Will you be making sweets for the sweeties in your life this Valentine's Day? If so, I invite you to consider baking a batch of these easy and festive Raspberry Hazelnut Hearts. Crispy, hazelnut-y and filled with raspberry jam, this tasty little butter cookie has the potential to become a year round fika favorite.
To give credit where credit is due, a variation of heart-shaped thumbprint cookies grace the cover of the January/February 2020 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. I've been meaning to add a jam thumbprint cookie to the blog for awhile (they are a traditional Scandinavian fika treat after all) and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop my own recipe but with sweet heart-shaped vibes that would be perfect for a February fika treat.
I began by doing my research on Swedish jam thumbprint cookies. According to the charming book Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, jam thumbprints in Sweden are known as syltgrottor which literally translates to "jam caves". They are softer and lighter than their American counterparts and are baked in a small paper liner. In her book, Scandinavian Classic Baking, Pat Sinclair has a recipe for hazelnut thumbprints baked in a more traditional American style. I decided to use that as my model but with those sweet little heart shapes in the middle rather than the traditional thumbprint.
The recipe itself is largely adapted from The Perfect Cookie by America's Test Kitchen and is incredibly simple and straightforward. Toasted hazelnuts are ground together with flour and salt and added to creamed butter and sugar and an egg yolk. This creates an exceptionally fragrant, crispy hazelnut butter cookie that is the perfect home for a dollop of raspberry jam.
As fancy as those heart shapes in the center of the cookie look, they are deceptively simple to create. Simply use an eating utensil with a flat end or the inside end of a rubber spatula (see photo below) to create a deep "V" in the center of each cookie. The V will open up during baking to create a heart shape. It's as easy as can be!
This recipe is so fun and easy to make and hits all the right Valentine's Day notes. Of course you could choose to make a round divot in the center of each cookie for a traditional thumbprint if you would rather. If you decide to go that route, you can use your thumb to make a spot for the jam (obviously) or the back of a rounded teaspoon works well, too. But if it's February, why not make hearts, right?
I really hope you give these easy Raspberry Hazelnut Hearts a try. They come together in a snap and are a sweet and creative way to let those cookie-loving people in your life know how much you care about them. Happy Valentine's Day!
Raspberry Hazelnut Hearts
- ¾ cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ cup raspberry jam or preserves
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling optional
- Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer nuts to a clean kitchen towel and wrap them inside allowing the nuts to steam for a minute or so. Rub the nuts between the kitchen towel to remove the skins (don’t worry if all the skins don’t come off).
- Transfer toasted hazelnuts to a food processor along with flour and salt. Process until mixture is finely ground.
- Place butter and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and extracts and mix until fully combined. Slowly add flour and hazelnut mixture and mix on low until just combined.
- Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop 12 tablespoons of dough onto each baking sheet and roll each tablespoon of dough into a ball leaving at least an inch and a half of space between each cookie. Using the flat edge of an eating utensil or rubber spatula, create a deep V shape in the center of each cookie (for heart-shaped thumbprints) or press the back of a rounded teaspoon in the center of each cookie (for traditional thumbprints).
- Bake cookies for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the raspberry filling. Heat jam in a saucepan over medium low heat until bubbling. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard seeds. Spoon jam into the center of cooled cookies (or use a squeeze bottle or piping bag for more precision). Allow jam to set slightly before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
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