Sunday, February 3, 2008

Best Friends Forever

From my first bite of Easter Bunny ears, I have been hooked. When I think of a special occasion in my life, there has been chocolate involved. Chocolate birthday cakes, New Year’s Eve chocolate fondues, countless amounts of chocolate candy bars shared with a friend during an English Comedy Night marathon… I could go on and on.

Of course my taste in chocolate has evolved over the years. Eater Bunny was most certainly made out of milk chocolate and I still love milk chocolate in many recipes. But most often than not I reach for dark chocolate nowadays. I am not a connoisseur by any means and I don’t have a favorite brand of fancy chocolate but I love to try different things. The most unusual combination I’ve had is dark chocolate with pink peppercorns. Very surprising and wonderful.

Another chocolatey combination, this one very classic, involves hazelnuts. Add a little taste of coffee and you have a chocolate explosion. And these cookies deliver! Hazelnuts, roasted then ground, melted chocolate, dark chocolate chips with instant espresso powder thrown into the mix. POW! Dense brownie-like cookies that will remind you why chocolate is your Best Friend Forever.

Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Cookies
125g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 to 3 tbsp instant espresso powder (I used 3 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and add espresso powder, vanilla extract and brown sugar. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each one. Add fleur de sel, baking powder, flour and ground hazelnuts mixing until combined. Fold in chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by tablespoonful, onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven about 8 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake them, you want them brownie-like on the inside.

Note : If you are using whole hazelnuts, roast them for about 10 minutes in a 350F oven. Then put the hazelnuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub them to remove the peel. You’ll need about ¾ cup of whole hazelnuts to get a cup of ground. I just ground them up in my mini food processor.

Death By Chocolate: I’m in! I’ve decided to enter this post in the Death By Chocolate contest over at Culinate! So, if you like what you see, you can click on the link and vote. There are cool prizes to win for readers too so click on! And more importantly, make these cookies!

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Kaman said...

Did you knock my brain open to find out all my favorite ingredients and put this together to torture me?

Nic said...

I love hazelnuts and was roasting some just yesterday. Put them together with chocolate and you are onto a winner!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Hazelnut and chocolate - a classic combo. Your cookies look divine!

LyB said...

kaman - these are not meant for torture, I promise! :)

nic - I'm telling you the smell of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate together is heaven!

lynn- thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Hello! Your profile could be mine (except for a missing "pastry" in there). I just started the whole thing because my brain is already seriously soft.
Job well done!

Anonymous said...

Your cookies look really good, I also like dark chocolate! My most unusual combination is chocolate with ika (dried squid). My favorite is chocolate covered potato chips. :)

LyB said...

sweet tooth - You've got me curious about our similarities but I can't seem to access your profile; thanks so much for your comment though!

lori - You certainly beat me for the most unusual combination! But chocolate covered potato chips, I understand, sweet and salty, yum!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Oh... I would love to try them... my tree favourite flavours in one!! I love hazelnut flavoured coffee... I love chocolate with hazelnuts... cookies with espresso and hazelnut sounds amazing! :)

Have a great weeekned, Margot