Cookies That Come Up Short: Hazelnut Shortbread

When I was flipping through The Sweet Life to find a cake to make for my friend Dorothy, a hazelnut shortbread recipe also caught my eye. Although I normally avoid roll and cut cookies, my love of hazelnuts was strong enough to overcome my aversion to dragging out the rolling pin and cookie cutters.

This recipe has only six ingredients. You cream room temperature butter and sugar for 8-10 minutes until very fluffy and light in color. Then you add all of the dry ingredients at once (ground hazelnuts, cornstarch, flour, and salt) and mix until combined. After chilling the dough for a few hours, you roll it out and cut the cookies. The dough was easy to handle and I didn't run into any problems with sticking or tearing. I was also able to re-roll the dough scraps without any problems, after chilling them for a bit.

I used a rectangular fluted cutter -- I always like rectangular cutters because they minimize scraps. The recipe headnote says that these cookies rise and increase in size dramatically during baking, but my cookies stayed pretty close to their original size. I actually thought this was a plus, because the cookies retained their distinct scalloped edges.
These cookies tasted fine, but I thought they were a letdown. The texture was a little hard (perhaps I overbaked them), and the flavor was somewhat bland. I couldn't decide if they were too sweet or perhaps needed a little more salt -- but either way, I don't think the cookies did a good job of showcasing the flavor of hazelnuts. I don't plan to make these again, because given the expense of hazelnuts and the time and effort required to remove the skins, I try to reserve them for recipes where they pack a punch!

Recipe: "Hazelnut Shortbread" from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman, recipe available here at Cookstr.