Two hazelnut shortbread cookies with Nutella ganache right in between! These thick rounds of buttery shortbread are a classic shortbread cookie with hazelnut flavor, baked to perfection and sandwiched together with a Nutella ganache. When you bite into their crumbly texture, it's the most delicious bite of Christmas cookie ever!
Today is the 5th day of my Christmas cookie extravaganza! If you've made it to Day 5, I am so grateful for you and for following along with my Christmas cookies extravaganza! If you missed the first four they were Ginger Cookies, the best sugar cookies, triple chocolate cookies, and soft maple sugar cookies.
Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Today's simple hazelnut shortbread cookies make a delicious treat with a cup of coffee or dairy-free hot chocolate, especially during the holiday season.
It starts with a base of butter and then there's a mixture of all purpose flour and ground hazelnuts. The real hazelnut give this dough so much depth and nutty flavor.
Traditional shortbread dough is made of butter, flour, and sugar, typically in a 3-2-1 ratio. And that's exactly what's happening here.
While these cookies sound and look really fancy and all of your friends and family will be so impressed, they're really such a basic recipe! They're good for Christmas cookie gifting, taking to parties or a cookie exchange.
How to make Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Here are the basic steps, with images, for these chocolate hazelnut shortbread cookies. Skip down to the recipe card below for the full printable recipe.
Make the Hazelnut Shortbread Dough
Grind the hazelnuts: Add the toasted hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse 5-7 times, until finely ground.
Dry ingredients: mix the ground hazelnuts, flour, and salt in a small bowl.
Wet ingredients: use a rubber spatula to mix the softened butter and brown sugar. You can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but mix it slow. The butter should be fully incorporated and the mixture should be smooth.
Success tip: mixing slow or by hand limits the amount of air whipped into the dough, which is what you want for shortbread!
Finish the cookie dough: add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon or spatula. You may need to use your hands to finish kneading until the dough comes together.
Chill: turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Bake and Fill
Roll and cut: Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour the parchment paper and the top of the dough to prevent sticking. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out all the cookies. Re-roll the scraps as needed. Stamp out a small circle, star, snowflake, or any cookie cutter you have, in the center of half of the cookies.
Bake: Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet a few inches apart (they don't spread). Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are just barely golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack.
Make the ganache: Place the chocolate and hazelnut spread in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk, pour it over the chocolate, and let it sit for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and thick. Chill for 20 minutes (or 10 minutes in the freezer) until the melted chocolate ganache is thick.
Sandwich the hazelnut shortbread cookies: transfer the ganache to a piping bag and cut off the tip. Swirl it onto the flat side of the whole cookies, without the cutout. Place a cutout cookie on top and gently press down to sandwich them together.
Success tip: swirl evenly out to almost the edges of the cookie and in the center. If you have to push too hard to sandwich the filling out, the ganache will come out of the center of the cutout.
These cookies are called shortbread because of their crumbly texture. In the baking world, a "short" texture means a crumbly texture, like a shortcrust pastry.
Chilled dough is the key. Chilling the dough before baking helps solidify the butter again to hold their shape and create a crumbly texture when baked.
If you overwork your cookie dough the gluten can develop too much and cause a chewy texture.
Freezing and Storing Tips
Storage: Hazelnut shortbread cookies with ganache stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze baked cookies: Store baked shortbread (without the ganache) in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw and sandwich with the ganache before serving. Sandwiched cookies with the ganache can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Freeze the cookie dough: roll into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Thaw in the fridge and roll as directed. You can also freeze cookie dough that's been cut out. Bake from frozen, just add 1-2 minutes to the bake time.
If you make this shortbread cookie recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More of Our Favorite Cookies for the Holidays
- Chocolate Andes mint cookies
- Brown butter chocolate chip cookies
- Funfetti sugar cookies
- Italian sprinkle cookies
- Frosted eggnog cookies
Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies with Nutella Ganache
Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour gluten-free if needed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks; 170g) unsalted butter very soft but not melted (Note 1)
- ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (107g) semi-sweet chocolate chips or squares
- ½ cup nutella
- ½ cup (113ml) heavy cream
- Add the toasted hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse or blend until finely ground. Transfer them to a bowl with the flour and salt and whisk to combine.
- In a separate large bowl, use a spatula to combine the soft butter and brown sugar until no butter clumps remain and the mixture is smooth. Alternately, use an electric mixer or stand mixer and mix on low.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until the dough starts to come together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may need to mix with your hands to combine. The dough should hold together in a ball, but be slightly crumbly.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it gently into a disc. Wrap well and chill for 2 hours or overnight (Note 2).
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Gently flour a clean work surface or turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Gently flour the surface of the dough and roll it out to ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough out using a round cookie cutter, I used a fluted one. Re-roll the scraps as needed. Cut a smaller shape (i used a snowflake) out of the center of half of the cookies.
- Carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Bake one at a time in the preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Place the chocolate and Nutella in a large mixing bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until scolding, but not boiling, about 1 ½ minutes. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Mix until thickened and the chocolate is melted. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes (or in the freezer for 10). It should be thick and barely fall back into the bowl when you lift it out with a spoon (Note 3).
- Transfer the ganache to a piping bag and cut off the tip. Pipe the ganache onto the flat side of the whole cookies (without the centers cut out). Sandwich the cookies with the cutout on top, pressing gently.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Baked cookies (with or without ganache) freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and enjoy.