Toasted Hazelnut Slice ‘n’ Bake Cookies with Milk Chocolate
Toasted hazelnuts, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and milk chocolate totally converted me into a slice ‘n’ bake cookie enthusiast.
I’ve been going wild over slice ‘n’ bake cookies for 4 days straight. I made a batch on Monday. Wasn’t too happy with them. Totally flavorless, completely crumbly. Needed more butter and something interesting. On Tuesday, I made hazelnut “puddles” — not cookies. On Wednesday, the stars aligned because I landed on the perfect ratio of flour, butter, and flavor. I tested the recipe two more times yesterday (who wants to come over and help me eat all 689374 cookies?) and here we are now: toasted hazelnut slice ‘n’ bakes with oodles of melted milk chocolate. Recipe #9 in my annual Christmas cookie palooza!
These slice ‘n’ bake cookies are thick, crunchy on the edges, soft in the center, and full of brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, and buttery flavors. To top them off, I add a healthy dose of melted milk chocolate. This way I knew Kevin would eat them. And they’d look pretty in pictures. And it’s chocolate. Win win win.
I’ve made slice ‘n’ bake cookies dozens of times over the past several years, but I’ve never been particularly happy with their flavor. They always just sort of taste like… well… crumbles of butter. But everyone loves them! So I always make them during the holidays. But this year I wanted to share a recipe on my blog that I truly loved. And I knew slice ‘n’ bakes had the potential to be just as mouthwatering as a caramel chocolate mocha Oreo stuffed peanut butter something.
Aren’t they fun? I seriously love these.
Slice ‘n’ bake cookies could not be any easier. The dough is sort of like my shortbread cookie dough and basic roll-out sugar cookie dough combined. Just completely basic ingredients like flour, sugar, egg and butter. In fact, that’s literally the base recipe. Those four ingredients. And, like I said above, the ratio of ingredients is what matters and could either leave you with dry, crumbly cookies, greasy puddle cookies, or slice ‘n’ bake perfection. Let’s focus on doing it right.
Creamed butter/sugar is the base of my slice ‘n’ bake cookies. I opt for using brown sugar instead of white sugar. If you know anything about me by now, you know that my favorite ingredient in the world is brown sugar and I use it whenever I can in dessert recipes. There’s flavor and moisture there! And it’s everything in today’s cookies. A dose of vanilla extract also adds wonderful flavor. To the creamed mixture goes 1 egg. Remember, room temperature egg. Always use room temperature egg when the recipe calls for room temperature or melted butter. Room temperature eggs emulsify so much easier into batter or dough, creating a uniform structure and texture throughout your baked good. Also, eggs incorporate more volume into the batter when at room temperature. Temperature is imperative!
Now, the flour. You’ll need 2 cups, which is just enough to create a firm, yet still slightly soft cookie dough. Exactly the texture you want when making slice ‘n’ bake cookies. Then, a pinch of cinnamon and just enough finely chopped hazelnuts for flavor. And don’t forget to toast those hazelnuts before adding them. Here’s what I do: I toast chopped hazelnuts for 8 minutes in the oven. Let them cool down, then pulse them in a food processor a few times to really get a nice, fine chop. Or chop them up yourself. (A food processor is easiest though!)
Finely chopped toasted hazelnuts and the cookie dough:
Now, roll the dough up. You’ll want to do this on a floured surface with floured hands. Divide the dough in half, then roll each half into logs. The length of logs depends on how large you want your slice ‘n’ bake cookies. Because the longer the log, the smaller in diameter the cookies. Make sense? My dough logs were about 8 inches long, making the cookies about 2.5 inches in diameter.
Roll the dough up very tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I always chill the slice ‘n’ bake cookie dough in the refrigerator overnight, which makes this a convenient make-ahead recipe for cookie baking marathon days. Wait. You have those too, right?
The cookie dough has to be chilled for at least 4 hours or you will be left with greasy thin blob cookies. For lack of better words.
Now, it’s time to slice ‘n’ bake.
I roll the logs in coarse sugar for a little extra sparkle. That’s totally optional. You can also roll the logs in finely chopped hazelnuts, too.
A dunk in milk chocolate because it’s Friday…
And we’re DONE. Toasted hazelnut slice ‘n’ bake cookies with milk chocolate are crazy simple to make with only a few base ingredients. The trickiest part, if we can even call it that, is rolling the cookie dough into logs. That’s why a floured surface is key to help you handle the cookie dough. The logs of cookie dough can chill out in the refrigerator for a few days, so it’s really easy to just take them out, slice ’em up, and pop into the oven. They’re soft in the centers, thick, crunchy on the edges, exploding with flavor, and super dense. I have several ideas for different slice ‘n’ bake cookie variations below the recipe. Let me know if you try any!
Toasted Hazelnut Slice 'n' Bake Cookies with Milk Chocolate
A floured surface is key to help you handle the cookie dough when rolling into logs. The logs of cookie dough must be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or even up to a few days (or even frozen!) so it's really easy to just take them out when you need them, slice, and bake them.
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (120g) toasted and finely chopped Diamond of California hazelnuts, divided1
- optional: coarse sugar for rolling
- 8 ounces (226g) milk chocolate, coarsely chopped2
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to high speed and beat in 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don't have to be exact. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Remove logs from the refrigerator and roll into coarse sugar, if desired. It's really only for added crunch and a little sparkle! Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chopped milk chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining chopped hazelnuts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Baked and chocolate-dipped cookies freeze well - up to three months. Or you can freeze them without the chocolate and dip/decorate after they thaw out. Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to three months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
- I simply use pre-chopped Diamond of California hazelnuts found in the baking aisle. Then, I toast them for 8-10 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Let them slightly cool. Then, I put them into the food processor and pulse a few times to really chop them up fine. You want small pieces of nuts. See photo in this post for a visual. You can also use walnuts or almonds.
- Make sure you are using quality, pure chocolate. Not chocolate chips. You can also use bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or white chocolate instead. Or no chocolate at all!
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