The church biscuit: 67. Hazelnut chewies

Hazelnut Chewies

Hazelnut Chewies

150 g ground toasted hazelnuts

125 g unrefined icing sugar

4 egg whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 190º C/ 170º for fan oven/ 375º F/Gas Mark 5. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

Put the hazelnuts and sugar into a saucepan.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks are formed. Combine eggs with the hazelnuts and sugar in the saucepan. Place pan over a moderate heat and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture starts to come away from the sides of the pan.

Place spoonsful of the mixture into rough mounds on the baking parchment 5cm apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes

Hazelnut chewies

Hazelnut chewies

 Another recipe from  500 Cookies by Philippa Vanstone; Apple Press, 2005  but not one that I shall be making again. I don’t know whether I failed at the bit where I was supposed to stir all the ingredients over a moderate heat until “the mixture starts to come away from the sides of the pan”, although it all seemed to go well and the little nuggets came out of the oven fine. But the next morning when I came to gather them unto my bosom for transportation to church they had all become very slightly soggy and incredibly sticky. That said I ended up with an empty plate and no leftovers for the next service. So, quite good as to taste but zero for handling – I couldn’t even get them into a tin but had to travel to church holding the platter aloft and looking somewhat ridiculous. 

Any advice as to what may have gone wrong?

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  1. Posted November 3, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    The recipe sounds just like my recipe for macaroons, except for the cream of tartar. Maybe there’s more oil in the hazelnuts than in the macaroons I usually make, and that changes the chemical balance?
    If it comes to that, what does cream of tartar do in a recipe? I don’t think my DS teacher ever taught us that!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      In the recipe for Beacon Hill cookies, I said this towards the end as I too had wondered about the cream of tartar.
      “The addition of cream of tartar acts to stabilise the egg whites, adjusting their pH, increase their volume and their tolerance to heat. Cider vinegar does the same thing and many recipes opt for this. (Lemon juice too but perhaps the taste would be too intrusive in this case.)”
      I think the problem lay more with the double cooking – once on the hotplate and then again in the oven as other macaroon style recipes have not had this problem with excessive stickiness – buy why … who knows?

  2. Penny Cross
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    No one could look other than magnificent carrying such a platter, Mary. My only advice is to double the quantity next time…

    Perhaps adding slightly more dry mixture – ground hazelnuts or almonds or white spelt – and place on rice paper as they sound very ‘macaroon-y’ in baking behaviour.

    Did I ever mention that your ricotta/chocolate biscuits freeze well? Actually, Delia says that most biscuits do.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      No, Penny, life is too short, I’m ditching this recipe. There are plenty of similar recipes that work perfectly and without all the fuss of the stirring on top of the stove bit.
      Good to know biscuits freeze well – thank you for that.

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