Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance.

1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon baking powder
1¾ cups flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely ground hazelnuts or blanched almonds
2 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or blanched almonds

To prepare dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together instant coffee, cardamom, baking powder and flour, and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ground hazelnuts or almonds and beat until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

To prepare cookies: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 2-inch crescent shapes. Place crescents 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate cookies: In a double boiler over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and stir until very smooth. Quickly dip one end of each crescent into chocolate, and then into chopped nuts. Transfer cookies to wire racks over wax paper and cool completely.

2004 Finalist: Leslie Smith of Minneapolis, Minnesota