I have to admit, I'm not much of a sweet tooth. I will take a salty snack over a sugary dessert any day, and the only thing I usually look forward to after dinner is ice cream or gelato. That said, I love to bake and cookies are one of my favorite things to make. I'm always on the lookout for cookies that are not too much of a sweet overload, balancing the sugary with some savory.
These cookies are pretty much perfect in that regard and are going in my permanent file. They use olive oil instead of butter, which also provides the flavor, along with orange zest and hazelnuts. They come out really moist and soft and not too sweet and they go really well with a cup of hot coffee or tea. I wasn't sure how these would turn out, as baking without butter makes me nervous, but they were great and I wouldn't hesitate to make them again.
They would be nice for an afternoon party or just to keep around the house for tea time or dessert.
RECIPE (yield - about 6 dozen)
From Fine Cooking December 2008/January 2009
2 cups toasted and skinned hazelnuts
10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges (about 1-1/2 packed Tbs.)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. In a medium bowl, whisk the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, and salt to blend. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, zest, and vanilla on low speed until the sugar is moistened, about 15 seconds. Increase the speed to high and mix until well combined, about 15 seconds more (the sugar will not be dissolved at this point). Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the dough has just pulled together, 30 to 60 seconds.
Divide the dough in half. Pile one half of the dough onto a piece of parchment. Using the parchment to help shape the dough, form it into a log 11 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the parchment around the log and twist the ends to secure. Repeat with the remaining dough. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line four cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
Unwrap one log of dough at a time and cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices; set them 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake two sheets at a time until light golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 10 minutes, rotating and swapping the sheets halfway through for even baking. Let cool completely on racks. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
NOTE: Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.
|Monday, April 6, 2009|