Make-Ahead: The cookies can be made 2 days ahead, stored in an airtight
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 cup cream or oloroso sherry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) skinned and coarsely chopped skinned hazelnuts (see Note), or
use walnut or pecan pieces
2/3 cup raspberry or apricot preserves, rubbed through a wire sieve
Position two racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed
until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time,
beat in the yolks, then the sherry. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the
Using a rounded teaspoon for each, roll the dough into 1-inch diameter balls.
Beat the eggs whites in a small bowl. Place the chopped nuts in another bowl.
One at a time, roll the balls in the whites, then the nuts to coat. Place about
1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using your fingertip or the round end
of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide indentation in the center
of each cookie. Place the preserves in a sandwich-sized plastic bag and close.
Snip off one corner of the bag to make a 1/2-inch wide opening. (Or transfer the
preserves to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch wide plain pastry tip.) Squeeze
the preserves into the indentations.
Bake, switching the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back
halfway through baking, until the undersides of the cookies are golden brown
(lift one up from the baking sheet to check), about 20 minutes. Cool on the
sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely. (The
cookies can be made up to 2 days ahead, stored in an airtight container, at room
Note: Many supermarkets now sell skinned, chopped hazelnuts, which are a boon to
busy bakers. If you have to skin the hazelnuts yourself, here's how to do it.
Bake the hazelnuts in a preheated 350°F oven until the skins crack, about 10
minutes. Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the nuts in the towel
and let stand for 10 minutes. Use the towel to rub the skin from the nuts. Don't
worry if you don't get every last bit of the brown skin off--a little bit will
add color and flavor to your baking.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies