The holidays are now just a memory, my Christmas decorations are safely packed away, and all of my cookies have been thoroughly enjoyed and my cookie tins are empty. Each year for Christmas I make many holiday cookies for my family. Some of these are traditional Italian cookies I learned to make from my husband’s family, some are cookies from my childhood while others have become family favorites throughout the years.
Though I love baking these delicious treats for my family, I do get bored baking the same cookies year after year, so I always try to include something new onto our yearly holiday cookie tray. This year I added these roasted hazelnut and dark chocolate kiss cookies which reminded me of our favorite Baci (kiss) chocolates from Perugia.
I know that once the holidays are behind us that many of us do not even want to look at cookies or other treats so I seriously considered holding off this post until next Christmas but then I remembered that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! These buttery cookies studded with nuts and chocolate would be a perfect gift for that special someone in your life, or gift wrapped for a special teacher or friend.
The combination of hazelnuts and chocolate is so perfect that it is used time and time again in Italian cakes, cookies, chocolates, and even gelato. Roasting the chopped hazelnuts as I have done in this cookie intensifies the nutty flavor that pairs so well with dark chocolate. I made these cookies into balls before baking, and after baking and once they cooled a bit, I rolled them in powdered sugar to make them extra special. If your hazelnuts still have their skins on, you’ll need to roast them as directed in the notes below.
I was lucky this year to find hazelnuts already skinned, so I simply roasted them until they were lightly browned. I also used a block of dark chocolate that I chopped into very small pieces, but you could use mini chocolate chips instead, if you prefer.
Note: To roast your hazelnuts, spread out across a large baking sheet and roast in a preheated 275 degrees F. preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. If your hazelnuts still have their skins, as soon as you remove them from the oven, place in a kitchen towel and rub with your fingers to remove most of the skins.
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Lightly Roasted Finely Chopped Hazelnuts (See Notes Above)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Dash of Salt
- 2 Sticks, or 8 Ounces Unsalted Softened Butter
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate (Or Mini Chocolate Chips)
- Sifted Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In one bowl, stir together the flour, chopped hazelnuts, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredient to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed just until mixed.
- Use a spoon to stir in the chocolate and stir until mixed.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets at least 1-inch apart.
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then roll in the powdered sugar.
- Cool completely, then roll in powdered sugar again, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.