It’s been too cold to photograph anything to share on here lately, and I’m not just saying that. I would seriously get frostbite, and that fact can be corroborated by the national weather service, or whoever it is that gets to state “truth” about the weather.
So today is the perfect day to share a recipe that I made a few weeks ago but never posted! These cute little things are from this month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and when I came across them on the first read-through, I ran to the freezer to see if I still had some hazelnuts on hand. I had the exact amount called for, and if that’s not a sign then I don’t know what is.
I couldn’t resist adding some cacao nibs to the tops, because hazelnut and cacao nibs is a flavor pairing I can’t resist. And apparently, adding coffee to the mix isn’t at all a bad idea.
I am scared to death of them. I totally avoid anything that involves beating and egg whites and cream of tartar. That’s the stuff nightmares are made of. But the best way to get better is to keep doing, and that’s what I did. Even if these aren’t 100% perfect specimens, they’ve got 100% perfect flavor and texture.
(And maybe you’re way better at making meringues than I am and all of that was irrelevant!) Happy baking!
Note: the original recipe says that one recipe yields 24 cookies, but I made 18 slightly larger cookies. I was trying to avoid having to use and rotate two baking sheets- a personal pet peeve. You can do whatever you’d like.
1 cup raw hazelnuts, skin-on
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
4 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coffee beans, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon cacao nibs, coarsely ground
First, make the hazelnut butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and scatter the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Toast for about 12 minutes, stirring halfway through. The nuts will look and smell toasty. Transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel, gather the sides up, and rub the nuts around vigorously through the towel to remove the skins.
Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and add the salt. Blend until the nuts take on a smooth and rather thin texture. Scrape into a measuring cup or small bowl; set aside.
Now onto the meringue. Reduce the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (You could also do this with a hand mixer and a super strong arm.) Beat on high speed for 1 minute. The eggs will be frothy. Continue to beat for 5 minutes, slowly adding the granulated sugar. Finally, beat for 8-10 minutes, slowly adding the powdered sugar. The egg whites will be thick and shiny.
Scrape the egg whites into a wide bowl and fold in half of the hazelnut butter with a few strokes of a rubber spatula. You’re going for lots of defined streaks of nut butter. Add the rest of the butter and incorporate with just one stroke.
Use a spoon to dollop tall heaps of meringue onto the baking sheet. (I could’ve made mine even taller and narrower as they flatten a bit in the oven.) Combine the ground coffee beans and cacao nibs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over each cookie.
Bake for about 2-2½ hours, or until the cookies look dry and release easily from the parchment paper when lifted. Turn the oven off and allow the cookies to cool in the oven.
Makes 18-24 cookies (see note above).