1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened hazelnut paste* or peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp scraped out, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces or larger
*1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional).
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars. Add the hazelnut paste or peanut butter, beating until smooth. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla bean pulp or extract, scraping down the bowl as needed.
2. In another bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda and the salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and combine at low speed until the dough comes together. Mix in the chocolate pieces and, if desired, the nuts. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets, flattening them slightly by hand.
3. Bake until lightly browned, 9 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookie sheets on a wire rack before removing the cookies.
*Hazelnut paste is a paste made from roasted and ground hazelnuts. To make: Roast nuts slightly in oven; let cool; ground in food processor.
*Personally, I don't like to use nuts when baking, especially when a recipe calls for hazelnut paste or peanut butter. When using peanut butter, it gives the cookies a natural nut flavor, which will over power the cookie if you add more nuts. But, of course, feel free to add more if you would like!