Hazelnut Browned Butter Shortbread
Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Baking, 2009
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon shortening
1 teaspoon fleur de sel (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
In small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, without stirring, about 5 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant. Remove from heat, cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat remaining butter with electric mixer on med speed for about 30 seconds. Add sugars and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in browned butter and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the hazelnuts. Divide dough in half. (I ended up using only 2-1/4 cups of flour)
On prepared cookie sheet, pat each half of dough into an 8-inch circle. Using fingers, crimp edges of each dough circle. Prick every inch or so with the tines of a fork. Cut each circle into eight wedges (do not separate wedges). (I used my pizza cutter for this – worked like a charm!)
Bake in preheated 325 oven for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Recut circle into wedges while warm. Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Transfer wedges to a wire rack; cool. (I ended up baking these 10 minutes longer than the recipe stated. Don’t know why it was so off, but it was.)
In glass 4-cup measuring cup, place chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon shortening and microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Dip scalloped edge of each wedge into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Return to wire rack. Lightly sprinkle the chocolate with fleur de sel. Allow to stand until chocolate is set (about 1 hour). Makes 16 cookies.
Because I am giving these away, I am freezing them until its time to pack them up and send them off. They will keep for 3 months in the freezer.