If you like the combination of chocolate and hazelnut then you'll love these Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies. This cookie is based on my classic Shortbread Cookie recipe and the flavor combination of tart-sweet cherries with dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts is amazing. These cookies are great for the holidays, but they're perfect year-round. If you're allergic to nuts, no worries, the combination of cherry and chocolate is also delicious. Read on for how to make these delicious cookies.
The Cookie Ingredient List
The cookie base is a simple 3-2-1 shortbread cookie. The base ingredients and amounts are:
- 12 ounces of all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces of unsalted butter
- 4 ounces of granulated sugar
If you want a basic shortbread cookie then all you need is the first three ingredients. For this Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Cookie we add:
- Chopped Toasted Hazelnuts
- Dried Tart Cherries
- Bittersweet Chocolate for the coating
Tips for Success
If you are using dried cherries that have been in your cabinet for a while taste them to make sure that they are still moist, plump and red. Old cherries will have a very dark color and be tough and chewy. Do not use these.
Taste your hazelnuts before using. They will have a funky after taste if they have started to go rancid.
How to Make the Cookies
Combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until it is creamy. Add all the flour at once and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together in large clumps. Increase to medium speed and mix until the dough is smooth and comes together.
Add the chopped hazelnuts and chopped dried cherries and mix in on low speed. Once all the ingredients are mixed in, roll out the dough and cut out the cookies.
I typically use a 2-inch round cookie cutter, but you can use any shape that you want. Chill the cookies for at least 20 minutes (and up to 2 days) in the refrigerator. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 300°F oven.
When the cookies are cooled dip them in tempered chocolate. See the instructions below for how to temper chocolate.
How to Temper Chocolate
When the cookies are cooled there are dipped in chocolate. The cookies are really good without the chocolate, but they are even better with the chocolate.
I will admit that tempering chocolate is one of those baking tasks that intimidates me a little. My success rate is mixed, but I discovered a great method from Shirley Corriher in her BakeWise Cookbook. You should get this book. I highly recommend this book for its wealth of knowledge on baking science and how to read a recipe to determine if it will work or not.
The method in BakeWise is called Easy Tempering. The chocolate is melted to 90 - 92 degrees F and not allowed to get above 94 degrees F. This is so much easier than the full tempering method where the chocolate is heated to 122 degrees F and then cooled to 82 degrees F and then gently warmed to 86 degrees F. If the chocolate goes above 94 degrees F you will need to do the full tempering method. An accurate thermometer is very important, which is why I recommend the ThermaPen Mk4 instant-read thermometer.
The cookies are dipped in the warm chocolate and set on parchment paper until the chocolate is cooled and has solidified. However, you could eat the cookies with the still melted chocolate. Tastes good either way.
The cookies can be stored for 1 week in an air-tight container, but they won't last that long. I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you do try please leave a comment on the site and if you're on Instagram post a picture and tag me at @bakesbybrownsugar or #bakesbybrownsugar.
Other Shortbread Cookie Recipes
If you're looking for other shortbread or cookie recipes check out my other delicious shortbread recipes:
- Apricot and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Salted Pecan Brown Sugar Cookies
And if you've liked to be notified about new recipes sign up for my baking newsletter.
Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Cherry Hazelnut Shortbread Cookie
- 8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 ounces (114 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces (340 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) unsalted toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) chopped dried Montmorency cherries
- 12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
For the Cookies
- Chop the hazelnuts and the dried cherries and set aside. I use the toasted hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s. If you are using raw hazelnuts, toast the nuts at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Place the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add all the flour at once. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until all the flour is just combined. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough has completely come together. Add the hazelnuts and dried cherries and mix on low speed until they are well combined into the dough.
- Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You can turn it out onto a large piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Use your hands to shape the dough into a rectangle and lightly flour the top of the dough. Do not use too much flour, just enough to keep the rolling pin from sticking.
- Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Prick each cookie in the center with a fork. Pricking the cookies will ensure they bake in the center.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Chilling the dough will help the cookies hold their shape when baking.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes. The bottom of the cookies will be lightly golden brown.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cookie rack to completely cool.
- At this point the cookies are ready to eat. If you want to dip them in chocolate, follow the directions below.
Tempering the Chocolate
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You will need an accurate thermometer for measuring the chocolate temperature. I recommend the ThermaPen Mk4. Place the chocolate in a food processor and process to evenly chop the chocolate. It will melt easier when the pieces are even.
- Make a double boiler. Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a heat-safe bowl that can be fitted on top of the saucepan of simmering water, add two-thirds (8 ounces/227 grams) of the chopped chocolate.
- Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water (you do not want it to be boiling), ensuring the bottom of the bowl is not directly touching the water. Stir constantly to melt this chocolate. Remove it from the water bath, add the remain chocolate and stir until it is all melted. The chocolate should be between 89 to 91 degrees F. Do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F.
- Dip the cookies in the chocolate, shake off excess chocolate and place then chocolate covered cookie on the parchment paper. Allow the chocolate to completely cool and set. As you dip the cookies maintain the chocolate temperature between 90 and 92 degrees, by removing and returning the bowl of chocolate to the warm water as it cools.
- The cookies can be stored in a container for about 1 week.
Chris Emmons says
My cookies didn’t hold their shape at all, even after chilling for 30 minutes. I made these for a cookie exchange and was very disappointed in how they came out.
Sue McA says
I’ve made these cherry hazelnut shortbread cookies twice now, I just love them! I made them once with the chocolate and once without, and they’re both delicious. I didn’t sweat too much about perfect tempering; I melted some high quality dark chocolate chips in a metal bowl touching hot water, and it worked out well. Thank you, Cheryl!
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you so much for trying these cookies. They're one of my earliest recipes and one of my favorite flavor combinations. I'm so glad you like this cookie and like it enough to make it more than once.