hazelnut shortbread cookies
February 16, 2014 § 4 Comments
Yup, back again with another post (forgive me). Everyone in the history of ever seems to have a birthday in February/March, so for the next few weeks I’ll be baking up a storm.
I threw these together yesterday with an abnormally large bag of hazelnuts from – you guessed it – Costco.
This is just your classic buttery shortbread cookie, loaded with chopped hazelnuts and dipped in chocolate for a touch of elegance. The original recipe makes 60 to 70 cookies, which even I am not capable of consuming, so I halved it and it was just right.
I think next time I would cut them a little thicker to preserve that familiar shortbread cookie shape, since mine turned out a little flat.
And my innovative mother thought of this for the leftover chocolate:
Kudos to you, mom!
Enjoy these cookies with a tall glass of milk and lots and lots of sprinkles.
(from Will Cook for Friends)
1 stick + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
a little less than 1 cup whole hazelnuts
Powdered sugar, or a bit more flour, for rolling
Optional — melted chocolate and chopped hazelnuts or sprinkles, for garnish
For the hazelnuts:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the whole hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring or shaking the pan every few minutes to prevent burning.
While the nuts are still warm, scoop them into the center of a clean kitchen towel, bunch the towel up around them, and rub them around inside the towel to get the dark outer skins off. Not all of them will come off, and that’s okay, but try to be as thorough as possible – the skins are bitter and not very tasty.
Chop the nuts finely, either with a knife or a few pulses in a food processor, and set aside to cool.
For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a hand or stand-mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract on low speed until just combined. Or, mash everything together with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.
Add the flour, salt and chopped hazelnuts, and mix on low speed until the dough just begins to come together. If the dough is very crumbly, you can stop and use a spoon or spatula to fold the dough together, or use your hands.
Dump half the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a disc about 1 inch thick, then wrap and place in the fridge. Repeat with the second half of dough. Chill for 30-60 minutes. (Dough can be kept in the fridge for up to a few days, or frozen for future use – if the dough is thoroughly chilled like this, let it thaw on the counter for a bit before trying to roll it out.)
Dust your counter with a bit of powdered sugar or some flour. Working with one disc of dough at a time, unwrap it and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter (I used a 2 inch round), cut the cookies out and place on an ungreased baking sheet. (Alternatively, you could roll your dough into a log before refrigerating, then slice into 1/2 inch rounds with a knife. If you like, you can roll the log in more chopped nuts before slicing for a nice presentation.)
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Let cool completely before serving.
Optional, once the cookies have finished cooling, dip in melted chocolate and garnish with more chopped hazelnuts. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge until chocolate has set. (I was in a hurry so I stuck mine in the freezer for five minutes and that worked fine)