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Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

A simple twist turns classic peanut butter cookies into elegant chocolate-hazelnut cookies — either soft and chewy, or crunchy, depending on how long you bake them.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional, for enhanced flavor
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon hazelnut flavor, optional, for enhanced flavor*
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella or Jif
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

* Don't have hazelnut flavor? See "tips," below.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Beat together the shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla, espresso powder, hazelnut flavor, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate-hazelnut spread until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, beating gently until everything is well combined; the dough will be quite stiff and a bit crumbly. If it doesn't hold together well, drizzle in enough water or cold coffee (1 tablespoon or less) to bring it together. Watch out, though; if you add too much liquid, the cookies will flatten and spread out too much as they bake.
  4. Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonsful or tablespoonsful onto the prepared baking sheets (a teaspoon or tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2 inches between them. The larger balls of dough will be about 1 1/2" in diameter, and weigh a generous 1 ounce each (if you have a scale); the smaller ones will be about 1 1/4 inch in diameter, and about 1/2 ounce in weight.
  5. Use a large dinner fork to flatten each cookie to about 3/8" thick, making a cross-hatch design.
  6. Bake the cookies for 7 to 12 minutes, until they don't appear super-moist any longer, and seem set. Since they're dark colored, it's difficult to tell when they're done by whether or not they're browned; it's a good idea to bake one test cookie first, to figure out the timing. Smaller cookies baked for the shorter amount of time will be softer; larger cookies baked for the longest amount of time will be crunchy. See "tips," at left, for more details.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan; or on a rack.

Yield: 22 to 48 cookies, depending on size
Hands-on time: 15 mins. to 25 mins.
Baking time: 7 mins. to 12 mins.
Total time: 22 mins. to 37 mins.

tips from our bakers

Hazelnut flavor takes these cookies over the top, taste-wise. If you don't have hazelnut flavor, the cookies will taste good, but not overly "hazelnutty." Substitute 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for the hazelnut, if you like; almond will give the cookies a vaguely nutty flavor, though it won't be hazelnut. A better substitute is 3/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor, if you have it.

The wide range of baking times covers both small and large cookies, plus three textures: soft; soft in the center, crisp on the edges; and crunchy all the way through. All times assume baking on a light-colored aluminum pan lined with parchment. Bake the teaspoon-scoop cookies for 7 minutes if you like them soft; 11 to 12 minutes if you like them crunchy. The larger, tablespoon scoop-size cookies will be soft when baked for 8 minutes; and crunchy when baked for 12 to 13 minutes.

Want to make these cookies with whole wheat flour? Go right ahead; we often substitute King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour 1:1 for the all-purpose flour, no additional changes needed.

Recipe and photo credit: kingarthurflour.com.

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