Filbertines

Do you remember the Buck Pets? You might if you, like me, spent most of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s in tiny, beer-soaked music halls, clad in combat boots and excessive amounts of safety pins (including 7 in your left ear: never doubt that I am an overachiever in all walks of life), reveling in what was arguably some of the best music of the last two decades.

What does this have to do with cookies, you ask? Well, not much, really. Except that Rose Levy Beranbaum named this crisp little gem of a hazlenut cookie “Filbertine,” and the Buck Pets’ best-known song (in fact, I think it was their one-and-only single) was called “Libertine.” So, as a Woman of A Certain Age, I find myself bouncing around my kitchen at 9 pm on a Wednesday night, rolling cookie dough into little balls and singing “good to me, filbertine!”

And that, my friends, is where the similarities end. Because I’m not exactly sure which cookie would exemplify the Buck Pets for me: maybe a chunky, nut & fruit-filled chocolate chip cookie; or perhaps an outrageous booze-bomb of a bourbon truffle; but it wouldn’t be these delicate, crisp, refined little filbertines. No, these cookies say mid-morning tea break, or after-dinner apertif. The toasted hazlenuts give them a warm nutty flavor and a crunchy texture, while the cardamom offers a warm, spicy finish. They are surprisingly light for a butter-and-nut cookie and not overly sweet. A nice foil to many of the chocolate, caramel and peppermint-soaked confections that appear at this time of year. The dough comes together quickly in the food processor, and other than a chill in the fridge, the active time for these is less than 30 minutes. Just enough time for you to roust out that old Mecurotones CD.

While you’re traveling down musical memory lane, or enjoying some holiday cookies of your own, be sure to stop by Tigress’ Facebook page this evening, for a cookie party and giveaway of some of the best preserving, homemaking, cooking and gardening books of the year! The fun begins at 7:30 pm Eastern: see you there!

Adapted (slightly) from Filbertines in Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Filbertines

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 oz (1 cup) whole hazelnuts (a.k.a. filberts), skins on
  • 6 and ¾ oz (1 and ⅓ cups) all purpose flour (or substitute whole white wheat flour)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 and ½ oz (½ cup) granulated sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 4 oz (8 tbsp) butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

METHODS

  1. In a large skillet, toast the hazelnuts over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a clean plate and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Set aside.
  3. Add hazelnuts to the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times until nuts are finely chopped but not powdered. Remove about half of the nuts (about ¾ cup) and set aside. Add the sugar and process until very fine, about 1 minute. Chop butter into several pieces and add with the motor running; continue to process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla: process until uniform. Transfer hazelnut mixture to the bowl containing the flour. Fold hazelnut mixture into the flour just until incorporated. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two cookie sheets, either non-stick or greased.
  5. Scoop up a scant tablespoonful of cookie dough and roll between your palms to form a ball. Roll the ball in the reserved chopped hazelnuts, pressing some of the larger pieces into the dough. Place each ball on a prepared cookie sheet, 2 inches apart (I got 20 on a standard cookie sheet). Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. For even baking, rotate pans front to back and top to bottom about halfway through the baking time.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

OPTIONS

  1. I think these would be interesting with pistachio nuts replacing hazelnuts; which would also make them festively green!
  2. Rose includes these on the list of “cookies to ship;” given their long shelf-life and relatively sturdy nature, these would hold up well for holiday gifting, near or far.

STORE

In an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 month.

SEASON

Year round.

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10 comments

  1. Yum! Maybe one day I’ll get filberts from my many small and shrubby plants, whom I’ve named: Albert, Dilbert, and Philbert. In the meantime, I’ll rely on my pantry!

  2. Philip

    Nice recipe. I haven’t been following your blog for long, so perhaps I missed it- do you ever use hazelnut flour?

    Sometimes it’s called hazelnut meal, but having a much finer texture than ground nuts it makes great pastry. Equal parts hazelnut flour and pastry flour- either wheat or white or both- works well and makes an outstanding linzertorte, for example. Especially with apricot or prune filling instead of the generic raspberry. The flour can go rancid quickly and is best stored in the freezer- there’s a reliable local source here in San Francisco (Rainbow Co-op) but it’s probably available somewhere online.

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