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Nutty for Nutella Nutella: spreadable joy

The Italian chocolate and hazelnut spread has its devoted fans.

February 11, 2009|Amy Scattergood

And then there are cookies, a very popular way to play with Nutella. Linzer cookies adapt beautifully to Nutella, as they're traditionally made with nuts in the dough and jam spread between two sandwiched cookies. This recipe capitalizes on those elements, using ground hazelnuts in the cookie dough and chocolate-hazelnut spread instead of jam. A faint note of orange in the cookies plays against the chocolate; a dusting of powdered sugar decorates the top.

Of course, sometimes basic is best. "Nutella is great as it is," points out Ferrero's Bampa, "just spread on a simple slice of bread."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, February 12, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
Cookie recipe: A recipe for hazelnut-chocolate Linzer cookies in Wednesday's Food section did not include a step for adding the ground hazelnuts. They should be added to the cookie dough along with the flours.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, February 18, 2009 Home Edition Food Part F Page 7 Features Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Cookie recipe: A recipe in the Feb. 11 Food section for hazelnut-chocolate Linzer cookies did not include a step for adding the ground hazelnuts. They should be added to the cookie dough along with the flours.

Or eaten out of the jar with a spoon.

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amy.scattergood@latimes.com

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Hazelnut-chocolate spread (homemade Nutella)

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Note: Use good-quality cocoa powder, such as Scharffen Berger.

2 cups raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons hazelnut oil, more as needed

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp towel and rub to remove the skins.

2. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter, scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. The finished spread should have the consistency of creamy peanut butter; if it is too dry, process in a little extra hazelnut oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refrigerated. It will keep for at least a week.

Each tablespoon: 109 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 13 mg. sodium.

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Hazelnut-chocolate Linzer cookies

Total time: About 1 hour, plus chilling time

Servings: 2 1/4 dozen cookies

Note: These cookies are also terrific plain or sandwiched with raspberry or other jam. If you don't have 2 1/2- and 1-inch round cookie cutters, use different shapes or, instead of the smaller cutter, the bottom of a pastry tip.

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

Zest from 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar for dusting

About 3/4 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (or Nutella)

1. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they are finely ground but not so finely ground that they are like sand or begin to clump together.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add the orange zest and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Add the flours and salt and continue mixing until the dough is well combined. Divide the dough in half, press each half into a disk shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill the dough at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, position a rack in the middle of the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take one of the disks of dough out of the refrigerator and let it soften slightly.

4. On a lightly floured board or a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough to slightly thicker than one-eighth inch. Using a 2 1/2 -inch round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as you can from the dough. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the center of half of the large circles, incorporating the small circles back into the dough. If the dough becomes too soft, return it briefly to the refrigerator. Repeat with the second disk, then press the dough scraps together and reroll to make more cookies. Make sure you have the same number of cookies with cut-out centers as you do cookies without.

5. Bake the cookies until they just begin to color around the edges, 14 to 16 minutes. Rotate the tray halfway through for even baking. Cool the cookies on a rack or slide the parchment off the sheet and cool them on the parchment. Make sure the cookies are thoroughly cooled before assembly.

6. To assemble, sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the cut-out centers. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of hazelnut-chocolate spread over the cookies without the cut-out centers, and carefully place the sugar-dusted cookies on top to form sandwiches. Repeat with all the cookies.

Each of cookie: 172 calories; 2 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 25 mg. sodium.

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Chocolate-hazelnut swirl ice cream

Total time: 25 minutes, plus chilling and freezing time

Servings: Makes 1 1/2 quarts ice cream

Note: Save the egg whites for another use, such as meringues.

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

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