The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Christmas cookies- this year's addition: Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

dstroy's picture

Christmas cookies- this year's addition: Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

This week has been the week of baking lots of Christmas cookies - this year I've been doing the cookie baking (Floyd's still in charge of supplying our dinner breads ;) Im nowhere near making those pretty sourdoughs myself!)


Yesterday I made a big batch of Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. I didn't have any lemons on hand to add the rind so I substituted some lemon juice (and only after dropping it in did it occur to me that with the baking soda in there I might have been producing a volcano, but luckily nothing of the sort occurred and the cookies turned out delicious) and I separated the icing into different bowls and added some color and let the kids paint the cookies with little paintbrushes so they were nice and festive. I'd forgotten that the cookies grew a little bit, so they held their shape but did spread out a little.



The exciting new thing I tried this year came about after an accidental purchase of too much Nutella. I'd not seen the double-jars I had hidden in the back of the pantry and had purchased yet another jar - well with all that Nutella something has to be done!

Someone sent me a link to this recipe and I decided to try it. The recipe there was a bit more uptight than my patience allows, so here is the slightly simplified version of what I made:


Start with roasting the hazelnuts: I got a bag of shelled hazelnuts in the bulk section and spread them on a pan and broiled them until they were toasted. I used about 1 1/2 cups. Next, put them in a little food processor to chop them into little crumbs. (As it turns out, I'm hearing that most folks peel the skin off the nuts when they roast them - I didnt do this and think they taste fine, particularly with such a sweet cookie. I'm also finding that the skins are actually better for you - does anyone know why the norm is to peel them?)

Next, the dough:

Into the bowl of a mixer, beat until creamy a stick of butter and ½ cup sugar until it starts to get fluffy (I skipped the step of waiting to bring it to room temperature, but it didn't seem to matter - this helped too with not having to wait to chill the dough later)

Separate out 2 egg yolks, saving the whites in a smaller bowl for later use, and add the yolks in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla

Then add 1¼ cups all-purpose flour,

1/8 tsp. coarse salt

and ¼ tsp. baking soda slowly until combined

Preheat oven to 325° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a shallow bowl, mix the chopped hazelnuts with about 2-3 Tablespoons of sugar (to taste)

Roll the dough into small balls and then dip in the whites and then roll them in the nut mixture before placing them on the parchment with about an inch of space between them.

Squish a little hole in the center of each dough-ball to make a depression with a finger or little spoon, then bake for 10 minutes at 325° F

Remove and using a small spoon, squish the hole again, as it will grow a little bit puffy, before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes.


Allow them to cool a few minutes then move them to a rack, fill with a spoonful of Nutella. (Microwave at 30 seconds to get the chocolate stuff melty and runny)

Throw them in the fridge for a bit to let them set a bit, but these are going to be goopy even cooled.





davidg618's picture


Your cookies look awesome! all of them.

I think the only reason people peel hazlenuts is looks. I make hazlenut-citron biscotti, and I've peeled the nuts by boiling them (5 to 8 minutes) until the skins loosen, and brushing them with a stiff fingernail brush, then I roast them. It's a bit of work, but when they are peeled and roasted they break into two halves neatly. I don't chop them any finer; I lke their mouthful and burst of hazelnut flavor in the biscotti. I dice the candied lemon rind into a similar size for the same reason.

And thank you for all the support you give to this website. It is appreciated.

Merry Christmas

David G

jackie9999's picture

I had to google how to peel hazelnuts when I made the Cappuccino Biscotti last week. I roasted them at 350 for 15 minutes ..then let cool and the skins rubbed off. The site said that roasting the nut makes it expand (the oils). When it cools the nut shrinks back and the skin flakes off. I wondered if I would bother doing that the next time I made them. I thought perhaps if you leave the skins on, the hazelnuts might not 'stick' to the dough and fall out of the cut biscotti.

Beautiful cookies by the way!

dstroy's picture

That link in my post had another way to roast the nuts and get the skins off, but I didnt understand why all the work if they were just going to be crushed anyway! :)

Having said that, in googling trying to find the answer of *why* I did run across several medical studies which appear to imply that the skins are actually good for you - full of antioxidants apparently. Hey, we can *pretend* we eat the cookies for health reasons, right? ;)

AnnaInMD's picture

the fact that it stays gooey. I just did some Chocolate-Marzipan cookies with Nutella and now I am wondering if maybe mixing it with some gelatine, it might set up a bit.


Beautiful cookies, btw. Bet the children had fun decorating. That was always a fun day in our house.

dstroy's picture

Floyd had the fun idea of adding a roasted hazelnut into the center of these guys - certainly makes them slightly less messy (or at least protects them a little with a little "hat" :)

whosinthekitchen's picture

This sounds like a fabulous cookie!

 I have added a bit of cocoa to nutella to stiffen it up a little...

Another baker suggested to add powdered sugar.... 

Nutella has a great story of its beginning....  

More cookies, Please

whosinthekitchen: Lisa


AnnaInMD's picture

add a bit of cocoa and/or powdered sugar to the Nutella.

Much appreciated !


Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Mmm. I've been thinking about adding thumbprints to my Christmas cookie lineup, and these look fantastic. Thank you.

I was under the impression that nut skins are often removed because there is some bitternes associated with them (as well as for looks). But I prefer the look of yours with the dark flecks---and the antioxidants are a plus. For the Thumbprints in Rose's Christmas Cookies, she wrote: "In this particular dough, the dark skin of the hazelnuts adds a pleasant taste." So to each, his own :-)

For a pretty chocolate center that will set for you, try Brach's chocolate stars. Press them in while the cookies are still warm from the oven. And have Floyd make you some croissants to split and spread with the Nutella. Yum!

dstroy's picture

Oh chocolate stars would be pretty! (Though I have to admit, I simply love the taste of Nutella, even if it's gooey) :) - Floyd added an extra roasted hazelnut in the center and said that it was great too - certainly helps with the stacking problem to have a nut there too.

Also, I have to admit with the super-sweet Nutella center, a slight bitterness is well counteracted by the chocolatey center.

Definitely we've talked about having Nutella crepes soon. Good idea on the croissants.

For Christmas, he decorated a lovely loaf with flour over some snowflake cutouts!


(Pretty, even with the smear caused by some distractions in the room.) ;)