Hazelnut Caramel Christmas Cookies

IMG_20141214_194651Christmas is literally just around the corner, and for the past few weeks my thoughts have been occupied with delicious festive recipes. I’ve been super busy at work recently, so – to my disappointment – I haven’t been able to do any major baking; instead I’ve been lusting over everybody else’s bakes and dreaming up my own ideas for home made xmas gifts (always dreaming…). I’ve got all the gear ready: little individual brown boxes, tissue paper, streams of ribbon, tags ready to personalise with my new ‘baked by beth’ stamp. I’m just waiting for the perfect work-free opportunity to get the ball rolling. I’m thinking of a selection along the lines of macarons (of course!!), marshmallows, honey comb, fudge- all the good stuff!!! I will be posting some recipes for these once the ball begins to roll. So watch this space. I have, however, managed to wrap all my Christmas presents- and I must admit- they look so perfect. Brown paper, red ribbons, hand stamped name tags. Wahhhh. So nice I just want to open them all up myself!

Last week I was in the middle of my daily Instagram stalk and I stumbled across a recipe by @tworedbowls. If you don’t follow this account already, then you must. You’ll discover a Brooklyn-based junior lawyer baking up miniature cakes and experimenting with Korean recipes. You’ll be instantly hooked by the beautiful photography and food styling. You’ll also get some serious photography envy! Damn. I seriously need to up my game. I think a new camera should’ve been on my Xmas list! Anywhoo… the recipe was for rosemary and salted caramel linzer cookies. They looked so festive and cute and delish and cute that I had to try some out for myself. The @tworedbowl recipe sounded divine (and looked it too), but I thought I’d adjust the ingredients to enhance the festive flavours. I exchanged the rosemary for cinnamon and ginger, and rather than using both caster and light brown sugar, I just stuck to the brown stuff. I much prefer the flavour, and I felt it would help with the Christmassy flavours. With the filling I totally cut the corners and bought some caramel from the shop. I was contemplating making dulce de leche myself, but I accepted that at Christmas, it is okay to take the short cut. Plus I was rather short for time- I tried fitting in a million things into my only day off- which meant less time in the kitchen. But the shop-bought caramel tasted great! I opted out of the salt; as much as I swoon at the thought of salted caramel, my family don’t quite have the same appreciation.

Pretty greaseproof patterns...

Pretty greaseproof patterns…

 

INGREDIENTS:

(makes approximately 25 small cookies)

  • 125g of hazelnuts
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of ginger
  • 225g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 90g of light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tin of caramel
    • Grease proof paper
    • Cookie cutters

 

 

 

 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170.
  • Begin by chopping the hazelnuts in a food processor; I didn’t blitz them to a powder as I wanted there to be a bit of crunch and texture to the biscuit. Then place the chopped nuts into a mixing bowl.
  • Sift into the bowl the flour, spices and baking powder, and then combine.
  • In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat the egg and add a little at a time to the butter, along with a little of the dry mixture, to prevent curdling. Keep adding the dry mixture until all ingredients are combined and a dough-like texture begins to form.
  • Once all the mixture is gathered into a ball cling the dough and put it in a fridge to chill for at least an hour.
  • When the dough has chilled roll it out on a floured, clean surface. I rolled the dough out quite thin, but roll to your own preference if need be. Begin by cutting out the bases of the cookies with the cutter. Then cut out an equal amount of cookie tops; at this point I used smaller cutters and cut out different shapes from the centres of the cookies lids. This way a little of the caramel peeks out of the top.
  • Place the cookies on grease proof paper and cook in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes. Do bear in mind that the tops of the cookies (with the hole in the middle) won’t take as long to cook. Remove from the oven when they are golden and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Arrange the bases of the cookies and spoon a small amount of caramel onto each one, then place the lids on top, sealing the two pieces with the sticky caramel. Enjoy warm with a hot chocolate!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

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