Matthew Evansí Hazelnut and Chocolate Kiss Biscuits

21 August 2019 Matthew Evans

Matthew Evansí Hazelnut and Chocolate Kiss Biscuits

Photo by Alan Benson

Makes 10

Imagine roasted nuts in a shortbread- style biscuit, sandwiched with bittersweet chocolate icing. Now stop imagining and get baking. It’ll take you 25 minutes.


180g butter, softened
50g (about ⅓ cup) brown sugar
1 tablespoon very strong coffee, cooled
200g (1½ cups) plain flour
50g (½ cup) cornflour
100g hazelnuts, roasted lightly and crushed but not too finely ground

Chocolate Butter Icing

50g butter, softened
65g (roughly ½ cup) icing sugar, sifted
35g (3 tablespoons) cocoa powder, sifted


Preheat the oven to 180C.
Beat the butter with the brown sugar and coffee until light and pale. Add the flours and hazelnuts and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. The mixture can be quite soft, and if you’re doing it in a warm room, you may need to refrigerate it for a bit prior to rolling. Roll large teaspoons of the mixture to make about 20 even-sized balls.

Place on non-stick paper on a flat baking tray, far enough apart that they won’t touch when cooked (they’ll swell a little as they bake). Use a fork or two fingers to press them down so they flatten out to a little less than 1cm in height. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12–15 minutes or until they start to brown on the bottom and perhaps just start to colour on top. Turn the tray around at half time, if you think of it. Cool on the tray until firm, then on a wire rack.

For the chocolate butter icing: Beat the butter with the icing sugar and cocoa until smooth. Spread onto half the cooled biscuits and sandwich with the remaining halves while the icing is still soft.

If you and the family don’t eat them all as soon as they’re made, they are better a few hours later when the icing has firmed somewhat. In that case, store the biscuits in an airtight container.

Matthew says…

I grew up with tea. Since before I can remember, a nice cup of tea would start my parents’ day. Dad would get up early, put the kettle on, and make a pot for Mum and take it to her in bed.

There was tea at mid-morning, with something sweet. 

Later came a good cuppa in the afternoon, which also involved the biscuit tin. And of course, being British, while my parents drank a dark Italian coffee after dinner, the rest of us drank tea as a warming, relaxing brew before bed. Tea was a time to stop. A time to talk. A time to revive.

Nowadays, I’m more of a coffee drinker, but tea still tastes like home. And, as the saying goes, a cup of tea without a biscuit is a wasted opportunity. 

Whenever the tea was served, the wish was for biscuits, and the best were always homemade.

I still love a biscuit, even as my sweet tooth has waned. A good one reminds me of learning to cook at my mother’s apron strings. I adore the making – usually these days it’s a pleasure I share with our 10-year-old son. I adore the smell of them baking. And of course, there’s the eating.

Every mouthful of biscuit encapsulates the joy of my childhood. The carefree days of youth, spent climbing trees, fishing for yabbies and riding bikes through the bush. Days when the worst thing I could imagine was an empty biscuit tin; a problem at once confronting and easy to fix. From Anzacs to shortbread, there’s a lot of emotion bound up in every little bite.

These chocolate kiss biscuits, like a hazelnut melting moment with chocolate icing, are a bit fancier than those I made as a kid. But the memories, oh the memories remain.

» See Matthew Evans in Gourmet Farmer on SBS. His book, On Eating Meat, is out now.

» This recipe was first published in Ed#592