1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts*
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, such as Land O’Lakes, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cognac, brandy or Grand Marnier
* To toast the hazelnuts, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread the nuts in a single layer in a jelly roll pan and bake for 10 to15 minutes or until the nuts are golden beneath their skins, shaking the pan two or three times during the baking. Wrap the nuts in a clean towel and cool completely. Rub the nuts back and forth between the folds of the towel to remove the loose skins.
Make the cookies:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Place the flour, sugar, salt, espresso powder and toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground.
3. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, cook the cream, butter and honey until the butter is melted. Stir in the dry ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly with a metal spoon, until the sugar is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, still stirring. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Space each mound at least two inches apart from the rest.
5. Bake the cookies for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the the cookies are are a deep golden brown in color; do not underbake. (At this point, the cookies will not be set.)
6. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling. While cooling, the cookies will set completely and become crisp.
7. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Make the filling:
8. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until competely melted and well blended. Remove the top part of the double boiler from the bottom.
9. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, until the mixture is free of lumps. Blend in the liqueur. Use immediately.
Assemble the cookies:
10. Spread a thin layer of the filling (about 3/4 teaspoon) over the bottom of a cookie, coming to within 1/4-inch of the edge. Top with another cookie, bottom side down, pressing gently to adhere. Place the filled cookie on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment and allow the chocolate to set completely. (The amount of time it takes the chocolate to set will depend upon the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. These cookies are best eaten the day they are made, stored in an airtight container, between layers of wax paper.)
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