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CHOCOLATE CHERRY HAZELNUT SHORTBREAD COOKIES.

If you like chocolate hazelnut cookies then you’ll love these Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies. The flavor combination of tart-sweet cherries with dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts is amazing and this is now one of my favorite shortbread cookie recipes. I love plain shortbread cookies, but I love them, even more, when they’re made with nuts. These cookies are great for the holidays, but they’re perfect year-round. If you’re allergic to nuts, no worries, the combination of cherry and chocolate is also delicious. Read on for how to make these delicious cookies.

Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS

Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookie

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (4 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 2/3 (12 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) unsalted toasted hazelnuts, chopped
3/4 cup (100 grams) chopped dried Montmorency cherries

Dipping Chocolate

12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Cookies

Chop the hazelnuts and the dried cherries and set aside. I use the toasted hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s. If you are using raw hazelnuts, toast the nuts at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Place the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add all the flour at once. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until all the flour is just combined. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough has completely come together. Add the hazelnuts and dried cherries and mix on low speed until they are well combined into the dough.

Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You can turn it out onto a large piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Use your hands to shape the dough into a rectangle and lightly flour the top of the dough. Do not use too much flour, just enough to keep the rolling pin from sticking.

Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Prick each cookie in the center with a fork. Pricking the cookies will ensure they bake in the center.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Chilling the dough will help the cookies hold their shape when baking.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes. The bottom of the cookies will be lightly golden brown.

Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cookie rack to completely cool.

At this point the cookies are ready to eat. If you want to dip them in chocolate, follow the directions below.

Tempering the Chocolate

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You will need an accurate thermometer for measuring the chocolate temperature.

I recommend the Therma Pen Mk4. Place the chocolate in a food processor and process to evenly chop the chocolate. It will melt easier when the pieces are even.

Make a double boiler. Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, in a heat-safe bowl that can be fitted on top of the saucepan of simmering water, add two-thirds (8 ounces/227 grams) of the chopped chocolate.

Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water (you do not want it to be boiling), ensuring the bottom of the bowl is not directly touching the water. Stir constantly to melt this chocolate. Remove it from the water bath, add the remain chocolate and stir until it is all melted. The chocolate should be between 89 to 91 degrees F. Do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F.

Dip the cookies in the chocolate, shake off excess chocolate and place then chocolate covered cookie on the parchment paper. Allow the chocolate to completely cool and set. As you dip the cookies maintain the chocolate temperature between 90 and 92 degrees, by removing and returning the bowl of chocolate to the warm water as it cools.

The cookies can be stored in a container for about 1 week.

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