These are at the very top of my fast-with-flair list. They prove that with a little clever doctoring, refrigerator case dough can yield cookies that will pass for homemade. I’ve served these without mentioning my shortcut and received both compliments and requests for the recipe. Here, purchased sugar cookie dough is dressed up with chopped hazelnuts and the ready-to-use chocolate-hazelnut filling, Nutella. (If you’re unfamiliar with this spread, it’s a wildly popular European convenience product, now usually stocked in American supermarkets near the peanut butter.) For an even more sophisticated taste combination, accent the Nutella with a little freshly grated orange zest.
Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett. Photography by Diane Cu and Todd Porter. Copyright 2012.
|1 16- to 18-ounce package refrigerator case vanilla sugar cookie dough||1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (orange part of the peel), optional|
|1 cup roasted, hulled, and chopped hazelnuts||1 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread|
Baking Preliminaries: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Grease several baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray.
Cut the chilled log of dough in half; return half to the refrigerator to stay cold. Cut the remaining portion in half lengthwise. Lay each portion cut side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the portions crosswise into 12 half slices to yield 24 total half slices. Space the half slices about 21⁄2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle the tops generously with the chopped hazelnuts, patting down to imbed. Repeat the process to make 24 more half slices with the second dough half. Bake (upper rack) one pan at a time for 9 to 13 minutes or until the cookies are nicely tinged with brown at the edges. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, and let stand until the cookies fi rm up just slightly, about 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer the cookies to racks. Cool completely.
If desired, in a small deep bowl stir the orange zest into the Nutella until well blended (if an orange fl avor is desired). Spread enough Nutella on the underside of half of the cooled cookies to yield a generous 1⁄4-inch-thick layer. Top the fi lled cookies with a second cookie, nut side up. Press the two together until the fi lling just squeezes to the edge.
Storage: Store these, airtight and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. They can be frozen, airtight, for up to 1 month. Let come to room temperature before serving.
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