Nutella Cookies

My dear friend Emily shared this recipe with me and got me a set of the Wilton cookie cutters. She warned me that these would take a little time but after tasting hers, I knew time wouldn’t matter. These are cute and delicious!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts or chopped hazelnuts
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Nutella
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan, roast for 10 minutes, and allow to cool. If using chopped hazelnuts, only roast for 5 minutes. Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until finely ground.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or handheld mixer, mix the butter and sugar on low speed until just combined. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts plus 2 teaspoons of water. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt and then with the mixer on low, add it slowly to the butter mixture.
Add the hazelnuts and mix on low until the dough comes together. Dump onto a floured surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (or until you need it–up to 1 day).
On a floured board, cut the dough in half and roll each piece 1/4 inch thick (not thicker). Cut 50 (2-3/4 inch) rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. Use a 3/4-inch cutter to cut a small hole out of the middle of half the cookies. I used the Linzer cookie cutter by Wilton. You can use different inserts for the center.
Place all the cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment paper or a slip mat and chill for 15 minutes. Save the center pieces and make baby cookies if you want.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating once, until the edges JUST BEGIN to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Spread Nutella on the flat side of each solid cookie. About a 1/2 teaspoon. Not too much or it comes out of the sides.
Dust the tops of the cutout cookies lightly with confectioners’ sugar and place them on top of the Nutella, dusted side up.
Yields: 50-55 cookies
Total estimated time: 3 hours
Adapted from Ina Garten’s, How Easy is That (Easy but time consuming)…Well worth it though! These cookies are heavenly.
Wilton Linzer Cookie Cutter:

http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=2308-0920

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