Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Your first impression of these cookies is probably like most everyone that saw them in real life: “Why are they shaped like hatchets, you creep?”. Well, on the day that I made them I thought it would be more obvious, being that it was Halloween and all. Hatchets are scary! Halloween is scary! It totally makes sense. Plus, it was a perfect opportunity for me to use one of the awesome cookie cutters my friend Natalie got me for Christmas last year.

Still, no one got it, making me look like a total weirdo. This isn’t uncommon, just a little unfortunate.

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s a slice-and-bake cookie palette. It’s super helpful because she gives you the recipe for basic slice-and-bake cookies, and then explains how to tweek the recipe to make it your own. In this case I decided to swap some flour out for cocoa powder, add ground roasted hazelnuts, a dash of unsweetened coconut, and voilà! They became my own recipe (and were a perfect way to use some of the hazelnuts I had left from those brown butter cupcakes I made).

Half-way through I ended up changing cookie cutters because the hatchets were breaking and I was in a rush. And when presentation is half the fun, nobody likes broken cookies.

If I were to make them again I would either add a glaze over the top with some powdered sugar and water, or just add a little more sugar to the dough. With a little more sweetness the chocolate flavor would come out more and they would be right on point. I had some white chocolate so I spread some on the circle-shaped cookies, but I’m honestly not even a white chocolate fan. I’m pretty sure I’ve had that chocolate since I made peppermint bark last Christmas. So yeah…

Like most recipes I post here, these are a great way to use what you happen to have on hand. Make them your own! And then send me a picture. I love looking at food. I do it all day. Seriously.

Also, I apologize for the sub-par pictures. My camera has been having some focusing problems. I think it might be ADD.

Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
From Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 50 cookies

2 sticks (8 ounces; 230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
1 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup ground, roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the salt, ground roasted hazelnuts, and coconut. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and cocoa powder, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s okay just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

3. While the oven is preheating, roll out dough until it is 1/3 inch thick. Cut out into whatever shapes you like. Since there is so much butter in the dough, you may need to put it back in the refrigerator in between rolling.

4. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.

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