05 November 2010

Hazelnut Shortbread - Variation on a Classic Biscuit/Cookie







Shortbread is one of the British classics I grew up with. Goes perfectly with a cup of tea! Whatever flavorings one might add, the predominant flavor of good shortbread must be butter. And I do mean butter; margarine will not do. My grandmother (from England's Lake District) was particularly fond of hazelnuts, as am I; so I decided to change up my usual shortbread with some Bob's Red Mill finely ground hazelnut meal.

It was delicious, perfectly scrummy, and a subtle enough addition to not overpower the aroma of butter as they were baking. (I say "they" rather than "it" because I prefer to cut the shortbread into individual biscuits before baking.) When developing recipes, I always cut back on the sugar as much as possible. This barely sweet treat has less than 1/2 teaspoon sugar per biscuit (that's British English for "cookie").


Hazelnut Shortbread


(Makes 25 biscuits/cookies)

1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 packed cup finely ground hazelnut meal
1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 With electric mixer, cream butter well. Add sugar, vanilla extract and salt; continue creaming. Beat in hazelnut meal, then beat in flour. Scrape out onto piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape into disk, wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. On very lightly floured surface, roll or pat dough into 1/4-inch-thick 7 1/2-inch square. Cut into 25 1 1/2-inch squares. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes; edges will be just barely starting to brown.

16 comments:

Marc Frederic said...

I don't eat many cakes or biscuits, however I do like shortbread, it must be all that butter. I might just give this a recipe a go, will have to leave out the nuts though.

Jean, you've got me salivating!

Jean said...

Thanks so much, Marc! Coming from you, that is quite a compliment!

Jenn said...

Oh these look so good, I bet they are so scrumptious! I wonder if you couldn't find hazelnut meal could you grind up your own hazelnuts??

Jean said...

Thanks, Jenn. Yes, you could grind your own hazelnuts, pulsing rather than just running the food processor, taking care to not turn it into a paste, hazelnut "butter." Or just go online and order the meal from Bob's Red Mill, or maybe a local independent grocery or health food store would get it for you.

Anonymous said...

Sounds really inviting and yummy! Once when I was a kid, my friend and I decided to raid his Scotish grandmothers's homemade stash of shortbread. I think we must have eaten a dozen apiece!! What a belly ache...oh but was it worth it
Gary T.

Jean said...

Gary, thanks! Cute story. Sounds like something young boys would get up to!

Ami said...

I think I must make these - anything this buttery will surely be a winner. Must find hazelnuts or hazelnut meal . . .

and tea? sugar? milk/cream? lemon? is there an 'appropriate' accompaniment to tea (and what type of tea goes well with hazelnut scones?)

Jean said...

Thanks, Ami! I think any black tea, but especially Earl Grey or Darjeeling, goes well with hazelnut shortbread or hazelnut scones. Black tea with just a touch of milk, maybe 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.

Sully said...

Are you going to address the 'Frisco ban on Happy Meals, i.e. toy temptations? I'm thinking this is a chance to create an Unhappy Meal. You know, huge stuffed panda give-aways and the meal is broccoli, brussels sprouts and asparagus.

Jean said...

Well, if I do, I won't be referring to the great city of San Francisco as "Frisco"--surely you know that's a hanging offense!

celia said...

Jean, your hazelnut shortbread sounds wonderful! It's 10pm at night, and I'd love a piece with a cup of tea right now. Must be good...must be good.. ;-)

Jean said...

Thank you, Celia. It was about 5am as I read your comment, and I was wishing I had a piece of hazelnut shortbread to go with my first cup of tea of the day. Maybe I'll whip some up (it's so easy) once I get my eyes open!

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

Oh, I'm so glad I came over for dinner :) looks really good. I also wish I would live closer, so that you could send me the leftovers ;)

Jean said...

Thanks, Anne! Don't you just love leftovers! Some things I make specifically for the leftovers!

plasterers bristol said...

yummy. This sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing this.

Simon

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Simon.

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