The summer before my Junior year of high school, I served as a steward for the Billy Graham Congress in Amsterdam. It was a huge training event for Pastors, Evangelists, Teachers, and Missionaries from all over the world. I remember meeting people who had traveled from various parts of Africa, Moldova, Canada, Ecuador, and more. My volunteer jobs included everything from stuffing binders to serving soup to ringing people up in a make-shift bookstore. It was an incredible experience. And I was 16 years old nonetheless! My parents put me on a plane, riding with a guy from home a couple years older than me that I really didn’t know and off I went to Amsterdam. I still can’t believe they just waved goodbye as I boarded a KLM flight to Europe! They surely did trust me! They did come a week or two later along with my 14 year old sister to actually participate in the BG Congress. Well, if the experience of flying to Europe virtually solo wasn’t already awesome enough for a 16 year old, they topped it by taking my sister and me throughout Germany to tour where my Dad was once stationed in the Army and found Jesus as his Savior. That was such an incredible experience and the further I’m separated from it, the more meaningful it is to me. I’ll never forget watching my dad take time to visit the drain where he through his last pack of cigarettes when he decided to quit cold turkey once he gave his life to Christ. He wept as he stood thanking the Lord once again for being more than enough for him as he stood over that personal altar. Now that he’s gone onto Heaven, that image in my mind is one of my most priceless treasures of him. That trip is full of so many wonderful memories. One of my favorites was my dad driving us through Germany in search of Hitler’s “Eagles Nest.” He had heard that it had an absolutely gorgeous view. My dad, an avid History buff and Pastor alike, I’m sure was trying to instill a lesson in my sister and me that God can redeem even the vilest of creatures and there was no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy the beauty from the perch that once housed one of history’s greatest oppressors as also we mourned the loss of the millions of lives that evil man had robbed and thanked the Lord for saving each of us from giving into evil so vehemently like Hitler had. BUT, the thing is, my dad was terrible with driving directions and he took a wrong turn. Seeing signs that said something like, “Next stop, Austria,” he turned his head over his shoulder and said, “Well, girls, how’d you like to go to Austria instead?” Sometimes wrong turns become the best right turns. We wound up in Salzburg. The vibe from that city was completely romantic. I still want to take my husband there some day. We quickly saw all sorts of scenery from “The Sound of Music” and the door to Mozart’s home. One of my favorite spots was The Mirabell Gardens. It’s the location where they filmed the “Doe, Ray, Me” scene in Julie Andrew’s opus. It was somewhere nearby there that I picked up a box of interesting looking chocolates. The label said these had a hazelnut filling. Curious, I bought a package of Mirabell Chocolates. They were in a word: divine. I brought back a tin or two of them and rationed them off throughout the next year. I’ve never been able to find them in the States. I can still say to this day, they are in my top three lists of chocolates. (The others would be Milka and Belgian chocolates- all of them pretty much!)
This long story, my friends, was to tell you that this was my introduction to Hazelnut anything. From then on, my heart strings have played a symphony every time I get to taste chocolate hazelnut morsels. Oh, my my my. You don’t even want to get me started on how much I love Nutella. I have to hide it from myself every time I buy it. You can imagine my delight when I came across this recipe in our former church’s cookbook! These cookies that I hope you’re about to make are so unique and wonderful. They really remind me of Ferrero Rocher truffles in cookie form with their awesome taste and texture. And the fact that the scoops are so small really adds to that sentimentality. My two year old niece and I were delighted to make these for my in laws and some other friends and family yesterday. These tasty little bite sized cookie truffles have been bringing smiles to all who have tasted them! I hope you’ll enjoy these too. And if you’re looking for a good recipe for cookies to give as a gift this Christmas season…these would be a decadent treat to wrap up in adorable packaging as you Reach Beyond Your Reach!
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBSP butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup hazelnuts.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Grab a medium bowl and mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and chocolate hazelnut spread. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Slowly add flour mixture. Then add chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Scoop out tablespoon increments of the mixture and place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely.
Yields: Approximately 40 cookies
Recipe Source: Dede Fuson, Judson Baptist Church Cookbook