Baking Cookies Recipes

Salted Chocolate Shortbread Wreaths with Hazelnuts


Another cookie recipe for the holidays! This recipe was inspired by Bon Apetit’s holiday issue cover, which features Craftsman and Wolve’s lavender shortbread wreaths. The wreaths are such beauties with the colourful candied flowers placed on the icing of each cookie. I concieved of this idea while trying to figure out a chocolate cookie recipe for my annual holiday baking ritual.


I tested several shortbread recipes before settling for this one for the balance of its crumbly texture and the shapes held up nicely during baking. I made some candied crushed hazelnuts for topping off these cookies because I like their crunchy texure, but if you prefer just toasted hazelnuts, you can omit the candying step for a simpler version of the recipe. This cookie is perfect for those who like dark chocolate as the shortbread is already quite chocolatey. Topped with 80% dark chocolate, sprinkled with sea salt it is decadent yet not too sweet even for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. I love the shape of these cookies as they are so festive, and they definitely make great gifts!


Salted Chocolate Shortbread Wreaths with Hazelnuts

Serving Size: Makes about 24 2.5 inch / 6.5 cm wreath cookies.


    Chocolate Shortbread
  • 227g (1 cup) Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
  • 100g (1/2 cup) Sugar
  • 285g (2-1/2 cup) All Purpose Flour
  • 60g (1/2 cup) Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
  • Dark Chocolate Glaze
  • 180g Bitter-Sweet OR Semi-Sweet Chocolate (good quality, broken into pieces)
  • 60g Unsalted Butter
  • Garnish
  • Toasted Hazelnuts, about 90g OR Candied Hazelnuts (see recipe below)
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Silver Candies, if desired
  • Candied Hazelnuts
  • 90g Hazelnuts, crushed or roughly chopped
  • 15g Egg White
  • 15g Sugar
  • 15g Brown Sugar


    Chocolate Shortbread
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder.
  2. In stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer) beat butter, sugar, and salt on low speed until the butter and sugar combine, but not yet fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add flour and cocoa powder and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes, do not overmix!
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, shape into disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, try to roll the dough to a uniform thickness to ensure even baking.
  5. Cut the dough in to the shapes you like. I used a 2.5 inch / 6.5 cm and a smaller 1 inch / 2.5 cm round scalloped cutter to create the wreaths for the cookies. Feel free to experiment with the shapes, just keep in mind that the baking times will depend on the size of the cookies. Press together scraps and roll again for more cookies. If the dough becomes too soft and sticky, refrigerate briefly. Arrange the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, heat oven to 300F / 150C, bake the cookies for about 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
  7. Dark Chocolate Glaze
  8. Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave oven. It should be a drizzling consistency.
  9. Candied Hazelnuts
  10. Preheat oven to 300F / 150F.
  11. In a small bowl, whip egg whites until slightly frothy. Toss in nuts to coat evenly, fold in the two sugars and mix until sugars have coated the nuts.
  12. Transfer the nuts on to a parchment lined cookie sheet in a single layer, distributing evenly.
  13. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how brown to want them to be. Cool before using.
  14. Assembly
  15. Have cookies lined up, and garnishes ready.
  16. Make glaze, and while glaze is warm, carefully dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, lightly scrape off and excess on the rim of the bowl. Dip 2-3 at a time, garnish the tops sea salt, hazelnuts, and silver candies.
  17. Continue with the rest of the cookies, let the glaze set, and serve!


Shortbread cookies recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Cookies: 200 favorite recipes for cookies, brownies, bars & more, 2011 by The Taunton Press.


 Happy baking! I wish everyone a fun and safe holiday!

Baking Cookies Recipes

Sablé Breton

SableBretonHoliday calls for cookie baking, of course! Besides the favourite classics like shortbread and gingerbread, I also like baking something different to add to the mix for more variety. The sablé Breton is one of my favourite cookies, it is the perfect cookie with some tea or coffee, when I am just craving something simple.

Sablé Breton is a French shortbread-like cookie orginated from the Brittany region. It is known for its rich flavour and its crumbly texture. The criss-cross pattern give the cookies their signature look. There are many different recipes of this cookie, but usually consisting of several simple ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and sometimes almond flour. The recipe I am sharing here uses a good-quality European style cultured butter, pastry flour, and almond flour. The combination of these ingredients give these sablés a buttery, nutty flavour and tender texture.

Sable Breton Crumbs

Note on butters: most butters in North America have a fat content of about 80% while the ones labled “European style” have about 82-84%, and are usually cultured. The taste of these cookies greatly depend on the quality of the butter, using a butter with higher fat percentage will result in a more crumbly, sandy cookie, if it is also cultured, they will lend a deeper buttery flavour to the cookies. If you are baking shortbreads or cookies where the butter is a large portion of the recipe, definitely try using a higher quality butter, you will notice a difference!


Sablé Breton

Serving Size: Makes about 12 cookies.


  • Butter, room temperature 240g
  • Icing Sugar 136g
  • Egg 1 piece
  • Salt a pinch
  • Pastry/Cake Flour 260g
  • Baking Powder 3g
  • Almond Flour 24g (for a even more nutty flavour, you can use cool toasted almond flour)
  • Egg Wash


    This is a small recipe, you can choose to make the dough by hand with a spatula or make it with an electric mixer.
  1. Sieve together flour, baking powder, add in almond flour and mix with a fork.
  2. In a bowl, cream butter until soft and creamy.
  3. Add icing sugar and fold, mix until it becomes almost whipped, colour turing pale.
  4. In a separate small bowl, mix salt into egg.
  5. Add egg in about 3 additions to the butter mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addtion.
  6. Add flour and almond mixture all at once. Mix until there is no longer dry flour.
  7. Wrap dough in plastic, flatten into a disc and chill in the fridge for at least 40 minutes before rolling out.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  9. Take out chilled dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, rotating the dough, flouring more if necessary, roll the dough into a thickness of about 1 cm.
  10. Cut dough with a 6 cm round cutter, place on cookie sheet, continue with the rest of the dough.
  11. Lightly brush cookies with egg wash. To create the classic sablé Breton look, drag a fork across the middle of the cookie, using pressure to create the impression. Repeat on the cookie again, this time dragging the fork across forming a 90 degree angle. Finish the rest of the cookies.
  12. OPTIONAL: Lightly butter the insdies of 6.5 cm baking rings (slightly larger than the cookies), place rings on the garnished cookies.
  13. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the height of the cookies are uniform and the colour has turned evenly golden brown.


