Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Better Than Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Still working my way through that bag of blanched hazelnuts, so when I went to bake some cookies for a party yesterday, instead of making peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey kisses, I made these: Hazelnut thumbprints filled with Nutella, piped with a pastry bag to look just like Hershey Kisses. Here's the recipe:

1 ½ cups skinned hazelnuts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the nuts in a food processor and chop fine. Don’t over-process. Combine the flour, salt, and ground nuts in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour and nut mixture until just combined.
4. Scoop up a scant tablespoonful of dough and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Press each cookie with the back of a small measuring spoon to make a thumbprint.
5. Bake the cookies until they are lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes. Let them stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then carefully slide the entire parchment with the cookies from the pan to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
6. Fill each cookie indentation with a scant teaspoon of Nutella.

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