Toasted Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies, and Speaking of Love…

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies, perfect with tea or coffee, or dipped in chocolate

It feels like a thousand years ago that The Fiancé and I first met… in reality it was only three or four, but for all I care we could’ve known each other for an eternity before that. We aren’t exactly your typical pair, he and I, but despite the odds we fit together perfectly.

When I first started this blog, he was The Boyfriend. Now, he’s The Fiancé… and in a few days, I’ll have to get used to calling him “The Husband”. Or, T-Hubs, as he has suggested. We’ll have to see about that one.

Last year we celebrated with an Engagement Party (you can read about our party, here). It was small, and intimate, just us and our families toasting our life together. That was the ceremony he and I wanted — nothing big, nothing fancy — and ever since then we’ve been pretending to be married. Now, coming up on the anniversary of our first date, we’ll be signing the required documents and making it really, truly official.

Even though we’re being low-key about it, there are plenty of little things that need taking care of, which is awfully hard to manage when we’re so busy gazing into each other’s eyes all the time… so you’ll have to excuse any interruptions to your regularly scheduled blog posts.

In the meantime, I made you these hazelnut shortbread cookies, to tie you over. They may not seem like much, but paired with a cup of tea or coffee, or dipped in a little chocolate, these cookies are just the right kind of wonderful.

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies, perfect with tea or coffee, or dipped in chocolate

Recipe Notes: These are simple shortbread cookies, which can easily be adapted however you like. The hazelnuts can be replaced with pecans, almonds, or just about any other nut you like. You can also play with other flavorings by adding other extracts, or fresh herbs or citrus zest. The cookies are even better next-day, once the flavors have had a chance to come through. Enjoy!

Toasted Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten – Makes about 60-70 cookies

3 1/2 sticks (14oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 TBSP (230g.) granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (490g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 3/4 cups (about 8oz.) whole hazelnuts
Powdered sugar, or a bit more flour, for rolling
Optional — melted chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, for garnish

For the hazelnuts:
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.   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.
3.   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.
4.   Chop the nuts finely, either with a knife or a few pulses in a food processor, and set aside to cool.

For a photo tutorial on how to roast, see my post, here: how to roast & skin hazelnuts. UPDATE: since writing this, I’ve discovered a new way to skin hazelnuts that’s even easier. Check out the new tutorial, HERE.
For the cookies:
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.   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.)
3.   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.)
4.   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.)
5.   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 1 1/2 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.)
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Let cool completely before serving.
7. 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.

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25 Responses to Toasted Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies, and Speaking of Love…

  1. mateja May 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    mmm, they look great, and pictures are beautiful ;)

  2. shannon weber May 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    girl, you go and get those million little things done (been there! it’s like they all sneak up on you during the last week) and get married. I don’t mind the wait. Well, i do, but i’m also not selfish and i kinda really want to see wedding photos. so. :)

    • Willow Arlen May 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      Haha, thanks for understanding. There are so many things I never even thought about before… makes me glad I’m not having a big ceremony, or I’d be stressed out beyond belief!

  3. Foodie Stuntman May 10, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

  4. Elly McCausland May 10, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Beautiful photos, and – I can imagine – beautiful cookies! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  5. Amy @ Swiss Miss in the Kitchen May 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    These cookies look so delicious Willow!!! I’m sure the combination of short bread, hazelnuts and chocolate tasted heavenly!!

    • Willow Arlen May 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      They were very delicious, indeed! I liked them even better the next day with a cup of tea – all the hazelnutiness had gotten stronger as they sat. :)

  6. Eileen May 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    These cookies sound so good! Shortbready slice and bakes are possibly my favorite kind of cookie. I’m going to have to keep this in the back of my mind for this year’s holiday cookie baking. :)

    • Willow Arlen May 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Aren’t they great? I love how simple they are to make, too – just a few ingredients, and the flavor possibilities are endless! These would be perfect for the holiday’s, too. :)

  7. movita beaucoup May 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    This is all so exciting! The impending nuptials, the cookies, the butter…

    Enjoy it all, lady!

  8. Helene Dsouza May 17, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    We love shortbread cookies here and with hazelnuts, they can only taste heavenly good. I think so I ll congratulate already to your upcoming marriage. :)

  9. Diana December 22, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Absolutely Delicious. Made them for Christmas as an alternative to ginger cookies. Merry Christmas!

  10. Caitlin March 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe! I made these and for my friend’s birthday and she absolutely loved them. This is how they turned out:

    • Willow March 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      Glad you liked them!

  11. Jo-Anne November 27, 2015 at 12:13 am #

    Perfect timing for finding such a great recipe. I just happened to have a big bag of hazelnuts in my freezer. Christmas hazelnut short breads ! Woo Hoo! Thanks Willow :)

    • Willow Arlen November 27, 2015 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks, Jo-Anne! These are PERFECT for Christmas!

  12. [email protected] December 7, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I love how much in love you are! Love is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? These cookies too look like they are made with love and I disagree I think they look just the right kind of beautiful. <3

    • Willow Arlen December 7, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      Thank you! This post is actually from a while back, so we’re already married… but I appreciate the congratulations anyway. I agree completely, love is a wonderful thing! :)


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