For Christmas this year, why not try Sophie Topfeather’s favorite cookies? They’re made by her grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl of the Park, who does everything well–too well, if you ask her. This is the one thing he does well that Sophie does NOT find annoying!
The Great Wise Horned Owl’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies:
Gather enough hazelnuts to make 1/2 cup when chopped.
Choose a moonless, preferably foggy, night for baking. You don’t want to alarm any people by the sight of smoke rising from your tree.
1/2 cup butter, room temperature.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 squares semisweet chocolate, melted
1 cup flour, stir before measuring
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To prepare the hazelnuts, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Transfer the nuts to a dish towel and let them steam briefly. Then rub them in the towel until the skin flakes off. Cool completely before using.
Once the nuts are cool, put them in a small bowl and chop them finely with your sharp talons. A knife would also work on a cutting board, but be careful and have an adult nearby.
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in salt and sugar. Add egg; beat well. Blend in vanilla and chocolate. Mix in flour, then chopped hazelnuts, mixing until well blended. Drop by level tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets. Stamp lightly with a flat bottom glass covered with a damp cloth.
If desired, sprinkle more finely chopped hazelnuts over the top of each cookie. Bake for about 15 minutes, until done.
Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies.
Original recipe from http://southernfood.about.com. Sophie Topfeather and the Great Wise Horned Owl of the Park are characters in my upcoming novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather!