These buttery cookies have my favourite nut and my favourite dried fruit!
I made these shortbread cookies before, but with different nuts and fruits: pistachios and dried cranberries. That was delicious and had a great colour combination. In this one I wanted to have a different colour combo.
So, I come from the part of Turkey which is the biggest hazelnut producer in the world: black sea. I don’t know, maybe that’s the reason why I love these cute little nuts so much. I can eat them any time. But I love all kinds of nuts a lot indeed, especially when they are toasted.
On the other hand, I am not always big on dried fruits, except for dried apricots. Normally, most of dried fruits, I like in a baked good, especially when they are mixed with something salty. However, I can eat dried apricots just by themselves like a snack, though I try not to eat too much because.. well, I don’t want to get all blown up.
Enjoy your cookies with fresh tea or coffee!
(makes about 35-38 cookies)
2.5 dl (or 1 cup or 225 gr.) butter, softened in room temperature
1.5 dl + 2 tsp (or 2/3 cup or 140 gr.) granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract* (substitute with vanilla sugar if you can’t find it)
5.5 dl + 2 tsp (or 2 1/3 cups or 300 gr.) all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
150 gr. toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
150 gr. dried apricots, finely chopped
*In Helsinki, you can find vanilla extract in Food Market in Stockmann. Alternatively, you can make your own by putting used vanilla pods in mini bottles of vodka, kept in a cool and dark place in your kitchen for a month.
1. In a mixing bowl put softened butter and sugar and mix from slow to high speed until creamy, for about 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl when needed.
2. Add vanilla extract and mix a little more. If you are using vanilla sugar, then add it to flour first and jump to next step.
3. Add flour and salt (and vanilla sugar if using) to the mixture and continue to mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Scrape the sides again if needed.
4. Add hazelnuts and apricots and mix only until both are well scattered within the dough.
5. Put the dough together inside the bowl of the mixer using your hand. Divide the dough in 2 parts.
6. Take a large piece of stretch film. Put one piece of dough in the middle and shape it into a rectangle of about 7x20cm. Cover it all with stretch film. Do the same with the second dough as well. Put both dough packages on a plate and put in the fridge for a couple of hours at least, overnight is best (or up to 3 days). I put a baking paper on the plate before putting the packages because I find that dough packages stick to the plate if I put them directly on the plate.
7. When the dough is well firm and ready to be baked, first preheat the oven to 180C. Do not take the dough out until you have the oven temperature ready. Also, prepare 1 or more oven trays by putting baking papers on them (for my oven size, 2 trays were enough).
8. When the oven is at right temperature, take the first dough and cut it in half a centimeter thick pieces using a bread knife (it gives best result for me). Try to be as fast as possible so that the dough doesn’t warm up and get soft. If you are feeling that the dough is getting too soft, put it back in the fridge.
9. Put the cut (and hopefully still cold) pieces on the tray and put the tray in the oven, in medium rack. (Again, if the cut pieces are too soft, put the tray in the fridge for about 5 minutes before putting in the oven.) Bake the cookies for about 15-18 minutes, until they are beginning to brown around the edges. When ready, take them out of the oven and keep on the tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool. Do the same for all the remaining dough. Enjoy with fresh tea or coffee!