Thursday, December 4, 2008

HazelNut SnowBalls

These are simple and easy cookies made with hazelnuts and rolled in powdered or confectioners sugar.Hazelnuts or Cob Nuts are widely used in confectionaries and hazelnut butter is an excellent spread.If you still do not know,delicious 'Nutella' is hazelnut and chocolate spread. I got this recipe from a magazine site and since I had hazelnuts on hand I tried it.

Ingredients:

Hazelnuts: 1/4 cup roasted
All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter: 1/2 stick cold cut into pieces
Finely Powdered sugar/Confectioners Sugar: 7 tbsp+
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp

Preparation:

You can use store bought shelled/chopped and even roasted hazelnuts.I had unshelled hazelnuts,so I had to shell them and roast them.I shelled around 30-40 of these.You can roast these by spreading them on a baking sheet and roasting them at 350F for 10-12 minutesuntil they are browned.Then wrap these on a cloth towel and nice rub it till the brown skins come off.Then pick out the nuts and finely chop them into fine pieces by hand or processor.I managed to remove most of the brown skins,but since I was running out of patience,I allowed some to retain it.

Once the nuts are finely chopped,add half of the sugar and blend,then add vanila,cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces and blend well.Add the flour in batches and blend until a dry crumbly dough is just formed.Keep the rest of the sugar in a plate big enough for rolling the cookies.

Pinch pieces of dough and spread one inch apart on a ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 325F for 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.Pull it out and cool for 2 minutes.The cookies will still be crumbly and delicate.Gently take a cookie by hand and roll it in confectioners sugar and place it in another plate.Do so for all the cookies.You can see that within a minute,as the cookie cools more,the sugar will melt and form a creamy layer on the cookie-the cookie will look like it is topped with white choco chip.Allow the rolled cookies to cool for 5-6 minutes and then again roll them in sugar.Allow to cool completely and then serve.


The cookies are moist and flaky -with the cold butter creating the flakes and sugar adding moistness.For me one or two came out crunchy,but most of them were soft and melt in the mouth.I baked in batches and also finely chopped the nuts-so the difference came I suppose.So I rested the dough to cool in fridge while baking one batch.

The above estimate gives about 1 dozen + cookies.The actual recipe here was for 64 cookies/snowballs,but I was not sure I wanted to crack that many hazelnut shells and also end up with a load of sugary cookies.So I reduced the recipe to one fourth.Also the recipe mentioned around 2 cups of sugar-3/4th of it was for rolling only,which I slashed as per my taste.But still,they are sugary sweet and roasted nuts can be tasted-roasting brings out the flavour.They are a sweet lovers delight.If you want to bite into them or make them crunchier do not chop/process these finely but do so roughly.They are a bit messy,sugar is left everywhere they are kept.Exactly like snowflakes I must add. :)



'And last but not least add your love to make them yummy.'

Well you guessed it right,these melt-in-the-mouth snowball cookies are on their way to Lubna of KitchenFlavours, where she is hosting FIC: White and what better than wintery snow to celebrate this colourful event started by Sunshinemom of TongueTicklers

Update: These cookies are also on their way to HappyCooks' HomeMade Christmas Gifts.THANKS CHAM for this.



FYI:
Hazelnuts contain a high concentration of vitamin E which prevents oxidation of the polyunsaturated fats, and it is also one of the few nuts which contain vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant and has cancer-preventing properties.The B-group vitamins are also well represented in hazelnuts, particularly vitamin B5 and B6. Moreover, hazelnuts are an excellent source of minerals, particularly the minerals manganese, selenium and zinc,but they are bit low in protein.(Source:A2Z of health & Beauty-Online health magazine)

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