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.
200g salted butter, chopped
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
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
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