I love hearing people say they have the best boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. To be so in love that you are absolutely convinced none can compare to your own is such a wonderful and secure feeling. This is how I feel about my Valentine.
My Valentine is a goof and sweetheart. He likes to help me mince garlic and make pie crusts. He sometimes forgets to close the cabinet doors and always neatly folds the laundry. He makes the best limeades and Valentine’s Day cards. Any guesses?
This is my first Valentine’s Day away from Karl, which is not terribly tragic since we don’t make a big fuss about the holiday. Nonetheless, I wanted to send him my love in the form of a baked good. I was limited to treats that could stand the long journey across the country. Sugar cookies were the obvious choice, but I didn’t want to settle on that simple idea.
I wanted to make him something just as delicious, if not more, and something very special. All the brainstorming was happening while I was sipping a hazelnut latte at the Thinking Cup Coffeehouse. I was enjoying the latte so much that I strayed from the task at hand. Then, with my last sip, the idea for these cookies came to me.
Hazelnuts are delicious in all shapes and forms, so I was sure the addition of them in sugar cookies would make for a tasty treat. I baked these cookies for 7 minutes, gave them 10 seconds to cool, then popped one into my mouth straight from the tray. I was thrilled because they were delicious. The delicate flavor of hazelnuts in these cookies was absolutely perfect.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, soften
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- ½ packed cup hazelnut flour (finely ground hazelnuts)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons Meringue Powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 3½ tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one egg at a time. Add the flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 5 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, until completely firm. The dough won't cut out nicely if it isn't firm and cold, so don't skip this step.
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Sprinkle lots of flour on your work surface, and reserve a small handful of flour off to the side. Turn your dough out on the floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin to ¼ inch thick. Coat the rim of your cookie cutter with the flour that was reserved off to the side. Cut out the dough, and place them one inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wired cooling rack.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and the Meringue Powder. With an electric mixer, slowly mix in the vanilla extract and water (add more water if needed). Frost over cooled cookies.