These crunchy, spicy cookies will satisfy any hazelnut craving.
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add about 1 cup of the flour to the shortening mixture. Add brown sugar, egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Beat until well mixed, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat or stir in the remaining flour and the 3/4 cup ground hazelnuts or pecans.
Divide the dough in half. On waxed paper, shape each half of the dough into a 10-inch-long log. (Lift and smooth the waxed paper to help shape the roll.) If desired, roll 1 of the logs in the 1/3 cup chopped nuts. Wrap each roll in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 to 48 hours or until firm enough to slice.
Using a thin-bladed knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
Meanwhile, for the Confectioners Icing, in a small mixing bowl stir together sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring, and enough milk (4 to 5 teaspoons) to make of drizzling consistency.
If desired, decorate some of the cookies with Confectioners Icing by drizzling icing over cookies; sprinkle with chopped nuts. Or, if desired, dip cookies without nuts on the edges in melted chocolate, dipping about half of each cookie; sprinkle with chopped nuts, or pipe or drizzle Confectioners Icing over cookies. Makes about 60 cookies.
Wrap dough in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.