Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies, Who Could ask for More?

It’s been another bit of a break since my last post. I keep apologizing for the long breaks, but they’re going to keep happening for awhile. It just seems like baking it taking a back burner to other, more pressing concerns these days. I have done some cooking, but nothing really worth posting about. I’ll try to get better I promise. In those lines I may have a guest blogger joining me later in the week...

In the meantime, here are some awesome chocolate and hazelnut cookies. I got the recipe here, at Cookie Madness. The recipe calls for stuffing the cookies with nutella, which is always a good call, but to make things interesting I decided to fill half the cookies with dulce de leche. While the nutella was good, I thought the DDL was better, it contrasted a little more with the surrounding cookie, and so I was a little more aware of it. If you’re too lazy to make your own DDL (recipe is below), you can use store bought DDL, or barring that, you could probable just stick one of those Kraft caramel cubes in there. These cookies were really excellent though, and they make a pretty small batch, which has its advantages.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Lava Cookies

Makes 8

2 oz chopped hazelnuts plus about 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly spooned and leveled flour1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 teaspoons Nutella or Dulce de leche

1. Place the nuts and accompanying butter into a skillet over medium high heat. Cook until butter is melted and nuts are aromatic, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted at the chocolate, stir constantly until mixture is smooth, remove from heat and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a mixer (hand or stand mixer will work) combine the egg, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Stir in the cooked nuts.

4. Whisk together the flour and baking powder. Pour the flour over the batter, and stir together. Once dough is fully incorporated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop generous tablespoons of dough into balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Make a depression in each ball, and fill it with nutella or dulce de leche. Use more dough to cover the filling. (pictures below)

6. Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Remove and let cool on the sheet for 5-7 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.

Dough Balls
Depressions made


Dulce De Leche

If you’ve never made it before, dulce de leche is the easiest thing to make. Take a can of sweetened, condensed milk (not non-fat, I’ve tried and it tastes funny), and remove the label, as well as any glue. Submerge the can in water in a large pot, making sure the can is completely covered with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and let it boil for at least 2 hours*, checking every half an hour or so to add water (Important – Never let the water level dip below the can, if the can is not covered, it may explode!). Remove the can after two hours (using tongs), and place on a cooling rack. Let the can come to room temperature, when you open it, you will have dulce de leche.

*I’ve experimented with this, letting one can boil for up to four hours. The longer time you leave the can to boil, the darker and thicker the dulce de leche will get, and the more complex the flavor. It’s sort of fun to put 3 or 4 cans in one pot, and remove them at different times to compare. 2 hours is fine though, and makes a nice, light, milky dulce de leche.

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