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Espresso, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Shortbread

These ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ cookies are rather sophisticated and completely delicious. Little swirls of espresso powder give the shortbread a hint of bitterness and the sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts add a lovely crunch. We love the addition of rice flour which gives the cookies just the right amount of crispness: they are, not surprisingly, perfection with a cup of coffee.

Espresso, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Shortbread

2 tbs. instant espresso powder
17 tbs. butter, softened
3 oz. caster (superfine white) sugar (⅓ cup)
8 oz. all-purpose flour (1⅔ cups)
2.5 oz. rice flour (⅓ cup)
5 oz. dark chocolate, broken into chunks
½ tbs. butter
2.5 oz. blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Mix the espresso powder with 1 tsp. hot water to form a paste. (You will think it isn’t enough water, but it is.) Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until soft and blended, then beat in the coffee mixture. Don’t overbeat as you don’t want to incorporate too much air. Sift the flours together and add in three batches. Use a wooden spoon at first, then your hands. Gather into a ball, flatten and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 40 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to 1/4″. Use a 2″ cookie cutter to cut out approximately 20 cookies. Gather up and re-roll the dough as you go. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325°F. Bake the shortbread for 20 minutes, until golden and just firm. Carefully transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of just-simmering water until smooth. Using a palette knife, spread one half of the cookie with chocolate and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts.

 

 

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