Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Danish Hazelnut Butter Cookies Two Ways


After a welcome respite from hosting Thanksgiving, my husband and I have the house and yard decorated and now I'm ready to start baking for Christmas!  The first new recipe I wanted to try were these flaky and delicate Danish Hazelnut Butter Cookies from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. 


Filled with toasted and ground hazelnuts, I topped each cookie with a whole hazelnut before baking, because I LOVE hazelnuts.  Not to worry if hazelnuts aren't your thing. You could easily substitute pecans or almonds in this recipe with great results. 


Never one to leave a good thing alone, I was inspired by some thumbprint cookies I had seen on Pinterest and decided to try the idea with the same hazelnut cookie dough and created Hazelnut Caramel and Chocolate Cookies. A marriage made in cookie heaven!  You will find instructions for both variations below. 


It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  We had our first measurable snowfall early this week.  Even though much of has melted already, I couldn't help snap a few shots while the tree limbs were coated with pristine, white snow in the evening. 


Have you done any holiday baking yet? What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?

Danish Hazelnut Butter Cookies

Printable Recipe

Makes about 48 cookies

2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh baking powder
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 300F to toast the nuts. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Allow to cool and place in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground, being careful not to turn the nuts into a paste.

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the egg and mix until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder and chopped hazelnuts and mix just until incorporated. Gather dough together and place in a smaller bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F.

Place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a large, rimmed baking sheet. 

Shape dough into balls about the size of small walnuts and place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press tops of cookies with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Top each with a whole hazelnut, if desired.

Bake for about 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Hazelnut, Caramel, Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Use same recipe as above to make cookie dough.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Roll chilled dough into 1" balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each piece of dough.

Bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and, using the back of a round, 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, press lightly into each indentation in cookie, being careful not to break cookie. Cool completely.

To Make Caramel Filling:

14 Vanilla Caramels, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons heavy (double) cream

In a small saucepan, melt caramels and cream together over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth. Spoon about a teaspoon of caramel mixture into the center of each cookie. Cool completely.

To Make Chocolate Drizzle:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening or butter

Microwave for 30 second intervals until just melted, stirring after each interval. Allow to cool slightly and pour into a small pastry bag fitted with a tip with small round hole and pipe back and forth onto cooled cookies. Allow chocolate to cool completely. Refrigerating cookies will help the chocolate to set.

Basic cookie recipe adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojankangas.

52 comments:

  1. I love any cookies with nuts. These cookies look so very festive and beautiful.

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  2. There's nothing prettier than the first snow, is there? I miss that, but not all the days that follow. I do wish, however, we'd get a touch of cool. Not a lot, just a bit.
    Loving your cookies...now that my family is scattered, I don't make as many holiday cookies, except as gifts. The only ones I've made so far this year are the chocolate vanilla swirls I posted a long while back. My kids really love them and they insist upon chocolate as an ingredient. There's a bunch in the freezer right now.
    I am making some savory crackers tomorrow for my book group Christmas party. Ina's, of course. :)

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    1. The weather forecast is saying we may get several days of snow through the weekend and beyond! I don't bake nearly as much as I used to where our girls were living at home, Barbara, but I love having Christmas treats for our grandsons. I'm going to come over and find those swirl cookies, Barbara. Thanks!

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  3. These look wonderful! I love that you can get two for one too! The snow is making me a bit homesick for Wisconsin!

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    1. Two for one :) It's when it's still snowing in March that it gets a little tiresome. We didn't have much snow last year so we might be overdo.

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  4. I'm printing right now this lovely recipe, perfect for Christmas baskets !A warm hug

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! I think the plain ones were my favorite but that's just me :) Hugs for you, Dear.

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  5. I love this post!
    I have always loved your mini house..looks like an artist's studio:)And since you are an artist..how fitting.I especially love it this time of year..
    uncanny I made some thumbprints this morning..then we went to Costco..and so contray to the spirit of Christmas..the basket was filled with things Jacques could not resist..after all this is the holiday he anticipates every year..and we bought tourtières fixin's..
    Your snowmen are cute cute..the boys cute cute and cute..and the cookies look delish.

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    1. We love our mini too, Monique. We spotlight the door all year to brighten the dark yard but during the holidays there's a wreath on the door that the big tree is hiding. Too bad it's not heated, it would be a fun artist's retreat :) We have a trip to Costco planned for tomorrow and I love that John enjoys shopping there with me too ♥ I would have loved seeing what was in your cart :)

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  6. Hi Susan, I wish it snowed here, it would seem more like Christmas. Lovely cookies, will try both ways. Gorgeous photos. Happy Holidays!!

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    1. But that's why you live there ;) I'm sure it's the only time of year you would like it, honestly, but it is pretty to look at during the holidays. Hope you enjoy the cookies, Cheri! If you like hazelnuts I think you will :) Thank you!

