Hazelnut Shortbreads: Preheat
your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place rack in center of oven. Line
two baking sheets with parchment paper.
First, place the
hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 to 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Then chop coarsely.
In a small bowl, whisk the
flour with the salt.
In the bowl of your electric stand
mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter
and sugar, on medium speed, until well combined. Beat in
the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour
mixture and chopped hazelnuts, mixing only until incorporated.
Divide the dough
in half and then roll each half
between two sheets of parchment or wax paper until it is about 1/4 inch (.5 cm)
thick. As you roll, periodically check the top and
bottom sheets of parchment and smooth out any wrinkles. Then place dough on a
baking sheet (along with the parchment paper) and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about
30 - 60 minutes). (For faster chilling, place in the freezer for about 15-20
remove from refrigerator and peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using a
3 inch (7.5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Place on the
parchment lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
Put the baking sheet, with the unbaked cookies, in the refrigerator, while you
preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Meanwhile, gather up any scraps of
leftover dough and re-roll. (You may need to refrigerate the dough again before
cutting out the cookies.)
Bake the cookies for approximately
13 minutes or until the shortbreads are a deep
golden brown color. This
ensures a crisp and crumbly cookie. Remove
cookies from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
The shortbreads can be stored at
room temperature for about one week or they can be frozen.
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