So the past week was pretty crazy re: life making decisions.
My friend and I spontaneously booked tickets to Morocco (woohoo mini vacay in two weeks!).
I also booked flights arriving in Kenya, and then three weeks later leaving from Tanzania (… with a little Zanzibar in between). And well, the reason for the east Africa trip is that I also booked my trip to climb (ahem, ATTEMPT to climb) Mt. Kilimanjaro!
(My mom is so not pleased right now with my life decisions.)
If someone were to take a photo of what’s going on inside my brain, there would be some universe-like vibe with tons of bright colours and flying debris.
Because of my wild excitement, I decided to balance out my life a little bit via my baking. The cookies today are so simple. They’re adapted from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/11/baci-di-dama-cookies-recipe/, and I didn’t really change the ingredients much, but I modified the method to make the cookie preparation much easier.
Mini hazelnut cookies – What you need:
- 75 grams hazelnuts, toasted and without skins
- ½ cup all purpose flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 50 grams butter (or margarine for a vegan cookie), softened
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon (or just a pinch) of salt
Mini hazelnut cookies – What you do:
I started off using blanched hazelnuts, so the skins were already removed. I toasted the hazelnuts at 110c for 10 minutes, shaking the baking pan occasionally. The short amount of toasting really makes the flavour pop!
In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts into a coarse meal.
In a large bowl, stir together the hazelnuts, flour, and nutmeg.
Cut the butter up into pieces, and add the butter, sugar, and salt into the nut mixture. Using your fingers, blend the dough until it begins to stick together. At this point, gently knead the dough until you can form it into a ball. The dough should hold together easily. If you find the dough is too dry, and a touch more (melted) butter or margarine.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for around an hour, so it’s nicely chilled. Warning! I didn't make all of the dough, and when I went back to check on it the next day (you know, for a cookie dough breakfast), it was hardened. If this happens, just leave it at room temperature for a bit.
Pre-heat the oven to 160c.
Once chilled, break off small pieces from the ball of dough and roll each one into a small sphere. Flatten each cookie slightly.
If you have a scale, the recipe recommends that each cookie should be 5 grams. You only need to weigh it once, and then use the weighed cookie as a template for the rest of the cookies. If you don’t have a scale (or can’t be bothered to weigh one cookie as a template), the cookies should be about the size of a marble.
Place the prepared cookies spread out on a baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets half way through the cooking process.
Cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, fill the cookies with chocolate.
The recipe (linked above, you can check out their chocolate recipe there) uses melted chocolate (simple and fast!), but I had a ton of left over ganache from these macarons: http://bakecetera.com/pistachio-orange-macarons/, so I used ganache. Honestly, these guys were really good without the chocolate… so if you want to leave them plain, they will still please the taste buds!
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHEOF_rcND8
Amadou & Mariam - Sabali: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KhFv1qJcao (< definitely in my top 5 favourite songs of all time!)