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!
- 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
- 180g Bitter-Sweet OR Semi-Sweet Chocolate (good quality, broken into pieces)
- 60g Unsalted Butter
- Toasted Hazelnuts, about 90g OR Candied Hazelnuts (see recipe below)
- Fine Sea Salt
- Silver Candies, if desired
- 90g Hazelnuts, crushed or roughly chopped
- 15g Egg White
- 15g Sugar
- 15g Brown Sugar
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder.
- 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!
- Divide the dough into two equal portions, shape into disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 300F / 150F.
- 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.
- Transfer the nuts on to a parchment lined cookie sheet in a single layer, distributing evenly.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how brown to want them to be. Cool before using.
- Have cookies lined up, and garnishes ready.
- 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.
- 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.