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Hazelnut-Coffee Oatmeal Cookies

These third-place cookies in the 2004 contest from Amy Rodriguez offer a delightful blend of textures and flavors. Rodriguez adapted these cookies from a recipe used by her grandmother, who she described as fun-loving and young at heart, but meticulous when it came to baking Christmas cookies. Because the heat from just-baked cookies helps melt the chocolate, place the candy squares on the cookies immediately after removing them from the oven.

  • Chilling time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 44 cookies

Ingredients

  • 11/2 Cups quick or old-fashioned uncooked oats
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Teaspoon each: baking soda, salt
  • 1 stick (1 2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup each: brown sugar, granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons each: instant coffee granules, hazelnut-flavored non-dairy creamer
  • 1/2 Cup chopped nuts
  • 1 chocolate bar (4 ounces), separated into small rectangles
  • 44 pecan halves

Directions

1. Pulse oats in food processor 10 times; set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl; set aside.

2. Cream butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add sugars, egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add coffee granules and non-dairy creamer.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low; add oats and chopped nuts. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drop dough by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until puffed, cracked on top and slightly brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove cookie sheets from oven. Immediately place a chocolate rectangle on each cookie. Top chocolate with a pecan half. Remove cookie from cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.