Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mixed-Grain Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

This is my nod to Valentines Day. Bake your sweetie a batch of these. Not too sweet and made with healthy oils and a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of hazelnut butter which I've never seen on the shelf and if it was it would be prohibitively expensive. You can substitute with cashew butter or follow my directions below to make your own hazelnut butter. Believe me, it's a whole lot cheaper.

1/3 cup canola or walnut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut or almond butter*
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached, unbromated all-purpose flour
2 TB arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped**
1/3-1/2 cup raspberry spread

Make this easy on yourself and get out your stand mixer. Add the first three ingredients: oil, brown sugar and nut butter. Mix well. Add the milk and extract and mix some more. In another small bowl, have mixed together the flour, arrowroot, salt, and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and let chill in refrigerator for an hour or so. It will be easier to handle that way.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out a tablespoon, roll in a ball, and roll in the chopped nuts, pressing down to flatten. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment and make an indent in each cookie and spoon some raspberry spread into each cookie. Bake for 18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on rack.

*Make your own hazelnut butter
Put a very generous 1/2 cup of whole hazelnuts into small blender (I like to use a Tribest Personal Blender for this) and blend until it turns into butter (or as close to that as possible).

**Chopped nuts
Use that same small blender and pulse the nuts until finely chopped.

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