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Hazelnut Cookies

Food has always been a love of mine, but it took me a while to turn that love into a profession. Seven years ago, while working as an account manager at a ad agency, I told the Art-Director that I dreamt of publishing my own cook book, with all my recipes. She offered to introduce to me her mother, Elinoar Rabin. I almost fainted at that moment. Anyone in-the-know about the Israeli culinary scene knows that she is a well-known cook-book author and editor, and the woman behind the food column in Israel’s Maariv Style Magazine for 15 years. The same column that I now have wrote for, for the past year.

A few days later, sitting in Elinoar’s apartment in Jaffa, we started working on my first cook- book, “Simply Entertaining”. Elinoar is the one who helped me get my start and opened my eyes to the Israel culinary world, which until then had been just a dream of mine.

A week ago I was invited to Elinoar’s new book release party: “Coffee and More”, which she wrote in conjunction with Ilan Shenhav, the founder of Ilan’s coffee chain. The book contains her fantastic sweet (and some savory) easy to follow recipes and includes information on his coffee drink recipes.

I tasted these cookies at the party. Their secret is that they are made with salted butter, which gives these sweet cookies the perfect contrast. The recipe calls for roasted, ground hazelnuts, so I bought unroasted hazelnuts and toasted them in the microwave for about a minute, let them chill and then ground in a food processor. Perfection.

Ingredients for 60 small cookies:

1½ cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

½ cup sugar

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1¾ sticks (7 oz.) salted butter, very cold and cut into cubes

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

5 oz. roasted hazelnuts, ground

Preparation:

1. Mix the flour, sugar, and cornstarch together in a food processor. Add the butter and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture has a crumb like texture. Add the hazelnuts and continue to pulse until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper to about ⅛-inch thick.

4. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out cookies and place on baking sheets. Transfer cookies to the freezer for 5 minutes.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

6. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.