Photo shoot created for Smeg Nordic.
In the house where I grew up in Piedmont, Italy, we had an hazelnut tree and, despite its tiny size, every year it would produce its fair amount of hazelnuts.
We used them in many ways, but my favorite was definitely dad’s hazelnut cake. We’d go in our garage and break the hazelnuts open with hammers, eat a few in the process, roast them and bake a cake.
Every year when autumn hits, I start missing Italy because this was my favorite time of the year over there, especially as a harvest season. Think about all the chestnuts and hazelnuts and walnuts collected from the forest, about the pumpkin and all the cozy autumn food that comes with it. I just loved the idea to put a sweater on, make a cup of hot chocolate and prepare all the comfort food.
Well, the other day I had that same wonderful smell from my childhood memories in my kitchen when I was baking some hazelnut cookies for a photo shoot of Smeg’s new food processor attachment for their hand blender.
I started experimenting with aquafaba earlier this year. I am fascinated by the fact that whipping some weird looking liquid from a chickpea box, that I would usually discard away, one can obtain a soft, foamy texture that one could not distinguish from whipped egg whites just by the look of it. This spring I developed a zero-waste lemon tart recipe with aquafaba meringue and had made my mind to use aquafaba in other recipes as well. That’s how I came up with these hazelnut cookies, which are by the way also gluten free and vegan.
There are many ways to whip aquafaba, such as hand mixer, immersion blender or a food processor emulsifying disc, like the one in the new Smeg’s food processor accessory to the hand blender. You pick the way you feel more comfortable with. To follow the recipe.
Ps. These biscuits stay good and chewy for a few days if kept in a tin box. I’ve made them already a few times and we enjoy them particularly for breakfast and together with coffee.
- 100 g hazelnuts
- 150 g caster sugar
- 20 g cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (25 g)
- 75 ml aquafaba
- 130 g almond flour
- Preheat the oven at 150° C / 300 F
- Meanwhile your oven is preheating, place the hazelnuts in a sheet pan and roast them until they'll slightly change color. Take them out from the oven and let them cool
- Peel the cooled hazelnuts rubbing them together and discarding the skin, place them in a blender and blend them finely together with the sugar and cocoa powder
- Add the almond flour and honey to the hazelnut mixture
- Whip the aquafaba with a pinch of salt until it peaks will start to form (it will take about 5 minutes)
- Gently fold the whipped aquafaba into the hazelnut mixture and be care not to overmix!
- With the help of a piping bag, place about 1 tbsp of dough on a sheet pan covered with baking paper leaving abundant space between the biscuits because they will flatten out quite a lot. You might need to bake your cookies into two batches
- Bake your biscuits for 13 minutes if you like them to be a little chewy from the inside or for 15-20 minutes if you like them crunchy
- Let the biscuits cool off completely before moving them into a tin can for storage