hazelnut chocolate thumbprint cookies

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Hazelnut Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet

Makes about 2 dozen (24 for the Passover version, 26 for the flour version)

1 almost-full cup (4 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup matzo cake meal or 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate (I used chocolate baking discs or “wafers”; 2 or 3 chocolate chips would also work)

Pulse hazelnuts, sugar, matzo cake meal or flour, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. (Be careful not to grind to a paste.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter, egg, and extract until combined well. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Drop level tablespoons of dough 1 inch apart onto 2 ungreased baking sheets (though I lined mine with parchment paper, for an easier lazier clean-up). Roll dough into balls, then chill until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.

Press one piece of chocolate firmly into the top of each ball of cookie dough and bake, 1 sheet at a time, until tops are pale golden and undersides are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely.

To fill with jam instead: After balls of cookie dough have been chilled for an additional 10 minutes, make a 1/2-inch-wide (1/3-inch-deep) indentation in center of each ball using your thumb, index finger, or the rounded end of a wooden spoon. Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon jam.

Almond variation: The hazelnuts can also be swapped with 3/4 cup sliced almonds.

Do ahead: Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.


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