I love a good shortbread: crunchy and buttery, crumbly and sweet. The addition of hazelnuts in this Hazelnut Shortbread adds a light nutty flavor that creates a perfectly delicious cookie. My dad has some very nice friends that live in Oregon and every year around the holidays they send a big bag of fresh, local hazelnuts.
I quickly freeze them to keep them them fresh and enjoy baking with them year round. The shortbread dough is baked in a tart pan which gives the edges of the cookie a pretty fluted ruffled look. I topped my dough with a generous sprinkle of vanilla sparkling sugar just before baking for a little shine, crunch and sweetness. Here is how you can make your own.
The entire recipe can be found here. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts but I substituted 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts instead. You can use either nut, just make sure to toast and let cool completely before grinding in the food processor.
Generously butter a 9" round tart pan and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor pulse the toasted, cooled nuts until finely ground. Place ground nuts into a medium bowl. Add the flour and salt and whisk together, making sure that all the nuts are covered with flour. Set aside.
Dough in buttered tart pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Transfer dough to prepared pan and place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the dough and press it evenly into the pan. Transfer pan to the fridge and let chill until firm, around 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Dough pressed into tart pan.
When dough is chilled, cut into 8 wedges using a bench scraper or a knife. Prick or dock the dough in a pretty pattern with a wood skewer or fork. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar if using. Bake until golden brown and firm in the center, around 40 to 45 minutes.
If the cut pieces have baked together, quickly re-cut them while the shortbread is still warm. Let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container in a cool place, but not the fridge. The flavor of shortbread improves with age!