These Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies have a delicious buttery and nutty flavour that works perfectly with the intensity of dark chocolate. They are great for the Holiday season, as an edible gift or for your cookie exchange - or simply as an every day sweet treat!
Why we love this recipe
Who doesn't love the mix of hazelnut and chocolate? Add a good amount of butter to the bunch and you get yourself the perfect combination of flavour and texture for a delicious treat! Trust me, they are the perfect bite to accompany your tea or coffee.
These chocolate and hazelnut shortbread cookies are super quick and easy to prepare (they are simply mixed in the food processor!), can be prepared in advance and even frozen.
They have a great texture that melt in your mouth like a classic shortbread cookie, but with a great crunch and intense flavour added by the hazelnut and double chocolate.
Just like these Almond Shortbread Cookies, these cut-out shortbread cookies are so fun to decorate with chocolate, chopped hazelnuts or even pretty edible flowers! You can also use different cookie cutter shapes, so get your imagination rolling!
These hazelnut chocolate cookies are made out of 7 simple ingredients, plus the ones you choose to decorate your shortbread cookies (scroll down to recipe card for all ingredients quantities):
- Flour: simple Plain / All-Purpose Flour, preferably sifted to aerate it and avoid lumps.
- Hazelnut Meal: or Hazelnut Flour. I used store-bought hazelnut meal but you could also grind your own hazelnut into a flour if preferred. You can even toast them first for a nuttier taste.
- Icing Sugar: will work with powdered sugar too. I also highly recommend to sift if first too as it tends to get lumpy when stored.
- Cacao: unsweetened natural cacao powder, also sifted.
- Butter: Unsalted Butter, very cold. The temperature of the butter is what gives shortbread cookies their distinct texture so make sure to use it straight out of the fridge.
- Egg: we are only using the egg yolk here - you can keep the egg white for another recipe.
- Chocolate: used both inside the cookie dough and melted to dip the chocolate hazelnut shortbread cookies in. For inside the dough, the chocolate bar is chopped very finely. Make sure to use proper cooking chocolate for both or it will not melt properly and could get grainy.
These cookies could also be easily customised with the addition of a few other ingredients like a teaspoon of vanilla extract or coffee extract, some orange zest etc,...
For the decoration, I used chopped raw hazelnut, some hazelnut meal and some dried edible flowers. You could use only one or mix them up like I did - it's the step of the recipe where you can get creative!
How to make Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies step by step
This hazelnut and chocolate cookie dough is so easy to make - it only requires a food processor! That being said, they can also be made by hands if you don't have a food processor (see FAQs section below for more information on how to make them by hands).
- Before starting the recipe, get all of your ingredients ready. Cut the butter into small cubes, separate the egg and very finely chop the chocolate.
- Photo 1: Place all the dry ingredients - Flour, Hazelnut Meal, Icing Sugar and Cocoa Powder - in the bowl of your food processor. It is recommended to sift the dry ingredients first.
- Photo 2: Pulse for a few seconds on medium speed to mix them together.
- Photo 3: Add the very cold butter cut into small cubes.
- Photo 4: Blend until the butter turns into small crumbs that are evenly distributed around the dry ingredients. The large the crumbs, the flakier the cookies will be; I would recommend to go for smaller crumbs as we don't want the cookies to rise too much.
- Photo 5: Add the Egg Yolk.
- Photo 6: Blend until a dough comes together. It might take a little while but it will get there! Stop as soon as the dough comes together to avoid over-mixing it.
To know it is properly combine, press some of the crumbs in your hands. If they stick together, it's ready.
- Photo 7: Add the very finely chopped chocolate and mix just to combine. This can also be done by hands instead of in the food processor if preferred.
Make sure the chocolate is chopped very finely. If you leave large chunks, the cookie dough will later be harder to cut out with a cookie cutter.
- Photo 8: Transfer the chocolate hazelnut shortbread cookie dough on a lightly floured surface. Bring together into a ball then flatten it (you might need to lightly knead the mixture).
- Photo 9: Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it with a rolling pin, about 6mm (about 1/4 inch) thick.
