Shortbread is a simple and delicious cookie that is super adaptable! The main components are just butter, flour, and sugar. One of my favorite cookies are these chocolate hazelnut shortbread cookies! You can cut them in rounds or these cute little hearts for Valentine's Day!
basic shortbread recipe
This is my base shortbread recipe that I always come back to! It's buttery and crumbly without being too dry. Once you have the base recipe, you can adapt it an infinite number of ways!
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup nut flour (almond, hazelnut, etc)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This recipe incorporates chopped hazelnuts and is dipped in dark chocolate (to die for) but you can use the same outline to make Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies too!
My favorite trick that I use for almost all baked goods, is substituting a portion of the regular flour with nut flour (usually almond flour). This helps keep your cookies, cakes, etc super moist and delicious and can add a little extra flavor too. Since these are hazelnut cookies, I used hazelnut flour and it was such a good call.
You can buy almond and hazelnut flour at most grocery stores and online (Bob's Red Mill* is my favorite brand for nut flours) but you can also make it yourself to save a little money. Hazelnuts can be pricey so buying in bulk is always the best bang for your buck. Trader Joe's has big bags of toasted hazelnuts that are much cheaper than elsewhere that you can easily use to grind up your own hazelnut flour.
Make Hazelnut Flour
- If you have hazelnuts that are already toasted, wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub them until the skins fall off.
- If you have raw hazelnuts, spread them out evenly on a cookie sheet and toast them at 325 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until the nuts are browned slightly. Then wrap in a towel and rub to remove the skins. Let the hazelnuts cool completely to room temperature before grinding.
- Make sure your food processor is completely dry and room temperature (not warm from the dishwasher or something), as well as the nuts. This is super important for making sure that you don't turn your nut flour into nut butter.
- Place clean hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse in 1-2 second increments for about 1 minute total, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently to make sure they are ground evenly. Be careful not to over grind the nuts because, once again, you don't want nut butter.
- You can also add a little bit of sugar to the nuts to help absorb the oils, but I prefer not to. I'm sorry I just said nut butter so many times but it's a real concern! The same process can be used for almond flour or any other nut flours!
shortbread tips & tricks
I used all the different heart cookie cutters from this set* but you can cut the cookies in whatever shapes you like!
It's super important to chill the dough when you're making cutout cookies!! You want to chill the dough overnight (or a minimum of 2 hours) before you roll it out. And the freeze the cutout cookies for at least 20 minutes before baking! This might seem unnecessary, but I promise it is! If you don't chill the dough or freeze the cutout cookies, you'll likely end up with cookies that, at best, don't keep their shape. Or at worst, flatten into one giant burnt cookie.
Bake shortbread cookies on the middle rack of the oven and rotate the pan halfway through baking for the best results.
More Valentine's Day Recipes
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Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
- ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
- Fold in the flour, hazelnut flour, and salt until just combined. Then fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
- Transfer the dough into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight (but a minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough ¼ inch thick and cut into your desired shaped. Place cutout cookies 1-2 inches apart on your baking sheet (they won’t spread much).
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a minimum of 20 minutes (or the fridge for 40 minutes) before baking to allow the cookies to firm back up. This ensures the cookies won't spread during baking.
- While the cookies are chilling, preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are set and just starting to brown. Bake on the middle rack of the oven and rotate the pan halfway through baking for the best results.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove and let them finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- Let the cookies cool completely before decorating.
- Dip the cookies ⅓ of the way (or more, you do you) into the melted chocolate or drizzle with chocolate and place back on the cooling rack. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts before the chocolate cools and hardens.
- Let the chocolate harden completely before removing from the cooling rack.
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