Hazelnut Cardamom Cookies (by request)
GretchenS requested this recipe:
Hazelnut Cardamom Cookies
8 whole cardamom pods
1 c. whole hazelnuts, skins on
1 1/3 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean
Lightly toast the cardamom pods in a skillet, just until they become fragrant. Let cool, then break open and extract the seeds. Grind the seeds to a fine powder (a mortar and pestle works best) and set aside.
Spread hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast them in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes (until lightly browned and fragrant), stirring once or twice. Let cool, then grate or grind the nuts finely, taking care not to let them turn to paste. Do leave the skins on, as they add flavor and visual interest to the finished cookies.
Sift together half of the grated nuts (reserve the other half for coating the cookies before baking), the flour and baking soda, 1/2 tsp. of ground cardamom (save the remainder for another use) and the salt. Whisk the mixture in a bowl to be sure its well combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the butter/sugar mixture; add the egg and beat until well blended.
Blend in the dry ingredients on low speed, beating just until incorporated.
Refrigerate the dough for about an hour. If you must refrigerate it for longer, let it soften slightly before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or Silpat.
One at a time, make balls of dough about the size of a walnut (scant tablespoon). Knead the dough slightly and form into a round ball. Using a commercial scoop simplifies this process enormously. Roll each ball in the reserved ground nuts to coat well. Space balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm.