Monday, December 23, 2019

Chocolate Truffle Hazelnut Cookies

This recipe is adapted from the Mocha Truffle Hazelnut Cookies in my debut cookbook Scientifically Sweet: A Scientific & Delicious Approach to Artisan Baking.

The inspiration for them comes from a treat I always received each year at Christmas from my Nonna - Baci chocolates!

The construction of them is sort of a reverse Baci, and I toyed with calling them "Inside Out Baci Ball Cookies" when I was writing the book, but changed my mind last minute.

Instead of the hazelnut inside, I made a hazelnut cookie dough and wrapped it around a chocolate truffle filling, then rolled the cookie dough in roasted hazelnuts before baking. The dough is also infused with hazelnut liquor which carries the flavour THAT much further!

I adore these cookies because they are one of the first I ever developed featuring a classic flavour combination, but with a twist.

You can make the truffle ganache and the cookie dough in advance and assemble the cookies on another day to spread out the effort. They also freeze wonderfully after baked!

I hope you make them and add them to your cookie tray during the holidays. I know that your guests will all be surprised when they bite in to reveal a creamy dark chocolate filling!

Merry Christmas friends!

Chocolate Truffle Hazelnut Cookies
makes about 24 cookies

For the truffle filling:
4 oz (113g) semisweet chocolate (minimum 54% cocoa), finely chopped
¼ cup (60ml) 35% whipping cream
¾ tsp instant coffee granules

For the cookie dough:
1 ½ cups (215g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup (100g) whole roasted hazelnuts, ground finely and divided
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp (15ml) hazelnut or coffee liquor
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

To make the truffle filling, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine cream and instant coffee in a very small saucepan over medium-low heat and scald it so that it just barely comes to a boil. Immediately pour it over chopped chocolate and stir it around gently using a silicone spatula just to bring majority of the chocolate in contact with the hot cream. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes and then stir slowly starting in the center and working your way out to the sides of the bowl in a spiral pattern until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Let mixture cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a melon baller or a small spoon, roll teaspoons of truffle filling into balls and then place them on the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm while you make the cookie dough.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and ½ cup of ground hazelnuts; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater/paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar and salt on medium-high speed until lightened, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat until fluffy, about 15 seconds more. Add egg, hazelnut or coffee liquor and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated, about 15 seconds. To assemble the cookies, grab a 1-oz portion of dough, flatten it a bit in your hand and place a truffle in the center. Gently wrap the dough around the truffle and pinch it together at the seam to seal it completely. Roll the cookie around in your hand gently to make it smooth and then roll it around in the remaining chopped hazelnuts, applying some pressure to make sure they adhere.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1.5 inches apart and bake until slightly golden and cracked at the surface, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

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