Hazelnut Espresso Truffle Cookies

by Cindy Beberman
(Orland Park, IL)

The inspiration for this cookie came from my sister’s description of an unforgettable hazelnut cookie she had in Italy, in Liguria. The marriage of hazelnut, espresso, and chocolate ganache is exquisite…reminiscent of a fine truffle. She declared my version to be a wonderful approximation. My family likes to join in the fun by helping fill and trim the cookies. We believe baking to be one of life’s great pleasures.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup shelled hazelnuts
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar (or granulated sugar processed 30 seconds in food processor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (available at Italian delis/groceries)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    TRUFFLE FILLING

  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 7 oz. Nestle’s milk chocolate morsels
  • 7 oz. Nestle’s semisweet chocolate morsels

    TRIM

  • 1 1/4 cup (or about 8 oz) semisweet chocolate morsels

    PREPARATION

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roast hazelnuts on baking sheet 13-14 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.
  • Remove from oven, let cool a couple minutes, and then rub briskly while still warm in clean towel to remove most of skins.
  • Place cooled nuts in food processor; process until finely ground. Set aside.
  • In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg, yolk, vanilla, and then espresso powder.
  • Add nuts and beat until well blended. Combine flour and baking powder; add to nut mixture, beating on low speed until just mixed.
  • Divide dough in quarters, shaping into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Remove one disc of dough from refrigerator.
  • On lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick.
  • Cut dough with small size cookie cutters.
  • Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on parchment-lined or ungreased large baking sheet.
  • Bake 7 to 8 minutes until edges are just golden and cookies are set.
  • Cool cookies on the sheet for 1 minute; then transfer cookies to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Repeat process with remaining dough.
  • To make truffle filling, heat cream in small heavy sauce pan over medium heat to just boiling.
  • Remove from heat, and pour over chocolate in mixing bowl (not plastic).
  • Stir vigorously until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Chill uncovered in refrigerator for 40 minutes, beating occasionally until ganache thickens and is spreadable.
  • Spread filling 1/8 inch thick on flat side of cookie and place another cookie on top of filling, sandwich style.
  • If ganache thickens too much before you finish filling, just briefly set the bowl in a larger bowl or pan of hot water and stir. It will quickly soften again.
  • To trim cookies, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
  • Spoon into pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip. Pipe thin lines of chocolate back and forth over the top of each cookie.
  • Place sheets of cookies in freezer for 10 minutes until chocolate is set.
  • Store cookies in airtight containers in refrigerator; serve cookies at room temperature.

    These cookies will keep 5-7 days in the fridge, 3 months in the freezer, or may be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies


    QUICK EASY METHOD

    Some bakers are intimidated by rolled, cut out cookies, or need to save time. Instead of doing a rolled and cut out cookie, these cookies can also be made using the slice and bake method. Just take a quarter of the dough at a time, shape into a log about 1 1/2” in diameter, roll up in plastic wrap (then roll on counter to smooth), refrigerate for 2 hours, and then slice with a thin, sharp knife into 1/8” thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake 7 minutes. Trim is optional.

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