know them as Spritz Cookies.

They aren't difficult to make but you do need to have a large star tip and a pastry bag or a cookie press. They're most commonly seen in S-shapes or crescents. This recipe also includes finely ground hazelnuts, which is why you need the large star tip. Even if the nuts are very fine, they could clog anything smaller. While the original recipe does mention grinding them with a mortar and pestle, I find my handy dandy food processor or blender much faster and easier.

The chocolate dip isn't required at all. I dip about half of them because I like the chocolate. I think the chocolate also makes for a nice presentation. The original chocolate for dipping was made with cocoa powder and was a bit of a mess. I prefer simply melting chocolate chips. It's easier and tastes great!

Hazelnut Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup hazelnuts, finely ground

2/3 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating in between. Add the hazelnuts and beat.

Attach a large star tip to a cookie press or pastry bag. Load with the dough and press into crescents or S-shapes about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.

Move to a cooling rack immediately.  When cool, microwave the chocolate chips in 40 second bursts, stirring in between. Dip half the cookie in the chocolate. Dry on a rack with plastic wrap, aluminum foil or wax paper underneath to catch drips.

Grind the hazelnuts.

The dough will be a little stiff.

Cool on a rack.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our readers! May your holiday be full of joy, special moments, and the warmth and love of family and friends.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Linzer Cookies

Around here, Linzer cookies are among our very favorite Christmas treats. For years I've used the same recipe, but it was never quite right. So this year I experimented and made up my own recipe.

There are a lot of variables, starting with the nuts. People make them with hazelnuts, almonds or pecans. For some reason, I always associated them with hazelnuts, so that's what I went with. If you can't find them or you prefer other nuts, I'm sure they would work equally well.

As I perused recipes, I was amazed by the variety of ingredients people add. Some of the recipes didn't contain nuts at all! Others contained cocoa, baking powder, nutmeg or cloves.  I decided to keep it simple. The big flavor comes from the nuts and the jam, so why clutter it up?

Like a lot of Christmas cookies, this is a dough that needs to be refrigerated before you use it. You can make it ahead of time if you like, then bake the cookies a day or two later.

These cookies do come out of the oven looking a little bit pale, but that's okay. As you can see from the pictures, you really don't see much of them anyway.

Krista's Linzer Cookies
Makes approximately 24 2-inch cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup ground hazelnuts (about 7/8 cup whole hazelnuts)

6 ounces seedless raspberry jam
3/4 cup or so powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Roast whole hazelnuts for about 5-6 minutes until fragrant.
Reduce oven heat to 350. Grind the hazelnuts until fine.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the lemon and vanilla and beat. Combine the flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a fork and beat into the dough. Add the nuts and beat. The dough will be quite stiff.

Refrigerate the dough until it's easy to handle, or overnight.

Roll out the dough and cut with a cookie cutter. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies. Make sure you have the same amount of solid cookies as you do cut-out cookies. (Wise bakers might make a couple extra cut-out cookies in case one or two break.) Bake 8-10 minutes, until very lightly golden on the edges.

Cool on a rack. Place all the cut-out cookies on a rack over a piece of the used parchment paper. Sift powdered sugar over them.

Place a generous dab or two of raspberry jam on the solid cookies but not all the way to the edge. Top with cut-out cookies.

Store in the refrigerator with a sheet of waxed paper separating layers.

You won't need this many hazelnuts, but I went ahead and roasted more for other dishes.
Cut a couple extra for top cookies. They're fragile!

Sunny can't believe Santa Paws sneaked by her last year, 
so she's staked out a claim under the tree where she can't miss him!

From our house to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas
and a New Year full of joy, good health, good food, and good friends!