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Friday
Apr152011

hedgehog cookies

These cookies might be the best I've ever invented.  I started in my kitchen just with the idea of wanting to mix hazelnut and chocolate, but without whole chunks of nuts which just get in the way of a good chewy cookie.  This is what I came up with, and they are amazingly chewy, chocolately, and taste just like hazelnut truffles.  And as usual they don't have refined sugar or white flour.  Yes, it is possible, just follow along...

ingredients:

  • 1 cup soft margarine (I use olive oil Becel) or butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups turbinado cane sugar (turbinado is really fine grain cane sugar, though in the US they seem to mislabel large grain cane sugar as such which does not bake the same... so look for fine grain cane sugar)
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted & skins removed
  • 2 cups whole grain pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder (not dutch process, regular cocoa powder)
  • 2 cups No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips 

you will need: 

  • 4 cup liquid measuring cup
  • wooden spoons
  • food processor
  • heavy bottomed frying pan
  • cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring cups & spoons 

The first thing you’ll want to do is let your margarine (or butter) reach room temperature.  I always use olive oil margarine in baking, it’s healthier & doesn’t have all the nastiness that margarines of old did.  To measure soft margarine (or peanut butter) you measure by using water displacement.  If you’ve never done this before get a 4 cup liquid measuring cup and fill it with 2 cups of water.  Add in the soft margarine a spoonful at a time, making sure it’s completely submerged under the water.  When the measurement has increased so the water is now reading “3 cups” you know that you’ve got 1 cup of margarine.  Holding the margarine back with a spoon drain the water out thoroughly.

While your fat is reaching room temperature you’ll need to toast your hazelnuts.  This is one of the most finicky parts of making these delicious cookies.  You want to toast the whole nuts to released the oils & flavours in them because later you’re going to make them into a nut butter.  Put the whole nuts, skins and all, in a dry, heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat.  You want to lay them out so that each nut is touching the pan.  Keep a close eye on them and give the pan a toss every few minutes so that none of them burn.  Continue to toast until the skins start to crack and peel off of each hazelnut. 

Remove the hazelnuts to a plate lined with paper towel, they will be really hot so be careful.  Give them a couple of minutes to cool, but while they are still warm rub them between to kitchen towels to get the skins to peel off.  Sort through the nuts afterwards and using your fingers only remove any of the leftover skins.

Allow the hazelnuts to cool completely.  Place the toasted and now skinless hazelnuts in a food processor.  Pulse the food processor until the nuts start to turn into a butter.  You’ll need to scrape down the sides as you do this to ensure everything is really mixed in.  When you’ve reached a nut-butter like consistency stop mixing.

By now your margarine or butter should have reached room temperature.  Add your margarine, sugar & molasses into a mixing bowl and cream together.  Next add in your 2 eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add in your hazelnut butter that you’ve made and mix completely.  Next add in your whole grain pastry flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.  Stir carefully until it a cookie dough is formed.  Add in your 2 cups of chocolate chips and stir once more to distribute them evenly.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

If you used butter instead of margarine, you might want to pop your batter in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  The slight cooling of the batter will prevent the cookies from spreading out too much when you bake them which is often the effect of using butter in your cookies

Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper (this keeps the cookies soft on the bottom and chewy).  Using a spoon or a cookie baller, drop cookie batter onto the sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 12-15 minutes.

Makes about 48 cookies.

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