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Barley thumbprints with honey and hazelnuts

Time 50 minutes
Yields Makes about 32 (2-inch) cookies.
Barley thumbprints with honey and hazelnuts
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
1

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until they’re finely chopped with most pieces the consistency of steel-cut oatmeal and a few slightly larger ones, about 10 one-second pulses. Or chop the hazelnuts by hand.

2

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the chopped nuts and whisk well again, then make a well in the center.

3

In a deep, medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and zest until the mixture is thoroughly blended and turns opaque, about 1 minute. Pour the oil mixture into the center of the flour mixture. Working from the center, combine the wet and dry ingredients with a dough whisk or a wooden spoon. When much of the flour is incorporated, bring the dough together with a few gentle turns — it should be soft and moist. If it is dry, gently knead in a tablespoon or two of milk. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside for 25 minutes.

4

Meanwhile, place one rack in the top third of the oven and one in the bottom third and heat to 325 degrees. Line two large rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.

5

Once the dough has rested, divide it in half, working with one half per baking sheet and keeping the remaining dough covered. Using about 1 heaped tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. If the dough cracks, gently press and roll until smooth. Place the balls onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Using the thick end of a wooden spoon (about 1/2 inch) or your thumb or index finger, gently press each ball down to flatten by about a third — don’t worry about some cracking — then fill the indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon jam. If you use hazelnuts, don’t make an indentation but press the nut in while gently holding the thumbprint with your other hand.

6

Bake until the cookies firm up and are deep golden brown all around but still yield slightly when gently pressed with a finger, rotating the sheets once halfway from front to back and top to bottom, 23 to 25 minutes total. Carefully slide the cookies with the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely. They will firm up as they cool. Thumbprints will keep at least 5 days in an airtight container.


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