Homemade hazelnut butter gives these soft and chewy cookies a rich flavor, one that's best supported by a light drizzle of milk chocolate. If you'd rather not temper the chocolate, give it a rough chop and stir it into the finished dough instead; the results will be a little more homey in appearance, but they'll taste just as fancy.
Why It Works
- Freshly made hazelnut butter has more flavor than store bought, often at a fraction of the price.
- Creaming helps aerate the dough, reducing spread in the oven.
- Milk chocolate complements the hazelnut flavor without overpowering it.
- Yield:makes thirty-two 3 1/2-inch cookies
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 7 ounces whole hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (about 1 1/3 cups; 200g)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, pliable but cool, about 60°F (8 tablespoons; 115g)
- 10 1/2 ounces plain or lightly toasted sugar (about 1 1/2 cups, 295g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 ounce vanilla extract (1 tablespoon; 30g)
- 1 large egg, straight from the fridge
- 9 ounces all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal (about 2 cups, spooned; 255g)
- 6 ounces dark or milk chocolate, not chips (about 1 heaping cup, roughly chopped; 85g), tempered
Make the Dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). In the bowl of a food processor, grind hazelnuts to form a smooth and creamy paste. Combine hazelnut paste, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With mixer running, add egg and continue beating only until smooth. Reduce speed to low, add flour all at once, and mix to form a stiff dough. If not tempering the chocolate, fold chopped pieces into the dough now.
Portion the Dough: Divide in 2-tablespoon portions and round each one into a smooth ball. (Portioned dough can be refrigerated in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag up to 1 week, or frozen 6 months. Stand at room temperature until quite soft, about 70°F or 21°C, and proceed as directed.)
To Bake: Arrange portions on a parchment-lined half sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between cookies to account for spread. Bake until puffed and pale gold around the edges but steamy in the middle, about 12 minutes. Cool directly on baking sheet until crumb is set, about 5 minutes.
To Finish the Cookies: When the cookies have cooled to room temperature, drizzle with tempered milk chocolate. Once the chocolate has set, transfer to an airtight container with a sheet of wax or parchment paper between each layer and store up to a week at room temperature.