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Ev's Hazelnut Chocolate Sandwiches

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  • Prep Time25 mins
  • Total Time25 mins
  • Makes45 cookie sandwiches
*PLUS Freezing Time: 60 minutes, Baking Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced hazelnuts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 1/4 tsp vanilla sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup Nutella, or other hazelnut chocolate spread

  • 1 tsp butter, melted

  • 1 orange

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 tsp butter, melted (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions

  • In a food processor, whirl nuts with flour, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar and baking powder until mixed. Add butter and egg and whirl until dough starts to form a ball. Turn onto counter. Divide dough in half. Form each half into logs about 12 in. (30 cm) long and 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Because dough is soft, place logs in a pan, then freeze or refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  • When ready to bake, position oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper. Slice dough into thin rounds, about 1/4 in. (0.5 cm) thick. Place on baking sheets about 1 in. (2.5 cm) apart. Bake on 2 racks in oven, switching sheets halfway through, until golden around edges, 8 to 10 min. Remove baking sheets to a wire rack. Let cool on sheets, then remove cookies to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. If making ahead, store in an airtight container, in a cool place up to 1 week, or freeze up to 2 months.

  • It's best to fill and decorate no more than a day before serving. Place Nutella and butter in a bowl. Add finely grated peel from orange and squeeze in 1/4 cup (50 mL) orange juice. Stir to mix evenly. Spread bottom sides of half the rounds with filling, then cover with remaining cookie rounds.

  • For topping, place chocolate chips with butter in a small bowl. Microwave on medium, stirring halfway through, until almost melted, 2 to 3 min. Spread over half of each sandwich top. Sprinkle with pistachios. Serve right away or refrigerate up to a day before serving.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 145, Carbohydrates 14g, Fat 9g.

Sandra Armitage: small business owner, mom of three and grandmother of one, Miniota, Man., 1st place, Holiday Cookie Contest. Four years ago, Sandra Armitage's family welcomed Ev Zschaeckel, a German exchange student, into their rural Manitoba home. Ev brought along this family recipe and helped Sandra translate it into English. At first, the cookies proved problematic - some of the ingredients just couldn't be found - but when a German acquiantance suggested using Nutella in the filling, the recipe fell into place. Ev has since returned to Germany, but her delectable sandwich cookies remain a favourite among the Armitages, who make them not only for Christmas but for all variety of special occasions.

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