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Hazelnut Shortbreads  Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place rack in center of oven. Lightly butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) two - 8 or 9 -inch (20 or 23 cm) tart pans with removable bottoms. 

Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant and the skins start to peel. Remove from oven, place the warm hazelnuts in a clean dish towel, roll it up, and let the nuts 'steam' for 5 minutes. Briskly rub the nuts to remove most of their skins. Set aside to let the nuts cool.

Place the hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the brown sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. 

In a small bowl combine the flour, cornstarch (rice flour) and salt.

In bowl of electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and remaining brown sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the nut mixture.

Divide the dough in half. Press each half evenly into the prepared tart pan. Using a sharp knife, score (make shallow lines) each pan of shortbread into 16 even pieces. Place in preheated oven and bake until deep golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer shortbread to a wire rack and cool for five minutes before removing from tart pan. Place the shortbread rounds on a cutting board and cut each shortbread round into 16 wedges (along the lines scored). Cool completely on a wire rack.

While the shortbread cools make the chocolate glaze. In a stainless steel bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Remove from heat. Either dip each wedge of shortbread into the chocolate or alternatively put the chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a small tip or a paper cone and pipe chocolate in a decorative pattern. Let stand until chocolate sets. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Makes 32 cookies

Hazelnut Shortbreads:

1 cup (140 grams) raw hazelnuts

3/4 cup (160 grams) light brown sugar

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour

3 tablespoons (25 grams) cornstarch (corn flour) or rice flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze: (optional)

3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vegetable shortening.

NOTE:  You can use two cake pans instead of tart pans, butter and flour pans well. To remove shortbread from pans after having baked and cooled for 5 minutes, take a plate slightly smaller than the pan, place the plate of the surface of the shortbread, and invert the shortbread carefully on it. Reinvert the shortbread onto a cutting board and cut into 16 wedges (along score lines). Cool on wire rack.