These are so decadent and delicate…and so worth it. I had this recipe in my clippings file for almost two years and at long last the ingredients I had on hand aligned with a clean kitchen and I went at them. I’ve adapted the recipe from the Los Angeles Times Culinary SOS column and chef Elena Guerrero-Berman of Massimo’s Delectables. If you purchase hazelnuts in their skins, you will want to remove them first. I find the skins a tad bitter so its’ worth the effort. Bake the hazelnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet at 375 until the skins will rub off in between a towel…about 12 minutes. I’ve also boiled hazelnuts and then rubbed off the skins. Your choice. Please use pastry flour and avoid the urge to substitute. This recipe made about 2 dozen cookies a 2.5 inch cutter. The dough needs to chill 2 hours before rolling.
TORTONA CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT COOKIES
adapted from Chef Elena Guerrero-Berman of Massimo’s Delectables
2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks) (I know)
2 cups sugar
1 cup ground hazelnuts (not pulverized into dust)
1 cup ground almonds (also not pulverized into dust)
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups pastry flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (good quality)
1. Heat oven to 375 to toast hazelnuts in order to remove their skins (if necessary) Bake hazelnuts for about 12 minutes and rub between a kitchen towel to remove the skin.
2. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until roughly ground, not a dust. You want to see small pieces of nut in the cookie. Remove to small bowl then process the almonds. Next, place them in their own small bowl.
3. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
4. With a spatula, gently fold in the ground hazelnuts to this butter mixture and combine. Once its well combined, fold in the ground almonds and mix thoroughly.
5. Stir in the vanilla. Next, add the pastry flour in four additions until fully incorporated. Now carefully fold in the cocoa powder to this thick dough.
6. Scrape it out of the bowl onto plastic and form into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill for at least two hours. Even overnight.
7. Heat oven to 325. Place rack in center. In between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the dough to 1/2-1/4″ and cut shapes. Place cookies onto a parchment sheet line sheet pan. They will not spread much, but will puff a little on top when done. Bake for about 15 minutes. You can rotate the pan halfway for even baking.
8.Have a rack ready and carefully remove the cookies still on the parchment sheet onto it so they cool off the hot pan. Let them be as they can fall apart while still warm. They will firm up as they cool.