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  7. Oh that's the same baker you featured awhile ago. These sound just delightful to me...nice and light with the wonderful flavor of hazelnut. I adore hazelnut everything.

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    1. Yes, several times, Vee :) They are nice and light and the plains ones would be perfect with coffee or tee. Thank you, Vee!

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  8. Oh, who could choose, cookies are a weakness. Probably sugar cookies, but I love Creme de Menthe bars and Cherry Chocolate bars, and, and, and!

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    1. Thank you, Jacqueline! Creme de Menthe bars sound wonderful!

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  9. too many choices for one glorious cookie... I can't decide so I will have both. OK?

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  10. Beautiful little cookies! You've officially gotten me into the baking mode.

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  11. These are both just lovely Susan - but I especially love the thumbprints. Wish we had some snow to go with our decorations! Send it our way - happy baking!

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    1. Looks like we have more coming, I'll see what I can do :) Thanks, Tricia!

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  12. Oh Susan, these cookie look so delicate and I love the hazelnuts in it...I love both versions...and can only imagine these melting in my mouth...
    Hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. They are delicious and delicate, Juliana. Thanks so much!

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  13. Wow, I'm not quite ready for snow, but it is beautiful!!! I'm loving your second version---I can't resist a thumbprint filled with caramel!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Liz! Chocolate and caramel are such a great combo :)

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  14. The holidays have arrived at your house. Love the cookies! Love the snowfall.

    Velva

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    1. Yes, indeed, Velva :) Still much to do, as always! Thank you!

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  15. What beautiful photos! All cookies are my favorite. I love anything with chocolate but sometimes I yearn for an old fashioned shortbread. And these butter cookies would make my list, too! Hope you have a wonderful holiday Susan!

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    1. I love shortbread too, Abbe, and will have some made before Christmas arrives. Thanks so much!

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  16. I loved everything about this post, it gave me a real smile. Great sounding cookies and wonderful photos. After having lived in New Hampshire for so long and dealing with lots of snow I think that is the perfect amount…makes everything look so pretty.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! I loved that beautiful New England home of yours. I'm sure you don't miss the snow that much :)

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  17. I usually put jam in my thumbprint cookies, but I'll try the caramel next time. We got our first taste of snow yesterday. My area doesn't do well in bad weather. Everybody panics and the roads are a mess. It's a good time to stay home and bake cookies. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, Susan.

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    1. I've read about the snow in the PNW and some of the airport cancellations and school snow days. Merry Christmas to you and your family too, Cathy and thank you!

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  18. Susan, what wonderful cookies, look amazing !!
    Love this post!!
    Hugs!

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  19. these look wonderful and your garden so pretty dressed in snow. Merry christmas lovely lady.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca. We got another good snowfall yesterday :) Merry Christmas!

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  20. These look like they'd be a nice addition to the holiday table. As always your photos are so pretty. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday filled with lots of cheer!

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    1. Thanks so much, Vicki! It is feeling a lot like Christmas here :)

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  21. Susan, thank you for sharing those delicious-looking cookie recipes! I love traditional shortbread cookies or spice cookies and my kids love anything with chocolate chips :) Your yard looks dreamy covered in all that snow! I need to get my kids to some snow sometime in the near future, they've never seen it!

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    1. I love a traditional shortbread too, Marcelle - a favorite! I'm sure your little ones would love playing in the snow. It's driving in it that isn't much fun :)

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  22. As I type this, our schools are closed today due a measurable snowfall and my husband is a happy camper :-) The snow came during the night and it is so pretty outside right now. Love your little house Susan. It's time to get my snowmen out and bake some cookies :-)

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    1. We had a Winter Storm Warning all day yesterday and had to drive across town to brunch with Santa. John had white knuckles - LOL. Thank you, Debbie xo

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  23. Oh these cookies look lovely! I really like hazelnuts a lot and will be pinning these to try.

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  24. Oh those cookies look delicious. I have some homemade dulce de leche (very thick) that would be perfect in place of the caramel for the center of the cookie. Will try!

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  25. Love these cookies! But I love most of all your beautiful photos of the snow outside and your Christmas ornament of your grandchildren. I too have a collection of photo ornaments of my grandkids - we treasure those every year. Have a great week Sue!!

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  26. Yes, cookie time for sure and I'm about through with it for the season, just might have to make this one. They look delicious, Susan! I don't think I've ever had a hazelnut cookie, a new one for me. Thanks for the recipe and take care.

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  27. I have only made one kind of cookie so far. Frosted Eiffel Tower sugar cookies. I love hazelnuts so would love to try these. Hope you are having a happy holiday season Susan.

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  28. I really want to try these, they look wonderful. I think I'll go with the first version - the whole hazelnut. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
    Amalia
    xo

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  29. I wanted to make some thumbprint cookies this year and lost track of time, but I'm certainly saving this hazelnut with caramel recipe for next year's new recipe to try. Your photos are SO pretty and festive! You've got the shutterbug talent! Happy 2017 Susan!

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