Category Archives: Dessert

Hazelnut Sandies

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Growing up in Singapore, hazelnuts looked like a jar of Nutella.  I would plunge my biggest spoon into this chocolate pool of heaven and devour it like a monster child.  Now that I am an adult, live in LA and know what real hazelnuts look and taste like it has become a favorite.  This recipe is my hazelnut version of Ina Garten’s pecan sandies.  Her use of turbinado sugar was genius because it gave the cookies a nice crunch.  I cut out a few steps in my modification to reduce the “UR”, utensils required.  Resting the dough overnight is an added step to help the flour absorb moisture, resulting in a firmer cookie.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup of hazelnuts
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar
  • 3 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Steps:

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts in toaster oven for around 5 – 10 mins.
  3. Remove skin from hazelnuts.
  4. Place cooled hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of flour into food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground.  Do not process until oil separates from nuts.
  5. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, salt and baking powder. Pulse 5-8 times to combine.
  6. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow.
  7. Reduce speed to low, slowly add vanilla and flour mixture.  Mix until dough combines.
  8. Empty dough onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Roll into a log, wrap and place in fridge overnight to rest.
  9. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut dough log into half inch slices and place pieces one inch apart on baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 20 – 25 mins until the edges turn golden brown.
  11. Cool for 20 mins.  Do not touch until cookies have cooled completely.

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Cook’s Notes:

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The cookie is delicious as is.  But if you want a more decorative look try placing a chocolate kiss or hazelnut on each cookie.  Using enough salt in the dough is necessary to bring out the flavor of the hazelnuts.  Another option is to sprinkle flakes of Maldon sea salt on the cookies.  This enhances the flavor of the hazelnuts and creates an unexpected twist.

Strawberry Sauce

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Living in southern California, we are spoiled by our great weather and abundant organic produce.  Making a crappy salad is actually hard.  On weekends, ladies would descend upon our farmer’s markets in their Lululemons and grab their fill of antioxidants packed greens.  I would head to my favorite strawberry vendor from Oxnard and whip up a batch of strawberry sauce.  I love making berry sauces because I can add alcohol.  Blueberries pairs beautifully with gin and strawberries with grand marnier.  Drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, layer it with custard in a trifle or spoon it over scones, the options are endless.

Ingredients:

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  • 2 pints of strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt

Steps:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot and cook over medium heat.
  2. Use a potato masher to crush strawberries and release juices.
  3. Cook until mixture is thick and bubbling.
  4. Turn off flame and add 1 Tbsp of favorite liqueur.