Friday, January 18, 2008

Cactus! Cactus! Sammies

One of my friends was very encouraging about my last post. I found this note on my facebook wall yesterday afternoon shortly after sending her home with a few muffins to share with her bf, "the banana muffins were excellent. i just ate three and then fell asleep at my desk."

I've never tried eating three in a row, but now I know what to try next time I can't sleep. 

In reality, I think she was exhausted from driving me across chicago and back in the snow to find the roasted salted hazelnuts I needed to satisfy a strong double urge: baking + nutella.

I shamelessly bribed her with fervent vows to hand deliver these to her today...

Cactus! Cactus! Sammies

If you can't secure any roasted salted hazelnuts... 
Dust with a solid dusting of fine sea salt and pop into a 350 oven until fragrant:
3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
Cool slightly and blitz until fine in your food processor.

Whisk together in a med. bowl and set aside:
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Beat in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with a hand beater until fluffy:
2 sticks of butter
1 generous cup sugar
  add and mix well:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla

Slowly add dry mixture to butter on med/low, and mix until dough comes together. 

Divide dough into two rounds, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 mins (or up to a few days)

When you're ready to bake the cookies, roll out one round of dough on a lightly floured surface (flour your rolling pin too) turning it quarter turns between passes with the rolling pin to 1/8 of an inch thick. 

With a mini-cactus cookie cutter (mine's from Sur la Table) cut cookies and lay carefully on a baking sheet-- bake til golden and cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transfering to a rack. Frost half the cookies with Nutella, topping it with the other half to make sandwiches when the cookies cool. 

Repeat with the second round of dough then call all your friends to help you eat your 60 + cookies. (Or freeze the second one and bake before a month is up).

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