Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hazelnut Macaroons

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from Oh Nuts.  He wanted to give me some of their products to let me bake with.  He let me choose from their whole line of dried fruits and nuts.  I loved being able to have my pick of their stuff.  They offer quite a selection.  I especially like how they have unsalted nuts and ground nuts which are great for baking. 

I also noted that the prices are pretty reasonable and if there is anything that I ever want to bake with that isn't so readily available at my local supermarket, I will probably use Oh Nuts.  Right around the time I was contacted, I had been thinking about making something with hazelnuts.  So after much browsing, I requested a bag of their unsalted hazelnuts and also the ground hazelnuts.

My order was promptly put through and my nuts arrived a few days later.  I was given full size, one pound bags of both products, along with a small bag of smoked almonds.  I ate the almonds before I could take a picture, but they were delicious!

Since then I've been looking forward to making some hazelnut baked goods.  I found so many recipes, that I didn't know where to start!  Hazelnut shortbread, hazelnut sugar cookies, hazelnut snowballs, hazelnut cake?  I found this recipe for Hazelnut biscuits from salted lemons.  The cookies looked so dainty and pretty.  The ingredient list looked simple and seemed to allow you to really enjoy the hazelnut flavor rather than have it get lost in chocolate or coffee or something else (though I love the blend of those ingredients too). 

I did have some reservations about the recipe.  I'm not a baking expert, but I couldn't imagine how the ingredients listed could possibly turn into the picture on the site.  The recipe is translated, and I think something got lost in the translation.  Egg whites, sugar, lemon and ground hazelnuts are what the recipe called for.  I imagined something that would look a bit like meringues or macaroons.  I don't know how it could turn into the uniformly brown colored and crackled cookies pictured on the site.  So I wasn't surprised when my cookies came out nothing like the picture.  They pretty much looked like the ugly things I pictured they would look like.  But they tasted great.  Like chewy hazelnut macaroons. 

If anyone can figure out how to make the beautiful cookies from the salted lemon's site, please let me know!  Meanwhile, I'll be using this recipe from now on to make hazelnut macaroons.

Ingredients
4 egg whites
1ts. lemon juice
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 cups finely ground hazelnuts

1. Whisk
the egg whites to stiff mass, during the beating slowly add powdered
sugar and lemon juice.

2. When it forms thick peaks, carefully add the
ground hazelnuts and mix with a spatula. Heat the oven to about 100 º
C. Place a large spoonful of batter onto the tray.  T(he macaroons don't really spread, so shape as best as you can and to desired size.  I tried to make mine flat and circular.)

3. Cookies are left to be dried in the oven for a long time
–like meringues – until golden in color and non-sticky on the surface. Remove from oven, separate from paper and arrange to cool on a wire
rack. (No time was given.  Because they cook at such a low temperature, they don't really overcook.  I left mine in the over for about 40 minutes.)

The cookies aren't very photogenic, but they are very yummy.  If you like chewy foods and you like hazelnuts, then you should try these out.

 

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