Monday, March 29, 2010

Hazelnut Orange Cookies

I was looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe today and I found this one, originally called Hazelnut Orange Fingers. It's from the December 2008 issue of County Home Magazine. They featured their winning cookie recipes from the magazine's first Holiday Cookie Contest.

The cookie most closely resembles a Mexican Wedding Cookie, with the ground nuts and a simple butter, sugar, flour dough, except that instead of rolling it in confectioners sugar after it's baked, you dip it in chocolate.
I just love the combo of orange and chocolate together and the addition of orange zest in the cookie dough with the chocolate really gives it a wonderful flavor. I can see why it was among the winning recipes! And it is really quick and easy to make.

I thought I'd dip it in semisweet chocolate and white chocolate, just to mix it up a bit. Both chocolates tasted great and my son, Kris had no trouble polishing off quite a few!
I could also see these made into different shapes, such as a typical round or how about a crescent?

Begin by toasting the hazelnuts, then pulsing them in the food processor til they're finely ground.

In your mixer, beat the butter, then add the sugar, vanilla and orange zest and beat on high til light and fluffy.

Beat in ground hazelnuts til combined.
Then beat in the flour.

Roll 1 tablespoon portions of dough into 2 1/2" finger shapes.
Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart and bake in a 350 oven for 12 to 14 minutes.
Let them cool, then dip or just coat the tops ( which is what I did) with the melted chocolate. Then drizzle with the milk chocolate ( or white chocolate).
Hazelnut Orange Cookie (Fingers) (from County Home Dec. 2008)
Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar ( I didn't have this so I pulsed regular granulated sugar in the food processor)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel ( I zested the orange, guess it's the same thing?)
2 cups AP flour
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. shortening
3 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp. shortening
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Toast hazelnuts: Place hazelnuts in a baking pan and bake for about 13 minutes or til fragrant. While still warm, rub briskly in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the skins from the nuts.
2. Place nuts in a food processor and pulse til finely ground. Set aside.
3. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter on high for 30 seconds.
4. Add sugar, vanilla and orange zest and beat til light and fluffy.
5. Beat in the hazelnuts til combined.
6. Add in the flour, mixing just til combined.
7. Roll 1 tablespoon portions of dough into 2 1/2" fingers.
8. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2" apart and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or til edges begin to brown.
9. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes on sheet. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
10. Using a double boiler, melt the semisweet chocolate with the shortening over low heat. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper til chocolate is set.
11. Using double boiler again, melt milk chocolate with shortening and drizzle over cookies.
* Store undipped cookies, layered between sheets of waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temp. for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before dipping in chocolate and drizzling.

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