I know it can be next to impossible to find time to do something relatively time-consuming, like baking cookies, this time of year, but cookies (and Christmas) are for baking! Some of my fondest memories are of spending the entire day(s) holed up in the kitchen with my quite ambitious mom who intricately tied little plaid bows around the necks of her bell-adorned reindeer. I’m not saying you need to go so far as to play dress-up with your treats, but I do think that the simple pleasures, sweet smells, floury little fingerprints, and glitter-covered countertop are well worth a couple hours around the oven.
Let the little ones help! Pull up the stool or a chair, accept there’s going to be some cleanup, and help them get their hands dirty. Measuring and counting is a great mini math lesson for all ages and scooping and piping helps develop those fine motor skills. If you manage to gift these before they end up in your belly that can be a lesson as well!
These hazelnut thumbprint cookies are totally worth going the extra mile to make the switch from the usual peanut butter. It makes the cookies feel extra special, and, if you will, teaches the kiddos a little something about how nut flours and butters are made.
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup hazelnut butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1¾ cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1 cup whole hazelnuts
- sea salt, optional
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a mixer, cream butter, hazelnut butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla, milk, & egg and mix until combined.
- Sift flour, baking soda, and salt and add to wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet leaving space between each cookie. Bake for 6-8 minutes, remove from oven and use your thumb or a spoon to make indentations in the center of each cookie. Pipe about 1 tsp of Nutella into the center of each cookie, top with a hazelnut, and return to the oven for 2 minutes.
- Let cool on cookie sheet for five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Top with sea salt as desired. If gifting cookies, refrigerate overnight to set the Nutella for cleaner stacking.
- If making your own hazelnut butter, blend about ¼ pound of nuts (skins mostly removed) in a blender for 3-5 minutes. To remove skins, roast hazelnuts at 400F for 7-10 minutes, wrap in a clean kitchen towel, and roll to remove. I used about ½ pound of hazelnuts for both the butter and garnish.