Gluten-Free Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies

I’ve adapted this incredible recipe only slightly from the original, in Phyllis Glazer’s Hebrew-language cookbook, No Gluten, No Sugar (L’lo Gluten L’lo Sucar). In this case I actually have added sugar, but only to make the ingredients list a bit easier to compile. They’re crispy on the outside, and crunchy but a bit softer on the inside. As with most desserts I make, these are not super-sweet.

The deliciousness:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted margarine or unsalted butter
  • 2/3 packed cup of (preferably coarse-grained) dark brown sugar–you can probably use the soft kind if need be
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup teff flour (Wondering what teff flour is? Click here; it’s not too hard to find in the supermarket.)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (finely ground)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole hazelnuts (you can cheat and get them pre-peeled, but the peels will come off in the roasting process below)

First, preheat your oven to 350°F. While it heats, pour your hazelnuts into a pan and roast them on the stovetop, on low heat, for about five minutes. The goal here is to get the peels to crack and come off. You can facilitate this by rolling them around in the pan with a wooden spoon; you’ll need to stir them around anyway to avoid burning. They will brown a bit. Once they’re done and they cool off a tad, you can remove any additional peels by rubbing the hazelnuts between two paper towels. Reserve about 25 nuts, and place the rest in a sealed plastic bag (with room for some air). Rest the bag on a kitchen towel and crush it with something heavy, like a kitchen mallet. I left my crushed nuts about the size of rice grains. If you want to cheat, you can use pre-peeled nuts, but you’ll still want to roast them in order to bring the flavor out.

The remaining steps are far easier. Once the nuts are done, grease some aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on low speed, or by hand, for about two minutes. Add the egg and vanilla to the mixing bowl, and combine them until the mixture is uniform. Then combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and add the dry mix to the wet one. If you are using an electric mixer, it should take less than a minute to produce a uniform batter. Last, evenly incorporate the crushed hazelnuts into the batter (this will only take about 15 seconds with an electric mixer).

Use two teaspoons to form flattened spheres of batter on your cookie sheet, spaced 1″ apart. Press one of your reserved whole hazelnuts into the center of each cookie, and smooth out the edges of the batter with your fingers. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until the tops are dry (use one of your spoons to test this). The smaller your cookies, the faster they’ll bake.

This recipe makes about 25 cookies. They cool very quickly and should be eaten warm if possible, since they dry out fairly fast. Enjoy!

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