With Christmas just around the corner, it’s now officially time to start panicking. If your cookie jars are still half-empty, you’re in for some serious baking. Luckily, I’ve got a fabulous cookie recipe for you – flaky, nutty, buttery and versatile.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. When I say “buttery”, I actually mean “lardy”. They could be buttery if you insist on using butter, but I advise you not to. It is in your best interest to use lard. Pork fat is some pretty awesome stuff. Trust me.
Lard, as it turns out, is actually better for you than butter. Believe it or not, lard is mostly unsaturated fat, the kind that is better for you, while butter is mostly saturated fat. And that’s just one of many reasons why you should start using lard, especially in baking.
Cookies and pie crusts made with lard are insanely good. Lard makes them extra flaky, but not crumbly. The texture is hard to describe, really. They’re crisp, but so gentle and fragile that they instantly melt in your mouth.
Bear in mind that lard will sometimes bring a more savory note to your baking which can add a nice complexity and depth. This is true for these hazelnut cookies. They’re wonderfully nutty, but not sweet, which is why dulce de leche filling works magic here. Nutella pairs wonderfully with these little cookies, as well. I filled some of the cookies with raspberry jam, but I wasn’t impressed. If you opt for the jam filling, I suggest you use a sweeter jam or dust the cookies heavily with powdered sugar.
Prep time: + dough chilling time
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
40g sour cream
130g ground hazelnuts
400-420g all-purpose flour
Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 3 hours, preferably over night.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a well floured surface, roll dough until it’s 3-5 mm thick. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheets. Re-roll scraps and cut out shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven as soon as they start to get color on the edges. They should stay light in color and only get a slight light-brown color on the bottom. While hot, the cookies are still a bit soft but once they cool down, they firm up. Cool completely on wire rack before filling. Plain cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
raspberry jam (or any other flavor you like)
melted dark chocolate (to decorate the cookies)