In case you are looking for a holiday cookie recipe, this one is my favorite. It comes from my Czech grandmother. She used to make dozens of these cookies in the days leading up to Christmas. Last weekend my dad and I baked a double-batch and we’ve already eaten them all. Time to make more! Wishing you and yours a sweet, bright, and festive end of the year. xoxo
¾ cup/100g shelled hazelnuts
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp/200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup/200g granulated sugar
2 cups/260g all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup/60g confectioners’ sugar
½ vanilla bean
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet until browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Using a food processor, grind the nuts to a coarse flour.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and ½ cup/100g of the granulated sugar until fluffy and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground hazelnuts, flour, and salt. Mix on low speed until a soft dough forms. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic, and place in the refrigerator to chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
About 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir together the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining granulated sugar in a pie dish. Cut the ½ vanilla bean lengthwise and use the dull edge of the knife to scrape all the tiny black seeds into the sugar mixture. Use your fingers to incorporate the seeds. Add the scraped pods to the sugar as well.
Break off a piece of the chilled dough and roll it into a long snake about the width of your thumb. If it crumbles while you roll, just squeeze and press the dough firmly back together. Cut into segments, each about 2 inches long, then bend them into arcs and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies.
Bake until golden brown around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets, then gently toss them in the sugar mixture until completely coated.
Store in a metal tin at room temperature. These cookies will keep well for up to 5 days.