chocolate chip hazelnut cookies
I like to be au fait with the current slang stylings of the kids these days. I like to stay au courant. That’s just how I roll, so don’t go there, LOL. I’m lying, of course. I’m a curmudgeon, so I have little tolerance for trendy words and phrases. And I have to say that one of my least favorite at the moment is “fail” as a noun. I think it’s a fail, an epic fail. It’s such a glib and lazy way to write off humanity as tasteless and stupid. If you’re going to be broadly judgmental about the intelligence of others, at least make an effort – at least don’t speak stupidly yourself! Oh, I’ve seen the website that started it all (I suppose). I’ve had a mean-spirited chuckle at misspellings and foolish sartorial choices, at unfortunate lack of planning or precaution. It strikes me as sad that it’s spawned a culture of snarky negativity. Teasing is too easy, in the age of mechanical reproduction in a virtual universe. It’s too easy to form a giant anonymous mob, peddling petty criticism and public humiliation, with no thought or wit. Of course, my idea of failure and success is somewhat skewed, anyway! I’d like to applaud people for trying, for making an effort each day to stay alive and be cheerful, and make others around them as happy as possible. With Bob Rossian optimism, I’d like to see potential failures as “happy accidents.” So don’t be afraid to try, people! And if somebody tries to mock you for your effort, demand that they at least be a little clever and witty about it! Luckily, I’m not a surgeon or an air-traffic controller! I’m a cooking enthusiast, and I’d say there’s no other realm in which a potential failure can be turned around into an unexpected success. I’m always waiting for the moment that I take a wrong turn in the kitchen and invent a brilliant new culinary technique. Viz: these cookies. I had four egg whites left over. I thought to myself, surely I can make some meringues or macarons, because that’s something that people do, and I’m a person (most of the time.) So I set to work, and … everything went wrong. I put hazelnuts on to toast and then went upstairs and forgot about them. I tried to beat the egg whites by hand, which worked famously for a few minutes, and then didn’t work at all. I put a bowl under the faucet and then went outside and forgot about it and flooded the sink. The more I beat the egg whites, the flatter they got. I thought to myself, “Claire, you know you’re not patient or careful enough to make anything that requires attention!” I was feeling down and discouraged, anyway. I left a bowl of egg whites and sugar on the counter and just walked away, in a rotten mood. And then I got to thinking…why not just make some regular sort of cookies. Add a bit of flour, a bit of butter, some nuts and chocolate. Why shouldn’t they be delicious anyway? And guess what!?! They are!! They’re some of the best cookies I’ve ever made! They have a light crispy texture, with just a hint of chewiness inside. They have a lovely flaky top – like brownies. And they have a nice flavor, too. I like them better than any old macarons!
Here’s Bob Dylan with Love Minus Zero/No Limit. She knows there’s no success like failure.
4 egg whites
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 cup flour
1 cup tiny bittersweet chocolate chips
4 T melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350. If you’re using raw hazelnuts, toast them in a toaster oven or dry pan for a few minutes, then wrap them in a clean tea towel. Leave them for a few minutes, then rub off as much of the skin as you can. Process until coarse and crumbly. You want a bit of crunch.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the salt, and beat in the sugar about 1/4 cup at a time. Keep beating until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Keep beating, it should become flatter as you go along. Stir in the flour and melted butter, and keep beating till it’s completely smooth. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
Lightly butter some large baking sheets (I used 2 twice). Drop the batter by small spoonfuls a couple inches apart on the sheets. It’ll be quite runny, so won’t hold the form of a ball. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until they start to brown on the bottom.
Move to a cooling rack – they’ll become crispy as they cool.