Roasted hazelnuts and nutty wholemeal flour combine to make melt-in-the-mouth crumbly buttery hazelnut shortbread. This recipe is really quick and easy to make and with only five ingredients, it’s simple too. Perfect for autumn and Christmas festivities. Eat with friends – or alone.
I’m a bit of a shortbread fiend. It’s my favourite biscuit, whether homemade, discovered at a WI stall or bought in a shop. It’s a simple bake which only needs three basic ingredients. When I make my own, however, I do like to ring the changes.
What’s The Secret To Good Shortbread?
To achieve the perfect melt-in-the-mouth buttery shortbread consistency, use the classic ratio of 1:2:3. This means one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. For traditional shortbread, you need nothing else.
Good Quality Butter
Butter is the key ingredient in shortbread. It gives it both flavour and texture. So try and use the best quality butter you can afford or find. Unsalted butter is the one to go for as it contains less moisture than salted butter. You can always add a pinch of salt to compensate.
Never use margarine unless you need to make vegan shortbread. In this case go for the best vegan “butter” you can find.
Don’t Over Handle
Don’t over handle the dough. Flour contains gluten and the more it’s handled, the tougher it becomes. This is fine for bread, but not for shortbread, which should be crumbly with a melt-in-the-mouth quality.
The method I use for this hazelnut shortbread is to crumble the ingredients together as if making pastry. Then just press the mixture into the baking mould or tin.
Prick With A Fork
Prick the shortbread dough all over with a fork prior to baking. This allows steam to escape which helps to keep the ‘short’ quality.
As you can see from the photos in this post, I didn’t do that because the hazelnuts contribute naturally to the classic crumbly shortbread texture.
It’s best to cut the shortbread with a sharp knife whilst it’s still warm. Allow it to cool completely before removing from the tin. It should then break away cleanly. If you score the dough where you want to eventually cut it prior to baking, it makes it easier to cut cleanly later on.
How To Make Shortbread Biscuits
As mentioned above, a large round produces a short and crumbly texture. For a more snappy biscuity texture, roll the dough thinly and stamp out into biscuit shapes. Chill the biscuit dough before baking.
I have quite a collection of shortbread recipes, from individual biscuits to thick rounds similar to this hazelnut shortbread. Fancy clotted cream, white chocolate, lemon, coffee or even chilli shortbread? I have recipes for all of these and more.
For this hazelnut shortbread, I’ve subbed toasted hazelnuts for some of the flour. It gives a gorgeous hazelnutty flavour and a bit of texture too. I sometimes use rye flour which works well. But in this instance I went with my favourite baking flour, wholemeal spelt flour.
I’ve also gone for the no-fuss easy method of shortbread making with this recipe. You can cream the butter and sugar together, then work in the flour. That’s a good way to go if you’re rolling the dough to make individual biscuits. However, if you’re after a traditional round, rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar is an easier and lighter way to go.
Also, as we’re not rolling the shortbread and creating shapes, there’s no need to chill the dough before it goes into the oven.
Freestyle Hazelnut Shortbread
If you want to go freestyle, form the dough into a round with your hands. You won’t need a tin, but you will have to use the creaming method. My method makes the dough too crumbly to roll. You’re looking for a thickness of about one and a half centimetres (a bit over half an inch).
Hazelnut Shortbread Step-by-Step
Shortbread rounds are incredibly easy to make. Even with the addition of hazelnuts and the extra work required, you can make this recipe in four simple steps.
Step 1: Grind Hazelnuts
Toasting or roasting the hazelnuts brings out their distinctive flavour, though you can buy ready-roasted ones instead.
If you haven’t got ready roasted hazelnuts, it’s easy to toast or roast your own. Head over to my dukkah recipe to find out how to do it.
Grind the hazelnuts in a spice grinder or food processor to a rough powder. Be careful not to over grind or it will start to turn oily. Don’t worry if there are still a few pieces of nut, it all lends to the delicious hazelnutty experience.
Step 2: Crumble Ingredients
In a large open bowl, stir together the flour, hazelnuts, sugar and salt. Cube the butter, then add it to the bowl.
Rub the butter into the flour mixture lightly with your fingertips until you have a rough breadcrumb type consistency. It doesn’t matter if there are little lumps of butter, just not big ones.
Don’t take the butter out of the fridge until you’re ready to use it. If it’s soft it will start to melt and you’ll get a rubbery tough shortbread rather than a crumbly one.
Use unsalted butter. Salted butter tends to contain more moisture than unsalted and you don’t want too much moisture in shortbread.
Step 3. Press Into Baking Pan
Tip the mixture into a 20 cm (8 inch) round shallow flan tin. There’s no need to grease it first as shortbread doesn’t tend to stick. Something to do with all that butter perhaps.
As you can see, I use a silicone pan. Tin will ensure you don’t get a soggy bottom, but I find I don’t get one using silicone either.
Press the mixture flat with the back of a spoon, making sure it goes right up to the edges.
Use a fluted tin to get a prettier and crisper edge.
Score the top with a sharp knife into eight triangles. This will make it easier to cut later on.
Step 4: Bake Hazelnut Shortbread
Place the shortbread in the oven on the middle shelf. You don’t want it overly close to the top or it might darken too much or even burn. Either that or the insides won’t be cooked.
It only needs to bake for about twenty five to thirty minutes. The top should be crisp and lightly golden.
Place on a wire rack then immediately dust with caster sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into eight slices whilst the shortbread is still warm. However, leave in the pan to cool completely before removing.
How Long Does Homemade Shortbread Keep?
Shortbread keeps better than most biscuits and cookies as it contains relatively little moisture.
Store in an air tight container and it will still taste good in two weeks time. It can keep for up to four weeks, but mine has never made it that far.
Other Hazelnut Recipe You Might Like
- Chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies
- Hazelnut meringue with blackberries
- Raspberry chocolate hazelnut cookies
- Roasted hazelnut bliss balls
- Roasted squash with sage and hazelnuts in brown butter
- Toffee apple hazelnut cake
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this delicious hazelnut shortbread, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more shortbread recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Hazelnut Shortbread. PIN IT.
Hazelnut Shortbread – The Recipe
- 60 g skinned hazelnuts toasted or roasted
- 180 g wholemeal spelt flour can swap for flour of choice
- 80 g golden caster sugar + extra for dusting
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 160 g unsalted butter fridge cold & cubed
- If your hazelnuts are not already roasted, then toast or roast them for ten minutes or until golden and fragrant. See my dukkah recipe for instructions. If they have skins on, rub these off with a clean tea towel. Allow to cool a little.
- Preheat the oven to 170℃ (150℃ fan, 338℉, Gas 3).
- Grind the hazelnuts in a spice grinder or food processor to a rough powder. Be careful not to over grind or it will start to turn oily. Don't worry if there are still a few pieces of nut, it all lends to the delicious hazelnutty experience.
- Combine the ground nuts, flour, sugar and salt, then work the butter in with your fingertips until you have a rough crumble like consistency.
- Press the mixture into a 20 cm (8 inch) fluted flan tin or silicone mould with the back of a spoon. Make sure the mixture is distributed evenly and goes right up to the edges.
- Bake on the middle shelf for twenty five to thirty minutes or until the top is crisp and just starting to turn golden.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Scatter some golden caster sugar over the top and leave to cool for fifteen minutes.
- Cut into eight slices whilst still warm, but leave in the tin until cold before removing.
I’m sharing this simple recipe for hazelnut shortbread with We Made This Vegan for #CookBlogShare.