A good recipe and great ingredients withstand time.
I was reminded of this on Sunday evening. It was hot and steamy in my little Seattle kitchen, and I was decidedly cranky. I was anticipating a busy Monday ahead and wanted something small, delicious, sweet and easy.
I needed to soothe the transition from Sunday to Monday. Pie? Nah…too time-consuming. Dinner? Well, my husband was in charge of that. So…I mulled my options and within minutes I was digging through my recipe box looking for an oldie but a goodie: Grandma Holmquist’s Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I first discovered these gems when I visited the Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards in 1997, and Grandma Holmquist invited me into her farmhouse kitchen. She had baked a batch of these classics earlier in the day and handed me one straight from the cookie jar. She said she’d been making them for years and told me with a smile that she couldn’t keep the jar full when her farm clan was busy. Indeed. they are simple, easy and superb. And, the flagship ingredient-DuChilly hazelnuts-are the winning ticket.
Unlike other more run of the mill Pacific Northwest hazelnuts which are round and need to be skinned before using in recipes, the Du Chilly is a little-known heirloom variety. Elongated in shape and hard to harvest, they lack the bitterness of other varieties and are unique because they don’t require any tedious rubbing and skinning before using. Simply toast, chop and add.
I eventually wrote about the farm and published the recipe in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine that year, but the recipe became one that I made regularly when my kids were little. Aside from the amazing hazelnut flavor thanks to the toasted and chopped hazelnuts, the dough is ridiculously easy to crank out…it is oil based and can be stirred up in one bowl. Frankly, it was the easiest way for me to crank up a batch of delicious homemade cookies while little kids cruising around at my feet!
So, next time you are craving a little chocolate, a little hazelnut, something yummy, something easy…thank Grandma Holmquist for this one! She was on to a good thing years ago!
(Melissa A. Trainer is a Seattle-based food and travel writer specializing in topics and products related to food, kitchenware, and the culinary arts.)
Yield: 48 Cookies
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 cup canola or Wesson oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 cup chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl beat eggs well. Add sugars and beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla. Stir well to combine
Sift in dry ingredients and add hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake in batches in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.
by Melissa Trainer