You can roll it thicker but will need to bake the cookie for a bit longer. I don't recommend rolling them thiner than this or they might burn too quickly and/or get dry. You want that delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture!
- Place the rolled dough flat in the fridge and let it chill for at least 1 hour, or until the butter has hardened again. The dough can also be kept for 24 hours in the fridge at this point.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F. Prepare a large baking tray with a baking mat (I use a Silpat) or baking paper / parchment paper.
- Photo 10: Take the rolled dough out of the fridge and remove the top sheet of baking paper. With a Cookie Cutter, cut out the dough to shape the shortbread cookies.
I used a Fluted Cookie Cutter about 5 or 6 cm wide (about 2 inches) similar to the ones used for these Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies. But you could basically use any shape of cookie cutter you want - these cookies won't move too much in the oven.
You can re-roll any leftover dough, chill it again until hard then cut out more cookies if needed. You should be able to bake a full second batch.
- Photo 11: Transfer the cookies over the prepared baking sheets. You want to be quick here so that the dough remains very cold. If the dough starts to warm up (you will then notice that the cookies are harder to move around as they get very soft), place it back in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Bake for 12 minutes, take out of the oven, leave to cool down for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer over a cooling rack.
- Photo 12: when completely cool, melt the chocolate (either in the microwave in 30sec increments or over a double boiler) and dip half of each chocolate hazelnut cookie into it. Gently shake each cookie over the bowl then scrape its bottom over the edge of the bowl to remove any excess.
If the chocolate starts to set and get harder, you can re-heat it up slightly to melt it again. You want to make sure the chocolate is very fluid to get the best results.
- Place over a sheet of baking paper and directly top with your choice of decoration while the chocolate is still melted. Let them cool down and set completely.
To decorate them, you can use chopped whole Hazelnuts, Hazelnut Meal or dried Edible Flowers like I did. But there are many other delicious options like candied orange peels, flaky sea salt, milk or white chocolate drizzle, dried fruits...
Yes you can make your own hazelnut flour by simply blending raw hazelnuts into a fine powder. Be careful with the mixing to avoid turning the hazelnuts into a paste. Roasting the hazelnuts in the oven first is a great way to get a more intense, nutty flavour.
Make sure to use proper Cooking Chocolate (and not eating chocolate). I used Dark Chocolate but you could basically use any type of chocolate you want - from dark to milk or even white chocolate! I highly recommend using a chocolate bar, finely chopped, instead of chocolate chips.
For the melted chocolate, I used Couverture Chocolate which will be the best one to use if you have access to it, but otherwise a regular cooking chocolate will be fine too.
Absolutely, the food processor is used to simplify the process but you can follow the same steps if you prefer to make these chocolate hazelnut cookies by hands in a large bowl.
Simply cut the butter into the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers / palms until you get small crumbs, or use a Pastry Blender.
You can basically use any cookie cutter shape you want! Or even cut them out into squares, triangles or rectangles using a large sharp knife.
You could even use them to make sandwich cookies like these Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies, filled with a simple chocolate ganache or a chocolate hazelnut spread for example!
Tips for Success
- Don't skip the chilling process. The dough needs to be very cold to be easily cut out with a cookie cutter. It also needs to be very cold when it gets in the oven, or the butter will melt too quickly and the shortbread cookies will spread out.
- If the cookie dough becomes soft while you are cutting them out, place back in the fridge for a few minutes. You want the dough to be very cold (and the butter to be hard) when you place it in the oven. If your oven is not fully heated when you are done with cutting out the cookies, place the tray in the fridge in the meantime.
- If you don't want to dip the chocolate hazelnut cookies in melted chocolate, you could also top them with slightly larger chunks of chocolate, slightly pressed into the dough, just before baking them. The chunks will melt and you will get a similar effect.
- The ingredients used for the decoration is where you can really get creative! Use more hazelnuts (sprinkle of hazelnut meal, some chopped hazelnut etc..), drizzle different types of chocolate, use candied orange peels, sea salt, or even dried edible flowers like I did here!
