If you’re a fan of ferrero rochers or nutella, you’re going to loooove these cookies. I mean, “did I just eat three cookies in five minutes?” kind of love. They’re SO flavorful and the texture has that perfect balance between slight crispy on the outside and nice and chewy in the center. To be honest they might put your favorite classic chocolate chip cookie out of business for awhile because this dough is stellar enough on its own.
To get to this recipe formula I started working with this small batch peanut butter cookie recipe of mine. I kept most of the things the same but I knew that I wanted a full batch (doubled it), didn’t want to fuss with separating eggs, and I wanted them to spread more than the peanut butter ones (hence the slight increase in granulated sugar). I first tried it with some store-bought cashew butter but didn’t find the taste particularly wonderful.
With hazelnut butter though, buttery and nutty while also being completely strong and sweet in the best way – damn.
It’s really best to use blanched hazelnuts to make the butter, that way you won’t have to fuss with the skin on the nuts. The skin will turn the nut butter a bit more powdery and the cookies a bit more crumbly.
If you can’t find blanched, you can attempt to remove the skin yourself: after toasting and while still hot, shake the nuts in a large jar or rub them together in a tea towel. The friction helps remove some of the skin. I’ve never been able to get all of the skin off with this method but I probably wasn’t patient enough.
Also – don’t use roasted! We’re going to coax the flavor out ourselves by toasting it so it’s nice and fresh to make the butter.
We’re going for equal amounts of nut butter and dairy butter which is going to make these cookies very rich and well, buttery. No need to soften it, and when melting be careful not to lose any of it to sputtering.
We’re doing a mix of brown sugar (great flavor, gives cookies a good chewy texture) and granulated sugar (flavor but also provides lots of structure). If you wanted to reduce either slightly, I’d say reduce the granulated bearing in mind the cookie will be slightly dryer and spread less.
I use KAB which has a protein content of 11%. If you use a brand with a lower protein content the cookies will be a tad softer and spread more. Higher protein like bread flour will mean denser cookies and less spread.
Because I associate hazelnuts so much with nutella and ferrero rochers, I chopped up some milk chocolate and it is truly *such* a good match here. But if you don’t want cookies that are too sweet, aim for a darker chocolate.
These cookies will be fine with either a chopped up bar or chocolate chip cookies. Just use something you enjoy eating!
Spread them on a baking sheet so they are in one layer. I like to use a rimmed cookie sheet.
They only need about ten minutes in the oven, but get in there halfway and shake the pan so they can toss a bit and heat evenly.
We’re doing this because when raw, the hazelnuts aren’t particularly flavorful. Toasting them draws that out and in this particular case, gets them ready to be processed into a paste.
While they are still warm, the nuts are fairly easy to grind. A few minutes into the food processor will turn them into bits, bigger than granules of sand – I’d say they’ll be about the size of turbinado sugar.
Scrape down several times to make sure the blades are not working with air. Eventually it’ll start to clump into a big lump of partial paste but still mostly tiny bits.
You’ll keep going after you get to the point of of the big clump, until the processor is working smoothly through the butter.
But don’t stop yet – keep going for a few more minutes. You want it almost like soup, very pourable. You want to have extracted as much ‘butter’ from the nuts as possible. See the video for how it should look.
Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last a month!
You can spread it on toast, it’s lovely! Although in this case I’d add a pinch of salt to it, some vanilla and some sugar to sweeten it a bit.
But it also works great as a peanut butter substitute in many recipes.
Chilling is going to do a few things for this dough:
Yes – make it and give it that hour rest at room temperature. Then scoop the dough balls onto a plate or tray and freeze them for 10 minutes, until solid. At this point you can toss the balls into a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.
If you are baking from frozen you’ll want to add a couple of minutes to the overall bake time.
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