Friday, December 16, 2011

Hazelnut Coffee Cookies

1 1/2 cups vegan margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance soy free)
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
large-ish pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP instant coffee (regular or decaf)
1 cup ground hazelnuts (finely ground but not enough to become a paste)
extra margarine or nonstick cooking spray

Beat margarine on medium high with a mixer until it looks whipped. Add powdered sugar and salt and beat again until well combined and fluffy-looking (like a very light frosting). Add flour and start the mixer on a low speed, gradually increasing the speed until it is thoroughly mixed. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the vanilla and instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Add the hazelnuts and vanilla-coffee solution to the dough and mix. The dough should turn a light coffee color evenly throughout. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets lightly with margarine or nonstick spray. Roll balls of dough about 1" wide and place 2-3" apart on cookie sheet. Mash the balls down to about 1/4" thick. Bake for about 15 minutes and allow to cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to brown paper* to finish cooling.

*The reason for cooling the cookies on brown paper is that the paper absorbs some of the excess oil and when laid completely flat puts less stress on delicate cookies than a wire rack does. Paper grocery bags cut into flat sections work perfectly for this!