Every so often, I am confronted by what I deem to be the tastiest cookie ever invented, which features hazelnuts and chunks of white chocolate as its main ingredients. Usually, this cookie appears in a display case as an alternative to the more pedestrian yet more popular milk chocolate chip cookie. And happily, the run on cookies made with milk chocolate chips usually means there's an ample supply of my preferred cookie.
Oddly, I had never baked hazelnut and white chocolate cookies because my immediate family members don't like white chocolate. Then I realized that some of my students share my infatuation with this cookie and set about finding a recipe.
This detailed recipe is from Judy Rosenberg's "Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book." Despite the cumbersome title and the overly complicated and exacting instructions in many of its recipes, this cookbook has yielded some impressive treats over the years.
The following recipe is for a drop-style cookie, which may be a Valentine's option for someone who doesn't like darker chocolates.
Hazelnut & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups skinned toasted hazelnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
6 ounces (1 cup) coarsely chopped white chocolate or whole white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment, or grease them lightly with vegetable oil. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a small bowl and set aside.
Coarsely chop 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts and set aside.
Place the remaining 3/4 cup hazelnuts and the 2 tablespoons melted butter in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms a crumbly paste, about 30 seconds. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, both sugars and the vanilla together until blended, 30 seconds. Stop once during the process to scrape the bowl. Add the hazelnut butter mixture and beat on medium speed until blended, 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Add the egg and continue to beat on medium speed until blended, 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost blended, 20 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Then add the reserved chopped nuts and the white chocolate, and mix for 3 seconds. Finish the mixing by hand. Drop the dough by generously rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Using the prongs of a form, press each cookie down lightly, making a criss-cross pattern.
Bake the cookies until they are firm and lightly golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheets.
Makes about 55 cookies.