Chocolate Hazelnut Snowballs

Snowball Cookies

Tonight, I was crucial to the success of a rescue operation.

It has been bitterly cold in Montreal this week, with today’s high around minus 15 degrees. My plan was to avoid the cold by sitting at home by the fire and napping/watching TV all day. Midway through Jeopardy the call came; my brother needed help. He had parked his car outside a metro all day and it wouldn’t start. Normally I would let my dad handle this type of situation, but this time it was decided we both would go. We donned our snow gear, grabbed the jumper cables and headed out.

When we arrived at the scene my brother looked half frozen, but he refused to put on a hat. The plan was to push my brothers car out of it’s parking space so that we could boost it. The men attempted to push the car while I got the cables.

But the car wasn’t moving.

So I headed over to help. And with my measly little pipe-cleaner arms I succeeded in getting the car moving.

I don’t know what they would have done without me. We got the car out of the spot, boosted it and everyone headed home, safe and sound.

Snowball cookies

Once home, I felt it was time to reward myself with a hot chocolate and a couple of these Chocolate Hazelnut Snowball cookies.The recipe was adapted from this one in the December Food and Wine. These were the last of the Christmas cookies I made this year. The texture is kind of similar to biscotti, a great cookie to have with a cup of tea or coffee.    I used hazelnuts instead the pecans called for in the recipe because of an allergy. I also cut the quantity of nuts used by half a cup, because I felt that the hazelnuts would overwhelm the cookie.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Snowballs

Makes 30-36 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Icing sugar for coating
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast them for 5 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt together. Stir the flour into the butter mixture until well combined. Stir in the hazelnuts. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Roll the dough in to tablespoon sized balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The cookies will be slightly firm to the touch when done. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.

Enjoy!

Cherry and Sorrel Salad

Growing up I would ask my parents to get a pool every summer. Every summer they would say no. To be honest I asked them to get a pool this summer too; still no. Sigh. I guess it’s a turtle shaped kiddie pool for me again this year.

Instead of a pool they have trees and gardens. Sitting in the backyard almost makes me forget that I’m in a city. There are two little herb gardens, tomato plants, cucumbers, peppers, all kinds of flowers and more. Birds and squirrels are regular visitors.

This weekend some raccoons also stopped by. They showed up in the middle of the afternoon, and didn’t seem to be afraid of people at all. One them came right up to the patio door knocked. He would have come and sit down to lunch if we had opened the door. They are strangely cute and terrifying at the same time. They knocked over some plants, pulled my laundry off the rack. I assume they must have been very hungry because as far as I know raccoons are nocturnal, and although I felt bad I couldn’t feed them. I wanted my backyard back. My dad eventually scared them off, and we were once again able to enjoy the day.

Along with the sage and oregano in the picture above, there is also sorrel in the garden. I had never tried sorrel until yesterday; it’s got a zesty almost lemony taste to it. I instantly wanted to make a salad with it. I had already been planning to make a salad with cherries and decided to use the sorrel as well as some baby spinach as greens. The sweetness of the cherries was a great contrast to the zesty favour of the sorrel.


Cherry and Sorrel Salad

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbps lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups sorrel, chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  1. In a small jar, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper together.
  2. Put the greens and cherries in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  3. Plate then top with the goat cheese and hazelnuts.
Enjoy!