Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The start of Christmas baking? Hazelnut praline cookies

The Alpha Bakers are making biscuits this week - Hazelnut Praline Cookies to be exact. I have to be honest, baking biscuits doesn't excite me too much unless it's directly associated with Christmas. (Because everything to do with Christmas is more fun.) I'm always happy to eat biscuits, of course. 

There's not a lot for me to complain about with these biscuits though. They were quick and easy to make as long as you don't fluff the toffee making (not this time) and factor in refrigerator time. Actually I find time required for cooling or rising often makes it easier to fit baking around the rest of my life.

It's impossible not to like biscuits which are made up of three quarters praline. I may have cooked the first batch a bit too long since I found them a little bit too dry. I have some more dough in the fridge so I'll try cooking the next biscuits for less than 15 minutes. I think shorter baking time would bring out the flavour of the praline more. And if I considered making these for Christmas I might go to the trouble of half dipping them in chocolate to really fancy them up.

I enjoyed this recipe also because I got to use one of my favourite kitchen equipment purchases for the year. (I keep meaning to do a round up post on all my new stuff - maybe at the end of the year I'll get to it.) Rose's penchant for minuscule measurements (2/18ths of a teaspoon anyone?) meant I was in need of extra measuring spoons. I found a set which measure amounts such as a tad, a smidgen and a pinch (1/16th) which I used for the salt in this recipe.

Oh, I didn't mention that you're meant to spend time boiling and skinning the large amount of hazelnuts in this recipe. If I had had to do that there would be a lot more complaining in this post. As it was I found some blanched hazelnuts at my local shop (luckily they don't realise I would be willing to pay almost any price for them). I managed to make a small amount of toffee without incident, to pour onto the toasted hazelnuts to make the praline. The praline was so delicious I ate a shameful amount of the unused portion with a spoon.

It was simple to mix the biscuit dough ingredients up to a wet paste, which firmed up in the fridge.

The biscuit dough was very forgiving, even in the heat (ha, bet you thought I wasn't going to mention the weather this week). I much prefer rolling little balls than rolling out dough and cutting shapes - it's so much less stressful. I also prefer it because I never weigh the individual balls of dough even though this is suggested by Rose. I like to think hell will freeze over before I find myself weighing tiny pieces of dough but I guess you never know what another year with Rose and the Alpha Bakers will bring.

Next week the Alpha Bakers are making Pumpkin Pecan Pie which is very timely for our US contingent celebrating Thanksgiving.


  1. It appears you had the same experience as me. They were delicious. Nice post.

  2. They look perfect to have along side a cup of tea! Of course I couldn't refrain from dipping them.

  3. Lucky you to find blanched hazelnuts. I've never found them. Great pics. Love your cute little measuring spoons too.

  4. I like Christmas cookies too..and anything related with Christmas. :) Your dough didn't melt fast? Our weather now has been quite nice..since its raining season..and much cooler than the last few months..and even so, the dough melted relatively quick. Is hazelnuts expensive there? I was thinking maybe cos it is blanched here so it is more expensive compared to other nuts like almond. I saw some tiny measuring spoons like yours and wondering if I should buy them or not?..I'm still thinking..lol!

  5. Great post. I spent several hours peeling nuts and niw that's all I've got.