Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Toasted Hazelnut + Black Pepper Cocktail Cookies

I overdo it, I know. There are SO MANY recipes for cookies on the blog. But I love them! Just humor me and go ahead and put these in a new category: they're cocktail cookies, not too sweet, and they're meant to accompany a drink or maybe a nice glass of Cotes du Rhone.

So, why not treat these like crackers and eat them with cheese? An aged manchego or an aged brie will do the trick. I added some hazelnut oil we had on hand and am liking that kind of savoriness for an extra layer of flavor in baking. (Almond oil has that effect, too.) These are a good mix of salty and sweet. Note that I leave the skins of the hazelnuts on -- they add to the savory effect.

The idea for cocktail cookies, such as my favorite apricot-tarragon ones, seems to have been dreamt up by the lovely Dorie Greenspan. I highly recommend her recipe, which I linked to above. The combination tastes like nothing I've had before, and everyone who's tried them is at first wary but then completely surprised to fall in love with them.

Toasted Hazelnut + Black Pepper Cocktail Cookies
(Makes 2 dozen)

3/4 cup hazelnuts (chopped)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
cracked black pepper (about 7 turns of the mill)
+ more Maldon salt for topping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts for thirty seconds in the microwave. Jiggle them and toast them again for 30 seconds. Repeat more time, and set aside. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside. Cream the oil, butter, cream, and sugars. Add egg and vanillas and combine. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix. Add hazelnuts and stir them into the batter.

Portion cookie dough out into one-inch mounds with a small ice cream scoop or spoon. Place these onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Before baking, sprinkle cookies with a pinch of Maldon salt and smash them slightly with the palm of your hand to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until they are golden brown.


Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan said...

I love hazelnuts - this looks like the perfect treat next to my cocktail!

Unknown said...

Well, you learn something every day. I love the thought of anything with black pepper, but cocktail cookies with the hazelnuts and black pepper? Genius! Congrats regarding the publication of your book. Please keep us posted.



Tender B. said...

I am blown away. Cookies to accompany cheese and cocktails weren't something I ever thought I'd see.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Thanks, y'all! They are gone, and I want to make them again stat. Could. Not. Stop. Eating them.


Unknown said...

They look delicious. You might add Cayenne Pepper Shortbread to your cookie basket.