Baking rings are optional, but will give the cookies a clean, round look. Feel free to cut the cookies to any size or shape you want, this recipe demonstrates the method to creating the classic look of these French cookies.

I especially enjoy the crumbly texture and nutty flavour of these cookies, what sets them apart from the shortbread is the richness of the egg in there. The simple and elegant look also make these great of gift giving. Since the cookies are quite dry, they can easily keep for 1-2 weeks in an air tight container. Enjoy!

Baking Dessert Pastry Recipes Tart

Browned Butter Pear and Walnut Tarts – two ways

I love the breathing in the brisk air while admiring the beautiful colours of autumn. Tis the season of pear harvest at our house. My parents planted an Asian pear tree in the yard when I was a child and now we get to enjoy its bountiful harvest every fall. There are usually so many that we need to give them away to family and friends. This year, I’ve even canned them in syrup and made them into a fruit butter. Asian pears have a high water content, a distinct fruity, fragrant flavour and its texture is crunchy and grainy. They are great for eating fresh, and make excellent desserts. This time, I experimented tarts with a browned butter walnut filling with a spiced streusel topping with crystallized ginger. I liked the fall flavours of this tart, it is also light and fruity, great as a dessert after dinner. The browned butter flavour works very will the the pears and walnuts. This recipe would work great with any kind of apples or pears, just be sure to choose a firm and ripened fruit. For more textures, top it with the spiced streusel topping and dust with icing sugar just before serving. For a simpler and rustic version, simply omit the streusel and ginger topping and serve with some whipped cream!

Pear Tart with Streusel


Browned Butter Pear and Walnut Streusel Tarts

Serving Size: 12 - 3" inch round tarts OR 8" to 10" inch round


    Sugar Crust
  • 90g sugar
  • 180g butter - cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 270g cake and pastry flour, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Browned Butter Walnut Filling
  • 40g ground walnuts
  • 40g all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 95g golden sugar
  • 40g whole milk
  • 40g whipping cream
  • 85g browned butter, warm
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Spiced Walnut Streusel - Dressed version
  • 60g all purpose flour
  • 60g ground walnuts
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g butter - cold, cut in to small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Assembly
  • pears - peeled, and sliced to about 1/4" thick
  • OPTIONAL : crystallized ginger - cut into small cubes
  • OPTIONAL: whipped cream for rustic version


    Sugar Crust
  1. Place cold butter in a mixing bowl with the sugar, with a paddle attachment on low speed, mix until the butter becomes smooth.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add in sieved flour, mix on low speed just enough so the dough is no longer dry, make sure all ingredients has been evenly distributed.
  4. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight for a more even baking colour.
  5. Before rolling, let dough sit out for about 10-15 minutes to soften. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 3-4mm thick, turning the dough after each roll to prevent sticking, flour as needed.
  6. Measure the size of your tart pan/ring, cut out the shapes you need.
  7. If the dough is too warm, place it back in the fridge to chill, otherwise you can start lining the pan/ring. When lining, be sure to get into the edges on the bottom, flush the dough right up to the top of the pan, trim off excess.
  8. Chill lined pan/ring. Pierce the bottoms of the tart with a fork before baking, or blind bake them (yields nicer looking shells - optional). Bake at 325 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Blind baking (see photos): Line chilled tart pan/rings with parchment, fill with beans or rice, up to the top. Bake until edges start to brown, take out and remove paper, beans and take out from the pans/rings, return to oven to bake to golden brown.
  10. Remove shells from pans/ring, let cool until ready to use.
  11. Browned Butter Filling
    - Browning Butter
  12. Take about 1/2 cup of butter and place in a small saucepan, heat butter on low medium heat until mixture browns to a cinnamon colour, swirling the pan every couple of minutes. Strain to get rid of browned milk solids, cool until ready to use.
  13. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and sugar until it becomes pale. Add milk,whipping cream, and egg to incorporate.
  14. Add flour, ground walnuts and salt to the mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are absorbed.
  15. Lastly, slowly add warmed browned butter while whisking to incorporate. Chill until ready use.
  16. Spiced Walnut Streusel
  17. Combine all ingredients with the mixer or with your hands. Break up into small pieces and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 325 F for 15-20 minutes. Cool until ready to use.
  18. Assembly
  19. Have the tart shells ready and placed on a cookie sheet, spoon or pour browned butter filling into each tart shell to about 2/3 full.
  20. Arrange pears in the filling.
  21. Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes, until the top has turned golden and the filling is no longer runny.
  22. Cool until ready to serve.
  23. Version 1 - Dressed
  24. Break up streusel and place on the tarts, dust lightly with icing sugar. If desired, place crystallized ginger cubes on top.
  25. Version 2 - Rustic
  26. Serve as is or with some whipped cream.

Browned Butter Pear Walnut Tart

I like both the dressed up and rustic version. For an elegant dinner, you can make the dressed version as it has more layers of flavour and textures. For a casual dessert or if you are pressed for time, the rustic is just as delicious. Which version are you going to try?

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