Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

When I lived in San Francisco, I worked quite often as a temp. The money was generally good and you could choose what places you really liked to work at and get called back or refused the really awful places unless work had been scarce and the prospect of facing the landlord was more scary than facing the taskmaster at sweat factory.
It was during this period that I took a half-day job at an ad agency downtown.  They had rented out a local restaurant for their Christmas party so I was left to answer the phone and take messages an easy job but also boring as only a few people called and maybe one or two stopped in.  Thank goodness for magazines in the waiting area.
It was while I was browsing through a cooking magazine--I don't even recall which one it was--that my eyes were drawn to this.  thumbprint cookies have been an annual favorite since I was a kid. But instead of pecans or walnuts, this recipe called for hazelnuts....and roasted, at that!  There is something about roasting nuts that brings out a level of flavor that just seems to be hidden otherwise.  I promise, once you try these, you will retire the old recipe forever!

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1/2 cup sugar
12 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups flour
Red raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes shaking the pan at least once to roll them around to ensure even roasting.
Empty them into a clean towel and rub them vigorously to remove the skins.
This may take a few times to remove most of the skin which will be bitter if there is too much.
Transfer 1/2 cup of nut to a food processor and grind to a medium fine consistency. Remove to a plate and reserve.
Transfer the remaining cup of nuts and the sugar to a food processor and grind.
Add butter, vanilla extract, and salt and process until smooth.
Add flour and process until mixed. Remove dough to a bowl.
Pinch off pieces big enough to form 1-inch balls.
Roll ball in reserved chopped nuts, place 3 inches apart of cookie sheet and press with thumb to make an indentation.
Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on rack.


  1. Eddie, these look lovely! I'm going to try them soon. Thanks! Jane