It is 2011! Who knew it would be here so quickly!?
When I was a little girl I used to think that year 2000 would be a big deal and on 1.1.2000, aliens would come to our world and take our best looking/most eligible females. Whether from boredom or the sheer hopelessness of life – I lived in a different world back then – I hoped I would be young and bright enough for them to haul me away to their world.
Well, they never showed up but many strange and unexpected things have happened since so I am no longer bored, not even close. So, hot alien dudes, please stay in your own planet and make do with what you got over there. We are staying here for the time being. Call me when I turn 90, I may have different ideas by then. And until then happy new year to all!
And now the story of the poor Sunbeam: I have been baking and when I bake with nuts and dairy I have to switch mixers and bowls, etc., as my kids have allergies. So when I started mixing up the Hazelnut Chewies, I brought out my ancient Sunbeam mixer, a hand me down from my mom’s storage back when I got my first apartment. It has worked fine so I had no reason to replace it until this day (this day: Christmas eve).
Hazelnut Chewies call for 2 cups of chopped nuts, 1 & 1/4 cups of Nutella spread (sort of like peanut butter only with hazelnuts and a chocolate base), and 3 cups of flour. As you can imagine this makes for a pretty thick dough and my poor little Sunbeam was not able to handle it. Right as I started the last part of my mixing Sunbeam started smoking and quit working with a burned plastic smell. I was not about to waste all that prep and material. I stuck the mixture into the fridge, put on a pair of jeans and hauled self to Target. Have you every been to Target on Christmas eve? Finding a parking spot was like playing Tetris at the highest speed only with other cars bumping your Tetris piece (read: car), with no shame what so ever. After 30 minutes of driving around I found a parking spot, ran in and bought an Oster mixer and got out as fast as I could.
I got back home, pulled the mix out of the fridge and let it warm before attacking it with my new Oster. At this point I had given up hope on ending up with eatable cookies but I was proven wrong. Oster worked fine and so did the cookie mix. One quick note, my new Oster is reasonably priced and works well but it has no stir/low mix speed. At the lovest speed you find yourself covered in flour, flying pieces of dough and/or splats of egg white. It has 6 speeds, 6! I have never gone above 3rd gear and don’t want to know what will happen if I were to do so. But it is a good little machine and easy to keep clean, which I like.
Back to the cookies. Hazelnut Chewies are like chocolate crinkle cookies, very slightly crunchy on the outside, soft with a fudge-like taste in the inside. I love hazelnuts so the hazelnut-Nutella combination makes for a dreamy flavor and they are rich. These cookies are delicious and they are easy to prepare and bake. And just in case you are interested here is the recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 & 1/4 cups Nutella spread
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 & 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and chopped fine
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Toast nuts in a rimmed baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Then pulse them in the food processor to chop them fine once cool (be sure not to over-process), though they can also be chopped by hand.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With electric mixer in medium-high speed, in a separate bowl beat Nutella, butter, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add, eggs, vanilla, and espresso mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and alternate additions of flour mixture and milk, mixing until just combined after each addition. Fold in 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place remaining hazelnuts and confectioners’ sugar in 2 separate bowls. Working with 1 dough half, roll into 1-inch balls, roll in hazelnuts, then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
These cookies are tasty and rich and I like mine with a strong cup of sugarless tea. I also gave some away as gifts; they are compact and sit well in their circular cookie tins.
And again, Happy New Year!