Saturday, February 11, 2012

Toasted Hazelnut + Black Pepper Cocktail Cookies

I overdo it, I know. There have been SO MANY recipes for cookies on the blog. But I love them! Humor me and go ahead and put these in a new category: they're cocktail cookies, not too sweet, and they're meant to accompany a drink or maybe a nice glass of Cotes du Rhone.

So, why not treat these like crackers and eat them with cheese? An aged manchego or an aged brie will do the trick. I added some hazelnut oil that adds a savoriness and an extra layer of flavor in baking. All in all, these cocktail cookies are the right mix of salty and sweet. Note that I leave the skins of the hazelnuts on -- they add to the savory effect.

Toasted Hazelnut + Black Pepper Cocktail Cookies
(Makes 2 dozen)

3/4 cup hazelnuts (chopped)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
cracked black pepper (about 7 turns of the mill)
+ more Maldon salt for topping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts for thirty seconds in the microwave. Jiggle them and toast them again for 30 seconds. Repeat more time, and set aside. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside. Cream the oil, butter, cream, and sugars. Add egg and vanillas and combine. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix. Add hazelnuts and stir them into the batter.

Portion cookie dough out into one-inch mounds with a small ice cream scoop or spoon. Place these onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Before baking, sprinkle cookies with a pinch of Maldon salt and smash them slightly with the palm of your hand to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until they are golden brown.


  1. For the cookies, I used what I had at hand, so I did not completely follow recipe: I used a nut mix instead of only hazelnuts, walnut oil instead of hazelnut oil and a 1/4 cup cane sugar - 1/2 cup light brown sugar mix. They turned out really great. Next time I will use less sugar and more pepper/salt to have more savory cookies. Best thing about the recipe: it's a really easy and quick way to put some cookies on the table.

    One question about the recipe: why a combination of vanilla powder and extract? I only have extract so I used that one.

    Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your recipes and will try some more later on (thinking about the caprese tart for dinner, but I will need to substitute the mascarpone because I don't have that in my fridge for the moment)."

  2. Made these after the muffins this morning-A friend of mine just lost her husband and I wanted to bring her something special when I see her tomorrow.

    I have never thought of savory cookies, but it really is a brilliant idea. Nuts and a little sweetness. Well, maybe a little too much sweetness? They were a little sweeter than I'd like. Also, vanilla powder? Where do you get that? You have more forms of vanilla than I've even heard of... I'm a little jealous! (Vanilla is my favorite.)