Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

I don't care if you're married, single, in a relationship or not. Unless you live as a hermit, there's always someone (co-worker, mailman, teacher) whose Valentine's Day can be brightened by a gift of delicious and pretty heart-shaped cookies. Deliver a random act of kindness to someone with a batch of these rich and buttery cookies. What goes around, comes around, as the saying goes. 

They're even good just plain after they've cooled a bit.

But if you dip them in dark chocolate, they're even more delicious. Sprinkle a little more of the finely chopped hazelnuts on top. 

By the way, if you overwork the food processor trying to get the hazelnuts chopped very fine, they might clump together, so add a little flour to the bowl and "pulse" it rather than leave it on continuously.

For a really special someone, top with a bit of gold leaf. I bought mine online here.

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and share the goodness with a neighbor. 

Spread the love on Valentine's Day - or on an ordinary Tuesday.

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

printable recipe here

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used already peeled hazelnuts that I toasted lightly in the oven, but you can used hazelnuts with the skins if you want dark flecks in your cookies)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, plus 1 T.
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
10 ounces dark chocolate

Place the hazelnuts, sugar, flour and cornstarch in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter, vanilla and egg yolk and pulse until the mixture starts to bind together, scraping bowl at leaf once. Take the dough out of the food processor and knead it on a board a few times until it forms a mass. Chill it one or two hours, then let it rest for 10 minutes after taking it out of the refrigerator.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and cut out the heart shapes with a cookie cutter.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake about 12-14 minutes until edges turn a pale golden color. Cool on a rack before decorating.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat and dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Place on parchment paper then sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts (optional). For a special occasion: top with a small piece of gold leaf.

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