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Candied Hazelnut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

COOK TIME
10 mins
PREP TIME
25 mins
YIELDS
18 cookies
RATE THIS RECIPE
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Michelle Lopez / TODAY All Day
COOK TIME
10 mins
PREP TIME
25 mins
YIELDS
18 cookies
RATE THIS RECIPE
(0)

Ingredients

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (between 60% and 70% cacao), from a high-quality chocolate bar roughly chopped into 1- to 1 ½-inch pieces
  • About 1 cup candied hazelnuts (recipe follows)
  • Flaky salt, for garnish
Candied hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Chef notes

Did you know that Oregon grows 99% of the hazelnuts produced in the U.S.? My brother and I live in different states (Pennsylvania and Oregon), so one Christmas, we challenged each other to make holiday cookies that represented where we lived, with our parents judging the winning cookie. I created this recipe, where the candied hazelnuts melt in the chocolate chip cookies, adding toffee textures and caramelized flavors. I won the family contest with this recipe! Though that might be due to the fact that I’m a professional baker ... and my brother is not. Still, I know everyone will absolutely go crazy for this cookie! 

Technique tips: Watch the color of the hazelnuts as you candy them. The color of the mixture will progress from white to golden tan and finally, a dark amber brown. The longer you cook the hazelnuts, the darker and more flavorful they will be. But note that there’s a fine line between toasted and burnt.

I like to reserve a few tablespoons of both the candied hazelnuts and chocolate. After I pull the cookies out of the oven, I sprinkle these ingredients over the cookies for a more finished, beautiful cookie! 

Preparation

For the cookies:

1.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, preheat the oven to 350 F and line three half sheet pans with parchment paper.

2.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt until well combined.

3.

In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix together the butter and sugars until moistened, about 1 minute.

4.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

5.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

6.

Add the chocolate all at once and mix until it is evenly distributed throughout, about 1 minute.

7.

Add the chopped candied hazelnuts and mix them into the cookie dough.

8.

Using a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop, portion the cookie dough into balls, placing them at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans.

9.

Bake until the edges have set, but the centers are still gooey, about 10 minutes.

10.

Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch before transferring to a cooling rack.

11.

Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

For the candied hazelnuts:

1.

In a large, stainless-steel skillet, combine the hazelnuts, sugar and water. 

2.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or heat-safe spatula, until the sugar starts to dissolve.

3.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and continue cooking until the sugar mixture thickens, bubbles and reduces. 

4.

When the mixture starts to seize, stir constantly, scraping up any nuts or sugar stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

5.

Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture melts again and turns to a golden color, 2 to 3 minutes more.

6.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt. 

7.

Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a silicone mat-lined sheet pan; cool completely.