Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies recipe and cookbook review: Season by Nik Sharma

#Season #ABrownTable #NikSharma #ChronicleBooks #chocolate #cookies

Nik grew up in India, then lived in the Midwestern and Northeastern U.S., and finally settled in California with his husband from the Southern U.S. All of those influences are very present in his food, and it makes for the most delightful fusion. I was thumbing through Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, oohing and aahing, flagging recipes to try. His spiced, roasted potato salad called for paneer and chourico as ingredients, but listed page numbers for their recipes. I’d never made cheese before and was delighted that he thought it was simple enough to be just a lead-in recipe. I hopped right in the car to go grab a gallon of milk to get started, and I’m so glad I did! It really was that easy. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve passed by in Indian cookbooks if I wasn’t going to have time to pop by a specialty market. That wont happen again! But that’s just background preparation. His dishes have wonderfully complex, deep flavors, and are creatively inspirational. This book was a joy to explore.

I fell in love with his Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies. These are to die for. They’re like a mash-up of Nutella and gingerbread with pops of black pepper. As a bonus, these are unintentionally total nutrition bombs. They’re kind of a runner’s dream cookie. There’s no flour in them. He uses hazelnut meal, which is just finely ground hazelnuts, but it’s chosen for flavor, not to be healthy. Then there’s bittersweet chocolate, with at least a 70% cocoa level, and a ton of crystallized ginger. Ginger’s amazing for your joints after working out, and dark chocolate is the healthy kind, but that’s just a happy coincidence. It’s all for flavor. These cookies taste amazing. They’re crisp and chewy. Do it. Go make them. A huge thanks to Chronicle Books for letting me share the recipe with you! I’ll tell you all about the rest of the book after the recipe. 😀


Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, photographs by Nik Sharma (Chronicle Books, 2018.)

Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies

In the early eighteenth century, a marriage took place in Turin, Italy, and the world has never been quite the same ever since. I’m talking about the sacred union of chocolate and hazelnuts, ground together into what is called gianduja. It was born of economic necessity, when cocoa was expensive, and hazelnuts became a filler. Be forewarned: these cookies are maddeningly good.

Makes 1 dozen cookies

2 cups [165g] hazelnut meal or flour
1 cup [200g] packed jaggery or muscovado sugar
(If you’re looking for a substitute, brown sugar works well. ~ Jen)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract or vanilla extract
½ cup [75g] chopped bittersweet chocolate [70% cacao]
1/3 cup [55g] chopped crystallized ginger

In a large bowl, whisk together the hazelnut meal, jaggery, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper, and salt. Add the egg, melted butter, hazelnut extract, chocolate, and ginger and stir with a large wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Grease your hands with a little oil to prevent the dough from sticking. Divide the dough into twelve equal parts and shape them into balls. Flatten them into 2 inch [5 centimeter] rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wrap the entire baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, and preferably 2 hours.

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and put half the rounds of dough on the second sheet. Spread out the rounds on both baking sheets and refrigerate one of them. Bake one batch of cookies at a time until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


My thoughts and pics of the dishes we tried:
1) Curry Leaf Popcorn Chicken – p 48 with Spiced Maple-Vinegar Syrup – p 200. We loved this dish. If you’re a chicken and waffles fan, you will, too. The maple against the chicken with a nice acidic pop from the vinegar, and the warm, earthy, floral spices with just a touch of heat make it so balanced and interesting. My youngest loves chicken nuggets so my tastebuds are super happy to bring this one into the rotation.

2) Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds, Black Mustard, and Coconut Oil – p 105. These are super quick, and nice and spicy.

3) Steak with Orange Peel and Coriander – p 173. The flavor on this is phenomenal. It’s citrusy blast is very different from most steak rubs.

4) Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Yogurt Sauce – p 40. Love! It makes extra sauce, so I’ll just have to double the sweet potatoes next time because the kids wanted more.

5) Spiced Meat Loaf – p 167. Nice and sticky and spicy.

6-13) Chourico Potato Salad – p 69 with Paneer – p 260 and Homemade Goan-Style Chourico – p 191. This is fantastic. I’d never made cheese before, and the Paneer was surprisingly easy! The chourico’s easy, too. You just need to start both a few hours before you need them.

14-16) Bombay Frittata – p 137 with Kefir Crème Fraiche – p 260. Lovely herby frittata. The garam masala in the background adds a warm flavor. We loved the kefir crème fraiche. It’s super tangy.

17) Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies – p 203. These are to die for. They’re like a mash-up of Nutella and gingerbread with pops of black pepper. As a bonus, these are unintentionally total nutrition bombs. They’re kind of a runner’s dream cookie. There’s no flour in them. He uses hazelnut meal, which is just finely ground hazelnuts, but it’s chosen for flavor, not to be healthy. Then there’s bittersweet chocolate, with at least a 70% cocoa level, and a ton of crystallized ginger. Ginger’s amazing for your joints after working out, and dark chocolate is the healthy kind, but that’s just a happy coincidence. It’s all for flavor. These cookies taste amazing. They’re crisp and chewy. Do it. Go make them.

Some others I have flagged to try: Grilled Dates and Raisins with Black Pepper and Honey – p 33 * Chile-Sumac-Pomegranate Nuts – p 37 * Spiced Beef Kebabs – p 52 * Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad – p 59 * Rainbow Root Raita – p 63 * Toasted Naan and Chicken Soup – p 76 * Naan – p 94 * Charred Snap Peas and Fennel with Bacon-Guajillo Salt – p 106 * Fingerlings with Crispy Sage and Garlicky Kefir Crème Fraiche – p 110 * Sumac-Seared Scallops with Mostarda – p 119 * Crab Cakes with Lemongrass and Green Mango – p 123 * Tandoori Swordfish Steaks – p 127 * Deviled Eggs with Creamy Tahini and Za’atar – p 144 * Ground Lamb and Potato “Chops” with Sambal Oelek – p 175 * Roast Leg of Lamb – p 181 * Jaggery Ice Cream – p 199 * Spiced Maple-Broiled Peaches – p 200 * Lemonade Two Ways – p 225 * Rhubarb, Cardamom, and Rose Water Sharbat – p 231 * Spiced Mango Milkshake – p 236 * Caramelized Fig and Bourbon Iced Tea – p 247

*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.


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Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food

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