Since my sophomore year in high school, my best friend Vanessa and I have done an annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. The first few years we went all out, usually baking around a dozen types of cookies and delivering them to friends, teachers, and family, all within in a 48 hour period. Vanessa, not being as much of a baking fanatic as I am, has convinced me to tone the extravaganza down a bit in years since. We now only bake for one day and make around five treats. It is always a blast, and this year was no exception. We made hazelnut shortbread, chocolate mint crisps, frosted cranberry drop cookies, and cranberry pistachio biscotti. I loved them all!
The majority of my Christmas cookie recipes are from Taste of Home. My mom and I always baked most of our holiday treats from a couple of her favorite cookbooks, which happened to be theirs. This recipe was a new one for me. It happened to be in all three of my TOH cookbooks though, so I figured it had to be good. I love the short ingredient list and the simplicity of these cookies. They are chocked full of hazelnuts, but maintain the buttery shortbread crispness. Perfect with a cup of coffee.
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups finely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix in syrup and vanilla. Add flour and mix just until combined, then fold in hazelnuts.
2. Shape into two 1½-inch diameter rolls. Wrap each in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Unwrap rolls and cut into ¼-inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325º F for 14-16 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
4. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over cookies. Let stand until chocolate is set.
Yield: 6 dozen
(Recipe from TOH)