As I mentioned in my Christmas Fruit Loaf post, I spent this Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and it was wonderful. One of the best things was the sheer amount of thought and effort my boyfriend’s mum had gone to to ensure that there was always a dairy free sweet treat for me around the house.
One of the many bakes she made were these delicious Hazelnut Shortbreads. Light and melt in the mouth (like all shortbreads should be) with small pieces of chopped roasted hazelnuts throughout, they were just perfection. These are required to be eaten sitting down, with your full attention, with a cup of tea or coffee on the side. No cheating allowed – these are not your average biscuits!
As well as chopped roasted hazelnuts there is also a small amount of hazelnut syrup. I have used Monin Hazelnut coffee syrup which works perfectly and ensures an extra hit of hazelnut flavour – you can find these types of coffee syrups in the coffee aisle (who would have thought such a logical place!) in most big supermarkets.
The only tiny addition I have made to the recipe from my boyfriend’s mum is to introduce a small amount of cornflour, which according to the Scottish inventors of shortbreads is used to ensure melt in the mouth perfection. Although, as my boyfriend’s mum proved, it is possible to get this effect without using it, if your touch is not super light it helps the biscuit be a little more forgiving and still give you the most melt in the mouth shortbread as possible.
Makes 12, Takes 30 minutes, plus 1hr 30 minutes baking and chilling.
- 60g blanched hazelnuts
- 125g dairy free butter (I use Pure dairy free Sunflower)
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 3 tsp hazelnut syrup
- 170g plain flour
- 10g cornflour
- 4 tbsp sugar for dusting – I used half demerara and half golden caster sugar to give some variation.
- In a a pan over medium – high heat, add the whole hazelnuts and toast until golden brown. Keep a watchful eye as nuts go from perfect to burnt very quickly!
- With a sharp knife, chop the hazelnuts into small pieces.
- Beat dairy free butter and caster sugar together until creamy, then beat in the hazelnut syrup until combined.
- Add the chopped hazelnuts, cornflour and half the flour to the butter and beat until almost incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and using your hands bring together the dough. Don’t worry if not all the dough has come together and a few crumbs remain – The key is not to overwork the dough.
- Wrap the dough and any remaining crumbs in clingfilm and then chill the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes – but anything up to 12 hours is fine. At this stage, if wished, you can freeze the uncooked dough. Just defrost before moving onto the next step.
- Line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll out to about half a centimetre thick. Using your choice of cutters, cut out the shortbreads – I used a circle cutter about 5cm in diameter and ended up with 12 shortbreads.
- Prick each shortbread a few times with a fork, and then place the tray of biscuits back in the fridge while preheating your oven.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and once it comes to temperature, take the biscuits from the fridge and bake straight away for 18 – 20 minutes until lightly browned.
- Once out of the oven, place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool slightly. Whilst still warm, dredge with sugar – I used demerara on half of the shortbreads, and golden caster on the others.
- Cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.