Friday, March 23, 2012

Colonsay Isle Cookies

Off the coast of Scotland are a few islands. One of which is called the Isle of Colonsay.  In Gaelic, or Celtic language of Scotland, the word for hazel is coll.  There was a discovery of a big pit (over 9000 years old) of burned hazelnut shells on the beach of that island, indicating that hazelnut harvests had been going on for quite some time.  That pit did not represent just a few burned hazelnut shells, but hundreds of thousands.  Apparently all the people back then were vegan since there was no deer or wild game on the island.

These particular cookies do have the flavor of hazelnut.  They are made of a mix of three flours-hazelnut, rice and all purpose.  The rice flour gives it extra crispness. The real "pop" of hazelnut flavor comes from a hazelnut cream extract. The particular brand I used is LorAnn which is 3 to 4 times the strength of standard extracts.

I find that the texture is somewhat like a Lorna Doone cookie.  It is crisp on the outside but disintegrates into soft crumbs in your mouth.  Due to its texture, this cookie is not one that you would want to ship and send to anyone.  It is too delicate.  Also, with time the cookie does lose its crispness after a few days at room temperature. The recipe makes about 3 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies.

Colonsay Isle Cookies
by Flourtrader

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tsp hazelnut liqueur
1/2 tsp hazelnut cream flavoring or 2 tsp hazelnut extract
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

1/4 cup of Nutella or hazelnut spread
2 tbs butter
3 tbs milk (or more)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp hazelnut cream flavoring or 1 tsp of extract

To make cookies, sift together rice flour, all purpose flour and baking powder.  Then stir in hazelnut flour.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, liqueur and extract and beat for 30 seconds.  Then fold in sifted ingredients until no dry streaks remain.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.

After 30 minutes of chilling time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 cookie sheets with non stick spray.

Lightly flour a flat surface and roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick.  The dough will still be very soft.  I used a method of rolling out and using a sharp spatula to slide under the dough occasionally to make sure it was not sticking.  After rolling it out, I used the spatula one last time under the dough and then I cut out the cookies.  Some people prefer to put the rolled dough on the cookie sheet and then cut so the cookie does not have to be moved once it is cut. They just take away the dough around each cookie and remove it from the sheet.  Besides personal preference, the detail of the cookie cutter and consistency of dough is to be taken into consideration.

Place the cut out cookies one inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake until lightly browned on the edges or until done.  This should take about 8-12 minutes.  Once baked, transfer to a wire rack set over a piece of wax paper to cool.

For the drizzle, I used a squirt bottle but you can just as well use a fork.  Place butter and hazelnut spread in a saucepan.  Put pan over medium heat and stir until all the butter is melted and blended with the hazelnut.  Remove from heat and sift in confectioners sugar.  Stir mixture and then add 1 tbs of milk and mix together.  Continue to add milk by tablespoon until you reach the desired consistency.

Then drizzle glaze over cookies, letting excess drip onto the wax paper underneath the rack.  Wait at least 1-2 hours for drizzle to set up and then serve.
        **LAST YEAR: Chocolate Frosted Butter Cupcakes**