Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hazelnut Nutella Thumbprints

Many times I've found myself, spoon in hand, going in for a second (ok...fourteenth?) spoonful of that chocolatey hazelnutty goodness that is Nutella, and I've thought to myself.  If only there was a way to class-up one of my favorite activities; straight up shoveling shocking quantities of Nutella into my face.

Well happy news, problem solved.

If you're not familiar with thumbprint cookies, they're most commonly seen (in my experience) in some sort of sugar cookie/shortbread form, filled with jam.  And while the old-school way of making them is wonderful and has a special place in my heart (I'm looking at you, Grandma Ginger), after seeing and tasting these little'll never look back.

Hazelnut-crusting things is a sure-fire way to class up your cookie.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Hazelnut Nutella Thumbprints
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp instant espresso
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread the hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes, stirring three times.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before placing nuts in a clean dish towel and rubbing vigorously to remove skins.  Once skins are remove, finely chop hazelnuts and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). 

Place egg yolks in a small cup and stir in espresso powder until combined.  Add the egg mixture to the butter.  Add the vanilla and beat well.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture all at once, and beat on low until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and knead 5 to 6 times, until smooth.  Divide the dough into 28 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If your oven isn't preheated, preheat it to 350.

Roll each ball of dough along one side in the hazelnuts.  Place on cookie sheet with bare side up, and press thumb into the cookie to make an indentation.  Place cookies about 1 inch apart from each other.  

Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove cookies from the pan, allowing them to cool completely on wire racks. Once cooled, spoon about 1/2 tsp of nutella into the center of each cookie.  

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