The lovely Clotilde Dusoulier from Chocolate & Zucchini has something to say to overly sweet cookies: back off. We suggest serving these with tea — and a healthy pinch of gab.
Hazelnut and Black Pepper Cookies
Makes about twenty
¾ c. whole hazelnuts
1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. rolled spelt
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ c. plus 2 tbsp. butter, chilled and finely diced
2 tbsp. rose, orange, or plain water
1. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool and chop roughly.
2. Combine hazelnuts with the rest of the dry ingredients, from flour to pepper, in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended.
3. Add diced butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers (or a wire pastry blender) until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. Add rose water (or orange or plain) and stir until the dough comes together enough that you can gather it in two balls. (If 2 tbsp. is not enough, add more water, little by little, until the dough reaches the desired consistency.)
5. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and set aside somewhere cool for 1 hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the dough into balls a bit larger than walnuts, flatten them slightly, and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and set. Let stand for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Find more inspiration online at chocolateandzucchini.com.
Photo: Clotilde Dusoulier