January 26th, 2010

The Perfect Dunking Hazelnut Biscuits

They are crispy and crunchy and that’s exactly what makes these biscuits the prefect dunkers. It’s amazing the kind of topics that make an interesting conversation and those that turn into a pleasant but pointless debate.

The topic to dunk or not to dunk is one we had quite recently. Why……I’m still not entirely sure but I’m a sucker for dunking and therefore like crispy biscuits. I’m not sure about soft biscuits or cookies with no “back bone”,they are the ones that as soon as you dunk them in your tea or coffee then they go all soggy and plop to the bottom. No this simply does not work for me, my biscuits need to stay firm once dunked into a hot cup of tea or coffee. Mr.P likes soft biscuits and he’s not a dunker, he eats them straight without the need for a cup of tea. I do not appreciate that preference as for me having a biscuit and a cup of tea or coffee is all part of the romance of making a tired day better, like a little kiss on the tongue.

Another topic up for discussion was which drink is suited for which biscuits. I think there are certain biscuits suited for tea but not necessarily for coffee and vice versa. For example a shortbread is made for tea, Earl Grey to be precise, then hazelnut and chocolate biscuits are perfect for coffee. Cranberry and orange for traditional English breakfast tea or Lady grey with almond and lemon and so the list goes on. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on this subject but the main point of this perfectly pointless conversation is the enjoyment, satisfaction and relief that we get from it.

I made these hazelnut biscuits with the addition of bicarbonate of soda, this makes the biscuit dough fizzy when baking and gives the biscuits that extra crispy crunch. Remember to use a level teaspoon and not a heaped one, as too much of the white fizzy stuff effects the taste and that’s not particularly nice. I also used whole hazelnuts, you can if you want chop them a little bit or use the base of a heavy saucepan to gently crush them. If you chop them too much they disintegrate and almost disappear, I like to see my hazelnuts nice and chunky.

Replace the hazelnuts with dried cranberries and add the zest of one orange for a  seasonal twist.

  • 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1tsp of vanilla essence or the seeds of one vanilla pod
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g hazelnuts, lightly crushed

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or use non-stick baking trays.

Place the soft butter and sugar in a the bowl of a mixer and cream until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment. If you are using vanilla seeds cream them with the sugar and butter.

Add the egg and whip until creamy, if you are using vanilla essence add it with the egg to the butter mixture.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the creamed butter mixture and add the lightly crushed hazelnuts, mix in gently, do not over work the biscuit dough.

Make even size balls, I use a teaspoon as a guide for the size.

Space the biscuits on the prepared baking trays leaving at least 5 cm gaps, this allows the cookies to expand and bake evenly (in the winter I press the balls down slightly as the dough will be cold and stiff this will encourage them to spread evenly), bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes.

Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store the biscuits in a air tight container for up to one week.

Makes about 50 biscuits.

Food Fanatics Tips
Add 200g milk or white chocolate chips to the biscuit dough and reduce the hazelnuts to 50g. Alternatively replace the hazelnuts with 200g dried cranberries and add the zest of one orange for a tasty twist.

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15 Comments to “The Perfect Dunking Hazelnut Biscuits”

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  1. Jane says:

    I only had ground hazelnuts, so I used 100g of ground hazelnuts and reduced the flour to 275g. It worked beautifully – these are obviously fail-proof biscuits! thank you.

  2. Helen says:

    I made these with 100g dark chocolate and 50g hazelnuts as I had some which needed using up. They were lovely and light and didn’t last long! . I want to make some plain/spiced biscuits using this mix without nuts or chocolate. Do you think it will work or do I need to change the proportions? Thank you!

  3. Barry says:

    Another treat for my work collegues. They absolutely loved these biscuits. Thanks for the recipie, so simple and my first attempt at baking has been a success

  4. Julia says:

    Just made these. Lovely. Definately need to be flattened with a fork before baking. I also toasted the crushed hazlenuts first for added flavour.

  5. Matt says:

    Just made some of these and they are great, I would advise after rolling the dough into balls, squash each ball a bit flat when you put them on the tray, it stopped my ‘bigger’ efforts from rising too much.

    That said, I don’t think any of them will last the week!

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