Storing & Freezing
These chocolate hazelnut cookies will stay fresh for quite a few days, but it is recommended to eat them within 3 or 4 days for the best texture. They can stay at room temperature if your kitchen isn't too warm, or in the fridge in an airtight container otherwise to insure the chocolate does not melt.
The shortbread cookies can be frozen too, but I recommend freezing the unbaked dough (either rolled, flat or with each cookie pre-cut) and baking it within 24 hours before serving. This will give you the best fresh texture! Simply add a minute or two to the baking time to defrost them.
If you prefer to freeze them once they are baked, don't freeze them dipped in the melted chocolate. Allow for the cookies to defrost at room temperature before dipping them in chocolate.
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Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- 180 gr (1 cup + 3 tablespoon) Plain / AP Flour
- 125 gr (1 1/4 cup) Hazelnut Meal - or finely ground hazelnuts
- 100 gr (1 cup) Icing Sugar
- 20 gr (2 tablespoons) Unsweetened Cacao Powder
- 180 gr (3/4 cup) Unsalted Butter
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 50 gr (1.7 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate - finely chopped
- 150 gr (5.3 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate - melted
- Hazelnut Meal, Chopped Hazelnut and/or Dried Edible Flowers - to taste
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- Place the sifted Plain/AP Flour, Hazelnut Meal, Icing Sugar and Cacao Powder in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix.180 gr (1 cup + 3 tablespoon) Plain / AP Flour, 125 gr (1 1/4 cup) Hazelnut Meal, 20 gr (2 tablespoons) Unsweetened Cacao Powder, 100 gr (1 cup) Icing Sugar
- Add the very cold butter cut into small cubes and blend until the butter turns into small crumbs that are evenly distributed around the dry ingredients (See note 1).180 gr (3/4 cup) Unsalted Butter
- Add the Egg Yolk and blend until a dough comes together (see note 2). Add the very finely chopped chocolate and mix until just combined.1 Egg Yolk, 50 gr (1.7 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate
- Transfer the cookie dough over a lightly floured surface and lightly knead it to bring it together into a flattened ball. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it with a rolling pin to be about 6mm (1/4 inch) thick (see note 3).
- Place the flat rolled dough in the fridge and let it chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours), or until the butter has hardened again.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F and prepare a large baking tray with a baking mat or baking paper.
- Take the rolled dough out of the fridge and remove the top sheet of baking paper. With a Cookie Cutter the shape of your choosing (I used a 5 - 6 cm / 2 inch fluted cookie cutter), cut out the dough to make the shortbread cookies.
- Re-roll any leftover dough between the two sheets of baking paper, chill it again until hard then cut out more cookies for a second batch.
- Place the cookies over the baking tray (see note 4) and bake for 12 minutes. Take out of the oven, leave to cool down for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer over a cooling rack until completely cool.
- Melt the chocolate (either in the microwave in 30 seconds increments or over a double boiler) then dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Gently shake each cookie over the bowl then scrape its bottom over the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate (see note 5).150 gr (5.3 oz) Dark Cooking Chocolate
- Place over a sheet of clean baking paper and optionally, directly top with your choice of decoration while the chocolate is still melted. Let them cool down and set completely.Hazelnut Meal, Chopped Hazelnut and/or Dried Edible Flowers - to taste
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- The large the crumbs of butter, the flakier the cookies will be. I would recommend to go for smaller crumbs as larger pockets of butter will make the cookies rise in the oven, which we want to avoid.
- It might take a little while but it will get there! Stop as soon as the dough comes together to avoid over-mixing it. To know it is properly combine, press some of the crumbs in your hands. If they stick together, it's ready.
- You can roll it thicker but will need to bake the cookie for a bit longer. I don't recommend rolling them thiner than this or they might burn too quickly and/or get dry.
- You want to be quick here so that the dough remains very cold. If the dough starts to warm up (you will then notice that the cookies are harder to move around as they get very soft), place it back in the fridge for a few minutes.
- If the chocolate starts to set and get harder, you can re-heat it up slightly to melt it again. You want to make sure the chocolate is very fluid to get the best results.