Juniper berry spiced Chocolate Hazelnut cookies
Juniper Berry spiced Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies - these slice and bake chocolate hazelnut cookies are easy to make, and have a unique bittersweet, chocolatey, nutty, floral flavor profile with a crunchy edge and soft, fudgy center!
- 2 tsp whole juniper berries
- 225 g / 8 oz unsalted softened butter
- 200 g / 7 oz brown sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 200 g / 7 oz AP flour
- 75 g / 2.6oz Dutch cocoa powder OR Natural cocoa powder I used valrhona, which is a darker natural cocoa powder
- 170 g / 6 oz of hazelnuts toasted and skinned
- 225 g / 8 oz milk chocolate roughly chopped into chunks
- 1 - 2 cups of raw sugar to roll the cookies in
Place the juniper berries in a dry pan. Heat to dry roast the berries for a few minutes and to toast them. (You will start to smell the juniper berries and find that they look toasted when they are done).
Remove from heat and let them cool down. Place the cooled juniper berries in a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) and grind them to a powder. Juniper berry powder will be slightly wet and sticky. Set aside until needed.
Add the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and juniper berry spice to a large bowl OR your mixer bowl. With a hand mixer or stand mixer (with a paddle mix), mix until the butter and sugar are well mixed and creamy - do not beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the sifted flour and sifted cocoa powder. Fold them in by hand, OR use the mixer/hand mixer, to incorporate the flour and cocoa powder.
Add the hazelnuts and milk chocolate chunks and mix them in until they are spread throughout the dough. Divide the dough in half.
Form a 2 - 2 ½ inch wide cookie dough log with each of the dough portions. Wrap each log in plastic wrap (knotting the ends tightly).
Refrigerate for about 1 - 2 hours until the cookie dough is firm. The dough can be refrigerated overnight as well.
When ready to bake
Line two half sheet pans / cookie sheet pans with parchment paper. Sprinkle the raw sugar on a flat plate.
Unwrap one of the cookie dough logs and roll the log in the raw sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tapered end of the cookie dough log. Then cut 1cm thick slices. Please note that because of the nuts and chocolate chips, you may not get clean slices, so reshape the cookies into rounds when they don’t cut cleanly. Roll the edges in the raw sugar again if you need to. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet. Each log should make about 12 cookies (not including the ends).
Cover the lined baking sheet with plastic wrap / parchment paper / or a another baking tray and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minute before baking. This chilling is important to allow the cookies to keep their shape while baking.
While the cookies are chilling, preheat oven to 325°F. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, and since they are dark brown, it would be hard to tell if they are done. But they will firm up as they cool. Once the cookies have cooled down, remove them from the baking tray and place them on a wire rack.
Repeat with the second cookie log and the second baking sheet.The cookies will be crunchy on the outside, but soft and fudgy in the middle.
Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
NOTE 1 - you CAN leave out the juniper berries, if you prefer. These chocolate hazelnut cookies taste AMAZING even without that extra flavor profile.
Or if you like, you can substitute juniper berries with one of the following too.
1 tsp ground cinnamon (Cinnamon Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies)
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp water (Mocha Hazelnut Cookies)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (Chili Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies)
1 tsp peppermint extract + roasted almonds (Mint Chocolate Almond Cookies)