Hazelnut Shortbread

I reckon shortbread and hazelnuts are a match made in heaven – the buttery, crumbly goodness of the shortbread is the perfect complement to sweet crunchy hazelnuts, and makes for a biscuit that goes beautifully with a cuppa. The addition of cornflour to the mixture is a tip from Paul Hollywood and I’d definitely recommend it, as it really helps to create that very short, crumbly texture.


Ingredients
200g salted butter, chopped
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
260g plain flour
40g cornflour
50g chopped hazelnuts

Makes about 12

Preheat the oven to 170°C (160°C fan).

Start by softening the butter very briefly in the microwave – you don’t want it all to melt, so just chop it up and bit and pop it in for about 30 seconds. Then add the sugar and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Next, add the plain flour, cornflour and hazelnuts, and use your hands to work it together into a soft, dry dough, with all the ingredients fully incorporated. Form the mixture into a thick sausage about 20cm long and 7cm in diameter, wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge for ten minutes.

While the dough is in the fridge, prepare a baking tray by greasing it thoroughly. Next, unwrap the dough and use a sharp knife to cut it into rounds about 1.5cm thick. You might find that the pressure from the knife means the pieces turn out oval rather than circular – if so, just use your hands to quickly reshape them. Place them all on the baking tray and put in the oven for 23 minutes.


When the biscuits come out of the oven, they should still be a little soft while they’re warm, and should not have taken on any colour – unlike other biscuits, you don’t want these to turn golden, or they’ll be crunchy rather than crumbly. Sprinkle them immediately with caster sugar and leave on the baking tray to firm up for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire rack with a spatula and leaving to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.