sweet little bite
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Jess