Welcome back. Sorry to have run off and left you with only a photo and no recipe earlier today, but I promised you I'd post it tonight and here I am.
The official title of this cookie is "Bittersweet Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies," but "brookies" is so much better, don't you think? And let me just stop here for one second to thank my good friend, Christino, for coming up with that name - thank you. Brookie really fits this because when you bite into it, it is chewy on the inside with a nice crust, just like a brownie. But, IMHO, it is way better than a brownie because it is cute and bite-sized (just like a cookie). May I present, the brookie.
When they come out of the oven, the powdered sugar you rolled them in prior to baking has melted into the cookie and they look like little licorice disks all lined up on the cooling rack (see in-progress photos above). But the taste and the texture - that's what I'm talking about here. The not-too-finely chopped hazelnuts gives them this wonderful mouth-feel; and the taste is sublime - dark, bittersweet chocolate just runs rampant through your mouth. This little cookie, excuse me, brookie, is just the perfect little pick-me-up in between meetings or at the end of the day. Or perhaps served for dessert on Saturday night with some cinnamon gelato...oh yeah, I can totally see that.
Well, you've waited long enough. Here is the recipe. But before I forget, this recipe comes from the wonderful pastry chef, Gina DePalma. Gina is the pastry chef at Babbo in NYC and this recipe is from her book titled "Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen." Thanks to my friend, Phyllis in California, for sending me this fabulous book last summer. The other thing I love about this book, obviously besides the recipes, is Gina's narrative about Italy - her descriptions about the little bakeries and munching on cookies while meandering the narrow streets of Rome are the kinds of things that fuel my hunger to go back to Italy. You might notice that this book is on my Amazon list of favorite books on the right-hand side of the page. If you can't get to Italy anytime soon, this book will at least keep you happy and well-fed. Mangia bene!
Bittersweet Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies
2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 C unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 C whole hazelnuts, skinned or unskinned
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 t pure vanilla extract
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 C confectioners' sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them 2 or 3 times to chop them medium-fine. Add the hazelnuts to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine them.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate, and beat just until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or butter or line them with parchment.
Place the confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl. To form the cookies, roll 1 scant tablespoon of dough into a 1-inch ball, then flatten it slightly with your fingertips to form a small disk. Roll the cookie in the confectioners' sugar to coat it evenly and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough is used, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
Bake the cookies until they are puffed and cracking, 8-10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure that the cookies bake evenly. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them gently to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with additional confectioners' sugar.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.
Makes approximately 5 dozen.