Melt-in-the-mouth Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread. Crisp, short, buttery and rich with roasted hazelnut, they are as good as any ‘gluten’ biscuit you’ll find. Corn-free recipe. Optional dairy free and vegan.
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Melt in the mouth Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread – renamed and updated
My Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread originally appeared on the blog in 2013. At that time, they appeared as Hazelnut Biscuits alongside a Rich, Dark Chocolate Mousse. But they also subsequently accompanied the most incredible Balsamic Roasted Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream. They are one of my favourite and most frequently made biscuits at Gluten Free Alchemist… And for good reason. Because they are utterly delicious… Short, crisp, nutty and very melt-in-the-mouth.
Whether eaten as they are, or adding crunch alongside your favourite ice cream, Panna Cotta or Crème Brûlée, this recipe is a keeper. And with that, I’ve decided it’s about time my Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread occupied its own space on the blog. Shared as always, with my love x
What’s in a name? Hazelnut Shortbread, Hazelnut Biscuits or Hazelnut Cookies?
I toyed long and hard over what I should call these crunchy, melty morsels. So, are they hazelnut biscuits, shortbread or cookies?
Borrowed from the States, the term ‘cookies’ is increasingly generic and popular in the UK, regardless of texture. However, I remain firm in my head that a cookie should have a soft bite, heading towards more of a chewy texture when eaten. These are definitely not hazelnut cookies. (But we do have an incredible recipe for flourless Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies on the blog).
They could however be considered to be either hazelnut biscuits or shortbread. They have the customary ‘snap’ of a biscuit when broken in half, and crunch loudly in the mouth. However, as is typically the case with shortbread, they are made with flour (and ground hazelnuts), butter and sugar (no egg). And that puts them definitively into the box marked ‘shortbread’.
So, Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread they are! Perfectly buttery and light of crumb with a texture that eagerly ‘gives’ on the palate in melty surrender. You would never guess they are gluten free.
What Gluten Free Flour is used to make Hazelnut Shortbread?
Heads up… The BEST Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread will not come from a packet of ‘Doves’. It’s too ‘ricey’ and gritty and won’t melt in the way shortbread should. It’s probable that the recipe can be made with the Dove’s Freee plain white baking flour, but the texture isn’t for me, so I haven’t tried it. If you do take a chance… be aware the texture may be drier and a tad more butter may be required. So, what gluten free flour blend do I use?
I developed a bespoke mix for my Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread made from a carefully balanced blend of both structural and starch flours, to give the optimum texture and flavour. No apology required. Any commercial pack of gluten free baking flour will also contain a variety of gluten free flours blended together… It’s just that many tend to be heavy on rice flour or texturally and structurally poor. To be fair… manufacturers are keeping their costs as low as possible, but what they offer in convenience, they lose in baking quality. Shame. Because we deserve better… And at Gluten Free Alchemist, I won’t settle for anything less than genuinely tasting as good as or better than gluten.
The flours that work best for making my Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread…
A blend of…
- Fine Brown Rice flour
- Sorghum Flour
- Potato Starch
- Tapioca Starch
- Oat Flour
Basic ‘free from’ flour subs for the above…
If there are flours that you can’t eat or source, it’s possible that some subs may be possible. Up front… I haven’t tested any of them myself and they will alter the structure of the final bake to some degree. But based on my extensive knowledge of gluten free flours in the kitchen, these would be my starting point…
- Brown Rice Flour – Try quinoa, amaranth or possibly millet
- Sorghum Flour – Best substitute is oat flour. But if you can’t eat oats, buckwheat, gram (chickpea) or possibly millet are possible options.
- Potato Starch – sub with tapioca starch, sweet rice flour or arrowroot.
- Tapioca Starch – Possible options are corn starch, arrowroot or sweet rice flour.
- Oat Flour – Sorghum flour would be my first choice, but buckwheat, millet or amaranth are options as well.
Although I haven’t tested… I suspect the recipe would also be good using my gluten free, rice free Flour Blend B. Next time I make them, I promise to try and I’ll update the post as soon as I know.
Ground roasted hazelnuts to make shortbread
The hazelnuts used in this shortbread recipe have been ground before adding to the mix. Although some supermarkets do sell roasted hazelnuts ready-ground, they are not always easy to find. No worries! They are super-easy to grind at home…
If grinding at home, try to buy hazelnuts already roasted and peeled (it saves a lot of effort). But if not, you’ll need to roast and peel them first. Pop them skin-on, on a baking sheet in a hot oven (about 200 C/400 F/Gas 6) for about 10 minutes, turning intermittently to prevent burning… Once out of the oven, pour the nuts onto a clean tea towel, wrap and rub vigorously between your hands to remove the skins. It doesn’t matter if they are still hot or have cooled when you do this.
Once the hazelnuts are de-skinned and cool… Pop them in a blender, grinder or food processor and grind until like very coarse sand… But be careful! The step from coarse sand to nut butter is a fine line… Grind too long and you will end up with Homemade Hazelnut Butter!
Is this recipe safe for people with Coeliac (Celiac) disease?
Yes. There are no gluten containing ingredients in this recipe, so it is Coeliac (Celiac)-safe. Nonetheless, be sure (as always) to check that all flours used are certified gluten free to avoid any risk from cross-contamination. And that no packet ingredient lists have ‘may contain’ warnings.
Can I make Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread that are dairy free and vegan?
Yes. Just substitute the dairy butter for a good dairy free and vegan block alternative (I recommend using either Stork Baking Block or Flora Baking Block). If using a salted baking block, also leave the salt out of the recipe.
As the recipe does not contain egg, the butter is the only substitution necessary.
NOTE: This recipe is also already Corn-Free… Which will be good news to all my corn-intolerant readers.
Are these biscuits easy to make?
Oh yes! Super-easy. Once the ingredients are weighed, all you need to do is mix, chill, shape and bake. The best way to the BEST Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread! You can even drizzle them with chocolate!
Ready to make Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread?
I hope you love my Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread… It’s been tested on both gluten free and gluten-eaters alike, so I know that it passes the ‘as good as gluten’ test. But I’d love to know what you think too… So, if you make them, leave a comment, rate the recipe or tag me on social media. Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Other gluten free cookies and biscuits you might like…
Gluten Free Hazelnut Shortbread
- Kitchen scales
- Mixing bowls
- electric whisk
- mixing spoon/spatula
- baking paper
- baking trays
- sharp knife
- wire racks
- 35 g fine brown rice flour
- 35 g sorghum flour
- 40 g potato starch
- 25 g tapioca starch (flour)
- 25 g oat flour
- 50 g roasted ground hazelnuts (shelled and peeled)
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 110 g unsalted butter or good dairy free BLOCK alternative – softened
- 50 g icing sugar (confectioners/powdered sugar)
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Optional chocolate & decoration
- melted chocolate optional
- chopped roasted hazelnuts optional
- Weigh and mix the flours together, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Add and stir in the hazelnuts and salt.
- Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla paste in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. It is best to do this with an electric whisk.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or firm spatula until the mixture comes together as a fully-blended dough.
- Shape the dough into a sausage (about 4 cm in diameter), wrap in baking paper or clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about an hour to allow to firm-up.
- Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into discs about ½ to 1 cm thick.
- Place the discs on the baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are just beginning to darken very slightly. They shouldn't spread too much.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking trays, before placing on wire racks to go completely cold.
- OPTIONAL: Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts.
© 2019-2021 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist