Happy Passover & the Most Addicting Hazelnut Cookies

I spent last weekend with my sister, baking and cooking and washing dishes until I was blue in the face. It was so much fun, and the most relaxing vacation I have had in a very long time.

Very fortunately for me, I have a pretty darn good sister. She knows all of the most embarrassing and dreadful things about me and loves me just the same. And, even better, she loves to cook. And to be cooked for. And, well, to have her dirty dishes magically disappear. (No complaining here. I almost enjoy cleaning other people’s kitchens. My own is another story.)

In past years I survived passover with plenty of matzo and Muenster cheese. This year, my friends, is much different. Because this year I have the most addicting hazelnut cookies ever. They are so good. Little bites of hazelnut laden dough. Ahh. Topped with chocolate! Well, I found these babies on Smitten Kitchen. I can’t tell you how delicious they are, but I can tell you that I made several batches. You see, all I wanted to do was bring a box of cookies to my friend for passover seder. But I ate the cookies. Well, me and my sister both ate the cookies. Late at night. Sneakily. Smiling. Cooing. So I made the cookies again the next day. And I swear- they disappeared later that night! I am telling you that these cookies are absolutely irresistible. And the best thing about this recipe is that it’s very simple to adjust. So for the third batch, after I had eaten so many hazelnuts that I could never eat them again me and my sister were finally willing to share the cookies, I got back in the kitchen and doubled the recipe. This time, I packaged the cookies very neatly, so we would all be discouraged from eating them again.

First, start with some ground hazelnut meal (which I purchased at my health food store). You can also use whole hazelnuts, toasted, and ground to a fine flour in the food processor. Add the sugar, matzo cake meal (or all purpose flour), and salt.

Now, mix in the melted butter and egg.



Stir until combined, cover, and refrigerate for thirty minutes.


Form cookies into tablespoon-sized balls. Chill again for 15-20 minutes. Push one chocolate disk onto the top of each dough ball. Bake for 9-11 minutes, making sure that the cookies do not burn.



These cookies earned a ton of praise. Everybody loved them, and as they went back for second and thirds, I felt a little less guilty for devouring two batches.

Hazelnut chocolate thumbprint cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Gourmet

1 1/3 cup ground hazelnut meal (or 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and ground)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup matzo cake meal (or 1 cup plus one tablespoon all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Chocolate baking discs or chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Combine the hazelnut meal, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
3. Stir in melted butter and beaten egg. Continue mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and throw into the refrigerator for a half hour. (Note: When I made my second batch, I left the dough in there for a few hours and it was fine, although a little more difficult to shape.)
4. Remove from refrigerator and, using a one tablespoon cookie scoop, loosely scoop batter and roll it into balls.
5. Chill shaped balls for 15-20 minutes. Press a chocolate disc on top of each ball, pushing down rather firmly.
6. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool. (Be super careful not to over-bake the cookies. The bottoms of the cookie should be very lightly toasted.)


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