3.29.2009

sweet little bite

final dusting

When you're off to meet your brand new baby nephew, it's only natural to want to add something cute, sweet, and bite-sized to your packing list.

A recipe that Pim posted at Chez Pim last month was just the thing. While these tiny bites are nowhere near as adorable as the new little man, they are nevertheless pretty darn cute. Crunchy on the outside, rich and chewy on the inside, these cookies boast half a pound of dark chocolate, and a heaping cup of toasted hazelnuts. They may look all baby-faced with their powdery finish, but they hold their two tablespoons of rum like a sailor.

dough sugar and pan

one row

On Thursday afternoon, I dropped the cooled and sugared cookies into several glass Mason jars, and tied a spray of white and yellow ribbon around each lid. Then, we packed our bags and set out for New Jersey.

As for the kid, well, he's just perfect. He sleeps. He squeaks. He furrows his brow. He cries, he crosses his legs, and has even figured out how to grab onto his pacifier. Clearly, he's a genius. The new parents got a jar of cookies, and I got to hold this sweet, tiny person in my arms. A fair trade? These cookies are good, but I'm certain that I got the better end of the deal.

three jars and one lid

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites
adapted from Chez Pim, who adapted it from David Lebovitz's Room for Dessert

These cookies are just mildly sweet. The salt against the sugar and dark chocolate is really something special.

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% Scharffen Berger)
3 T. butter (or, substitute dairy-free Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
2 T. rum (next time, I'd like to try making these with Cointreau)
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 heaping cup of hazelnuts, toasted
1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
4-5 generous grinds of sea salt

1 heaping cup each of granulated sugar and powdered sugar for coating the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spill the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10-12 minutes, until fragrant. Allow the nuts to cool completely.

Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into small pieces, and melt together with the butter and the rum in a double boiler. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar together on high speed until pale (5-8 minutes). Stir in the melted chocolate and butter.

Pour the cooled nuts and the flour into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the baking powder and the salt, and pulse the mixture a few more times. Then, stir the ground nut mixture into the chocolate batter. Don't worry if the batter is runny and doesn't look like it will stand up to rolling. That's what the chilling is for.

Chill the batter until firm, 1-2 hours.

When you are ready to roll the dough into cookies, fill one small bowl with granulated sugar, and another small bowl with powdered sugar. Roll the chocolate cookie batter into 1-inch balls. I use a teaspoon to scrape off an equal amount of dough for each cookie. Roll each ball first in granulated sugar, and then in powdered sugar. Set the cookies in rows, at least 1-inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Swap the top and bottom baking sheets about halfway through. Do not over bake. When they are done, the cookies will be slightly firm around the edges but otherwise soft. Once the cookies have cooled completely, re-dust them lightly with powdered sugar for maximum white on black effect. Store in an airtight container.

Using the 1-teaspoon of dough per cookie method, the recipe makes about 80 cookies.

plastic wrap bowl

18 comments:

Jessica said...

These look dangerously delicious...I'll make them soon! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Jess said...

Hi, Jessica
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note. Enjoy the cookies!

Rivka said...

Love these pics! Very rustic, lazy-day-at-home look to them.

Jess said...

Thanks, Rivka. I'm a fan of your photography, so your feedback means a lot. It's always nice when the baking process itself is just as beautiful as the finished product, isn't it? The camera seems to adore these little buttons!

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

Oh, man, do those look fabulous! Congrats on your new baby nephew! <3

Jess said...

Hi, Hadley, and thank you! Both cookies and nephew are fabulous, indeed.

Shannalee said...

Wow. I just discovered your blog tonight, via Flickr, and I love, love your photography. What a beautiful site. Now I'm going to have a look around!

Joie de vivre said...

I'm sure the new mommy loved your for these!

Jess said...

Shannalee, welcome! And thank you for the high praise. It means a lot. Thanks to you, I'm heading off to bed with a big dopey grin on my face. I hope you'll stop by again soon.

And hello, Joie de vivre. Thanks for dropping by. The new mommy was indeed a fan of these little bites!

kasey said...

Just made these, and they're delicious. It's too bad Carolyn has given up sweets; I think she'd especially like these.

So good!

Jess said...

Hi, Kasey. I'm so glad you like them. Maybe you can sneak one under Carolyn's spinach...?

Andrea [bella eats] said...

Jess - I just made these last night, with a few modifications (almonds for hazelnuts, amaretto for rum) and they are DELICIOUS! They won't last long in our house, I'm sure. I am confused though, my batch, with 1" diameter balls, only made 36 cookies. Any thoughts?

Thanks for the recipe!

Jess said...

Hi, Andrea. Your almond and amaretto substitutions sound just perfect.

I must say, I am baffled by the "missing" cookies. I checked in with my sister, who made this recipe a few weeks back and, like me, she ended up with somewhere between 70-80 cookies. She and I both used level, 1-teaspoon scoops of dough to form the cookies. Did you perhaps use a tablespoon instead? That's one thing that would account for the inadvertent halving of the recipe.

I can't imagine that your substitutions would account for the dramatic difference in yield; I would guess that the volume of one cup hazelnuts and one cup almonds would be more or less the same.

In short, I have no idea, and I'm so sorry to let you down! I'm glad to hear that you did, at least, end up with delicious cookies in the end.

Andrea [bella eats] said...

Jess, you definitely did not let me down! I wasn't disappointed in the least, and I'm sure the mistake was my own. I didn't measure specifically, I just rolled 1" balls of dough and wound up with cookies that are each about 2 bites. So, I'm sure that I was closer to a tablespoon than a teaspoon.

I loved them though, and would be perfectly content to have them in my pantry at all times if it didn't mean that I would gain 10 pounds... :) Thanks so much for responding, you're very sweet.

Jess said...

Andrea - A-ha! Two-bite cookies! Mine were about half the size, then, one bite each. That explains it! (Though now I wonder if my one-teaspoon dough balls are truly 1" in diameter. Perhaps they're even smaller. I'll double check next time I make these and update the recipe, if necessary.) Anyway, lovely trouble shooting with you, my dear!

Steph said...

Any thoughts on leaving out the powdered sugar on these? Too bitter?

Jess said...

Hi, Steph. I think they would be just fine. (There's granulated sugar in the cookie itself.) They will be rich, but they shouldn't be bitter. If you think of it, let me know how they turn out.

Steph said...

They came out great without the powdered sugar. I also forgot the flour (this is what happens when I bake before finals) but it didn't seem as though anything was missing. (I did though only get 48 cookies). Thanks Jess.