Friday, December 12, 2008

Chocolate Nut Shortbread Cookies

Another recipe from the cookie exchange...





















My friend Farah brought these cookies to my cookie exchange party this past weekend. These cookies are everything you want in a shortbread. Believe it or not I never really knew I was a shortbread fan until this past year. Now I can not get enough and these cookies fit the bill. You can top them with any kind of nut or morsel. Farah used chocolate chips and peanuts which were the perfect addition to the shortbread. I hope you can give them a try sometime.

Chocolate Nut Shortbread Cookies
cookies by Farah Gilani, recipe from JoyofBaking.com

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup toasted and chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds )(see note)
1 ounce coarsely chopped semisweet, bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate (you can also use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Have ready a baking sheet that is either buttered or lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, rice flour, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and form into an 8 1/2 inch (21 cm) round. Gently press the chopped nuts and chopped chocolate into the dough.

Place in the preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: To toast pecans, walnuts, and almonds - Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. The nuts are done when they are light golden-brown in color and fragrant. Cool completely before using. To toast hazelnuts - Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 15 minutes or until fragrant and the skins begin to flake. Remove from oven and place the hot nuts in a dish towel. Roll up the towel and let the nuts sit (steam) for a few minutes then rub the nuts in the towel briskly to remove the skins. Let cool before using. (Toasting the hazelnuts not only removes the bitter skins but also enhances the sweet, rich, buttery flavor of the nut.)

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