Hazelnut Mocha Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
These delicious little chocolate hazelnut sandwich cookies are all about slowing down and enjoying the moment. They are a treat... an invitation to an actual coffee break situation, not a coffee-in-a-tumbler-on-the-go situation. (Although, I have been known to grab one while heading out the door, so whatever. Do as you like.)
The bulk of my days are typically sandwiched between two of my favorite things: coffee with cream in the morning and a glass (or 3, thank you 2020) of wine in the evening. That first cup of coffee pulls me out of bed on mornings when I would much rather stay under the covers. And a glass of wine in the evening is about the ritual of transitioning from work to dinner, conversation, and (hopefully) some quality time with a good book.
Early morning and late evening are my favorite times of the day. I'm an early riser and therefore see the sun rise more days than not. I love standing in my kitchen in the quiet of the morning, coffee in hand, staring out the window as the sky lights up in shades pink, orange and yellow. All is quiet. The day is full of possibility, and I am most optimistic about the 1001 things I just know I will accomplish. It's a ritual that helps me to wake up and ease into the day.
Sipping on a glass of wine (or sometimes a good cocktail) in the evening while cooking dinner serves a different purpose. But, it's also a ritual. Whatever the day entailed, the good and the bad and everything in-between, is done. I try to let it be. Tomorrow is another day.
Sometimes food and drink are simply sustenance. They are a necessary nuisance of living. But often, food and drink are about more than basic nutrition. Dinner is a chance for couples and families to reconnect after a busy day. Birthday cakes, anniversary dinners, and holiday meals are a chance to celebrate milestones and traditions. Food is an opportunity to get out and experience something new, to spend time with friends, to enjoy our life.
Food is a way for us to mark what's important to us. It's an indulgence and a pleasure.
That's what my daily coffee and wine rituals are really about. I don't need either substance to sustain me. Let's be honest. I'm not drinking either one for health reasons. 😂
They are a simple pleasure. An excuse to slow down, pause and reflect. They are an invitation to be in the moment and appreciate this gift I call my life.
Enough of all that. Let's talk cookies.
These tasty little sandwich cookies are for coffee and chocolate lovers. If you count yourself amongst that crowd, you will love them. Rich and creamy sour-cream hazelnut filling is sandwiched between two thin mocha shortbread rounds. They are crispy, creamy, nutty, tasting intensely of chocolate and subtly of coffee.
I've been making the mocha shortbread cookies for years. They are a deliciously simple treat all on their own. But, being that I like my coffee with cream, I thought these cookies might be enhanced with a rich, creamy center.
So, I toasted some hazelnuts, ground them with some good quality dark chocolate, and added butter and sour cream to make a filling that is fantastically rich and creamy, and not overly sweet. These cookies, like a fresh mug of coffee, are for times when you want to slow down and enjoy the moment. They are a treat. An invitation to stop, savor, appreciate and enjoy.
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For the Mocha Shortbread Cookies:
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder (not dutch process)
- ½ tsp table salt (¾ tsp kosher salt)
- 1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 ½ tbsp hot water
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Hazelnut Filling:
- 5 oz good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 5 oz roasted hazelnuts (Roast in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.)
- 1 cup salted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ tsp table salt (¾ tsp kosher salt)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ½ –2 tbsp hot water
Make the Mocha Shortbread Cookies:
- In a medium size bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder and salt to combine.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, expresso powder and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.
- Stir in the flour mixture, mixing just long enough to combine.
- Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half. Place half the dough in-between two sheets of wax paper. Cover the other half of the dough with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Use a rolling pin to roll out the portion of dough that's in the wax paper until the dough is flattened into an ⅛ inch thick disc. Repeat with remaining portion of dough. Stack discs, with wax paper between them, on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator, laying it on a flat work surface.
- Cut out cookies using a small cookie or biscuit cutter (see product links below), laying them carefully onto the prepared baking sheet. If the dough is cold, they will not spread, so you can place them within a ½ inch of each other on the baking sheet.
- Bake cookies in the center of the oven for 7 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before removing cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, scooping up scraps and re-rolling. If the dough gets too soft to work with, simply return it (covered) to the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden.
Make the Chocolate Hazelnut Filling:
- Add the chocolate and hazelnuts to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and process until a paste is beginning to form and the mixture is gathering into a ball. Scoop it into a medium size bowl.
- Beat the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high until very light and creamy – about 4 minutes. Add the sour cream, salt, and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add the chocolate, hazelnut mixture and beat to combine.
Make the Chocolate Glaze:
- In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar and cocoa powder with a spoon to combine. Add the hot water slowly, mixing in enough water to make a glaze that easily drips from the spoon but is still thick enough to hold it’s shape when drizzled over the cookies.
Assemble the sandwich cookies:
- Turn half of the shortbread cookies upside down and spread them with a generous amount of chocolate hazlenut filling. Top the filling with another mocha shortbread cookie. Set the cookies on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with the glaze.
- Serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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KSPOWWIN 5 Pieces Stainless Steel Cookie Cutters Biscuit Plain Edge Round Cutters in Graduated Sizes Shape Molds
Lindt Excellence Bar, 70% Cocoa Smooth Dark Chocolate
Nordicware Naturals Aluminum Nonstick Half Sheet, 2-Pack
KitchenAid Professional 6-Qt. Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
Totally Bamboo Rolling Pin
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 166mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g
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