After whetting my appetite with the Nutella s’mores, I continued to crave hazelnuts. Bags of nuts (usually pecan, hazelnuts, and walnuts) are always in my freezer. We use them mostly in baking, but occasionally it’s nice to have some tossed in with a salad. When I saw these Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds in Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book, I knew that my favorite filberts would fit just fine in this recipe. My little baker and her friend (see the whirl of activity below) obliged by mixing the batter, although I did the baking because K had soccer and who can wait that long for gooey chocolate cookies!
One word: perfection. Use this basic recipe for any sort of chocolate chip cookie you desire – the consistency, sweetness, and texture will all sing in your mouth. Future variations may include the original toasted almonds, walnuts, pecans, or milk and dark chocolate chunks. I think the key is freezing and slicing the dough logs so the cookies are all a similar size and thickness in order to cook evenly. Also, undercooking just slightly gives these treats a delightfully chewiness.
After working up an appetite with a home-style fashion show, the little foodies eyed the cookies with an intensity that is palpable in this photo. It must be genetic because only the ones related to me are concentrating on which cookie has the highest chocolate-to-dough ratio.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Hazelnuts
adapted from Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book
NOTE: Start this recipe early because the dough has to chill. Also, toast the nuts before you make the cookie dough. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly gold and you can smell them. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted (see note)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz. best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch chunks
- Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until no flour is visible after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour. (If you’re really impatient or hungry, spread out the dough on a tray or cookie sheet, lay a sheet of plastic wrap flush against the surface of the dough, and freeze so it chills up fast.)
- When the dough is chilled, turn it out onto a clean work surface, and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log about 12 inches long. Refrigerate the logs for at least 30 minutes before slicing. (At this point, you can wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month.)
- Cut the logs into 1-inch slices, and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on each cookie sheet. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until the centers no longer have a glossy look of raw dough. They should be chewy, so do not overbake.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks. Do not uncover before defrosting.