This has gotta be the biggest pain in my arse dough ever. It is dry and flakey and you’re supposed to roll it out. Really. It insists on falling apart and crumbling at the edges. You’ll find yourself pushing it together with your fingers, mumbling swear words under your breath and begging the baking gods to just give you a break.
We have the lovely Kim Boyce to thank for this recipe. I was privileged enough to be invited to photograph a baking class she instructed at SweetWares in Hillsdale. If you live in the Portland area, you MUST go to SweetWares. SweetWares is an adorable and quaint bakewares boutique owned by another of Portland’s baking royalty, Julie Richardson. If you go, bring your credit card. And say hi to Julie, cuz she’s cool.
I digress. Here’s a little background: Stone-Buhr, producers of flours made with sustainably grown wheat, sponsored a week of baking classes (all proceeds went to the Oregon Food Bank) at SweetWares and I was asked to document Kim and Julie’s classes. Let me tell you, those ladies make baking look easy. Tossing flour around, breaking butter with their fingers, and generally entertaining a room full of enthralled and awestruck women.
Kim made these cookies, from her cookbook, Good to the Grain, during her class and I was intrigued. They came out just slightly nutty, with a hint of cardamom and orange. Light and crisp and delicious. Granted I was working while she was baking, but I thought I got the gist of this recipe. However, I don’t think I was paying attention when she was rolling out the dough. Or, what is more likely, is that she just breezily whipped out these cookies like nobody’s business and I thought, well, I can do that. And I can (did), mostly.
As we know, I like to tweak and change things in recipes that inspire me. I first started doing that because, as a new blogger, I was too shy or timid to call an author or publisher to ask permission to use their recipe. Now I do it because it ups the challenge of cooking. When I read a recipe, my mind automatically starts shifting flavors around, ‘what about this?’, ‘how will it taste if I change this to that?’. It’s like building a puzzle with a few new pieces replacing existing ones. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t (read: apple tartlets), but I find it’s fun, and keeps my brain from going soft :)
Cheers and thanks again to Food Press for showing me so much support and sharing my blog. Thanks to all my new subscribers and readers, too! You make my heart melt. I am truly grateful and humbled:)
These are definitely a tiny bit heavy on the rosewater. They made me think of something that would be served in a café in Iran. If you’re not a fan of rosewater, then substitute with orange blossom water.
What you’ll need~
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, skin on
1 stick of room temperature butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 raw, unfiltered honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel seeds
Zest of one lemon
Place hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and place in 350-degree oven. Toast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway. Nuts should be fragrant and dark brown. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, grind nuts in a food processor for about 20 seconds.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter and ground hazelnuts and press butter into the dough with your fingers until ingredients are just blended.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and press it together. At this point I was having issues keeping the dough together, so I added a splash of almond milk to soften the dough and make it more workable.
Use a rolling-pin to roll out the dough to 3/16 of an inch-Kim’s instructions. Because of the temperamental dough, I rolled mine out to about 1/2 inch. The cookies aren’t as light and crisp as Kim’s, but they are still yummy.
Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on your baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes rotating tray half way through. Your cookies should be golden with just darkened edges.
While cookies are baking make your syrup. Warm honey, fennel, lemon zest and rosewater in a small saucepan. Don’t let the honey boil. Stir until nicely melted and let ingredients infuse for about 15 minutes.
While cookies are still warm, brush with syrup.
Serve these guys while they’re still fresh. And definitely share :)