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Raspberry Hazelnut Shortbread

by Nick Verna
(Morrisville, NC USA)

Thanksgiving weekend is when I start the annual tradition of baking cookies for Christmas.

Luckily I have a large freezer and I can preserve the baked delights until Christmas Eve. I usually make at least a dozen different types of cookies and I take them out of the freezer as needed.

This cookie is my daughter’s favorite, raspberry hazelnut shortbread. It is an Austrian delight consisting of a shortbread cookie topped with raspberry jam and hazelnuts and then dipped in chocolate—they make you feel like you have died and gone to cookie heaven!

Raspberry Hazelnut Shortbread

Servings: 24 cookies

Shortbread Dough:
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

Filling/Topping:
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves (seedless)
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts (chopped coarse)
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate

Instructions:

Spread the whole hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 325F degree oven for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, or until the skins begin to brown. Place the toasted hazelnuts on a clean kitchen towel and rub them until most of the skins rub off. Cool them completely and then chop them finely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. You will see it change color and texture until it gets lighter in color and fluffy. Beat in the egg until completely incorporated. Add the flour and mix until it forms a ball.

Divide the dough into 2 round balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for EXACTLY 1 hour. If you refrigerate any longer the dough will get too hard to roll out.

Draw a 15”x4” rectangle on a sheet of wax paper and flip over so that drawing is on the bottom.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Roll out each ball of dough between two sheets of wax paper (one had the rectangle) into a 15 x 4 inch rectangle. Peel the top sheet of wax paper off of the dough and trim the sides. You can use the trimmings to fill in the corners. Flip over the wax paper with the dough and place it on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper, then peel off the remaining wax paper. Fold the sides inward ½ inch, keeping the sides even, to form a lip around the edge of the dough. Repeat for the second ball of dough. Carefully spread half the jam on each rectangle of dough and sprinkle the hazelnuts on the jam.

Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Leave the baked cookies on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. While still warm, cut each rectangle into 12 slices. Place the cut slices on a wire cooling rack until completely cooled.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or on a low setting in your microwave, stirring frequently until just melted. Dip the long end of each cookie into the melted chocolate being careful not to burn your fingers in the hot chocolate. Let the excess chocolate pour off and place the cookie on a sheet of wax paper until completely cooled.

Place the cookies in an air tight container with wax paper between the layers of cookies.

The cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month if you want to make them ahead of time.

Cookie Variations – This is a very versatile recipe. You can change a variety of the ingredients to customize it to your own tastes:
1. Change the flavor of jam
2. Change the nuts
3. Dip in white chocolate
4. Skip the chocolate and make a glaze of 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor

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