Last week Gabrielle, a very dear friend of mine, who moved to New York a couple of years ago, visited me here in Mumbai. She always wanted to visit India, and since she’s getting married next month, she decided to make this a shopping cum holistic trip. After attending a months course at the yoga ashram in Kerala, she landed here to catch up with me and get some wedding shopping done. Since she already had her bridal jewellery sorted by her inlaws, she was keen on getting some beautiful info-western fusion wedding gowns. My sister makes the most beautiful wedding lenghas and gowns, and Gabby couldn’t ask for anything more. Actually she did – she asked me to bake for her !
Recently my inlaws travelled to Istanbul, and brought back gifts for everyone from their travels. Knowing what a hopeless foodie I am, they got me a KILO of Hazelnuts. Yup a whole kilo. How apt ! I was saving them for the right occasion and recipe, and luck favoured Gabby : its her favourite nut and I had plenty. Now I was torn between making rich sinful chocolate hazelnut brownies or plain hazelnut cookies. Knowing the brownies would be heavy on the calories I didn’t want her to gain those extra pounds before the big day, and yet I had to bake something a little more than just plain old cookies. So I picked Crinkle Cookies. Having made the regular chocolate crinkle cookies many times, ( which I’m wondering why I haven’t shared on the blog yet : I will do soon ) I knew are simply irresistible.
They are crispy on the outside but with a soft chewy centre and loaded with nuts.This is where a brownie meets a cookie, the best of both worlds. The recipe calls for a jar of Nutella and 2 cups of roasted hazelnuts. There is no need to add extra chocolate, as the Nutella is enough. I used this recipe, but I had to change it to my needs. A rule for baking cookies is always do a test batch first. Never blindly follow the recipe, as ovens differ and you may not want to risk all your cookies. Try baking one or two just to make sure you get it right, before you bake the whole batch. My first two batches resulted in black bottomed and hard cookies. So I kept the cookie batter in the fridge for a couple of more hours and baked them at a lower temperature for a few minutes longer. The result is in front of you. Bake them to believe me.
Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cups Nutella
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/3 cup milk
2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup powdered sugar
Combine the dry ingredients : flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, beat the Nutella, butter, and granulated sugar for about 2 minutes with an electric beater. Add the eggs, vanilla, coffee and mix until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and alternate additions of flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour, and mixing until just combined after each addition. Fold in ½ cup of the chopped hazelnuts. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 2-4 hours. 8 hours worked best for me.
Preheat oven to 160 C. Line your baking trays with baking paper. Place the remaining hazelnuts and the powdered sugar in two separate bowls. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll the dough into balls, roll in the hazelnuts, then roll in the powdered sugar. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the edges are set and the middle still looks a little soft, about 13-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Just before serving, to jazz them up, drizzle with some Nutella.