dark chocolate dipped hazelnut & olive oil shortbread cookies

Back in my 20s, when I was single, I tended to hang out almost exclusively with other single people.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

If one of my friends would start dating someone seriously we would try to maintain our friendship, but we’d usually start to drift apart as they hung out with their partner, or with other couples, more often than their single friends. I always quietly resented those friends, and their partners, for falling out of touch and drifting from me and my desire to blow three days worth of tips in one night of debauchery. Why would anyone chose to stay in with popcorn and netflix when they could hang out with me, bar hopping and getting embarrassingly sloppy until the bars closed, when we could try to find some cheap mexican food to gorge on before falling asleep with our clothes on? What could be more fun?

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now that I’m on the other side of that situation, married and in a relationship for several years, I’m starting to understand. It might have something to do with being a few years older, or the fact that I work mornings now, or that I have two dogs to get home to, but the very idea of staying out past midnight and paying for drinks at a bar rather than drinking at home has me yawning wide and worrying about my bank balance.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I mean, it’s not as if I don’t have any unattached friends, it’s just that more and more couples have made their way into my social circle. Call it maturity, or call it geriatric old age, but I’ve reached the phase of my life where nights out on the town are fewer and farther between, while socializing and entertaining at home happens more and more often. Part of the appeal of hanging out with other couples is that they tend to be just as willing (and eager) to have drinks, dinner, and visits in each others homes.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

One of our closest friend-couples are in the process of organizing a DIY wedding. Last year when they were early in the planning stages, we had them over for brunch to discuss their ideas and pass down some of the supplies we had leftover from our own wedding. It was actually during that brunch that I served the Aunt Sassy Cake that was the inception of Brooklyn Homemaker, largely thanks to their insistence and enthusiasm.  Little by little, we’ve been helping them with certain aspects of their wedding along the way, and I might even be planning to bake a few little things for their big day.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

When they asked if I’d be interested in coming over to help out with some DIY craft projects for the wedding, I was all over it. I love doing that sort of stuff anyway, but I was especially into the idea of hanging out for the day. There would also be wine.

While the setting may have changed as I’ve gotten older, my inability to practice self control has not. I may, just may, have consumed a few too many glasses of wine and done a lot more drunken gum flapping than actual crafting.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

There’s something in my DNA that dictates I must always arrive to a party, no matter how big or small, with something homemade and delicious. So, I asked if I could bring some cookies along, as if the answer might actually be anything other than yes.

My original thought was something like a simple chocolate chip cookie, but when I learned that one of their crafting friends is vegan, I started brainstorming. It’s no secret that I love a challenge.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

As much as I adore butter and bacon, I really love to make the occasional vegan recipe. The one thing I don’t like though, is using vegan substitutes for things that are innately un-vegan. Egg substitutes and margarine are not things that you’re likely to ever find in my refrigerator. The way I see it, if you want eggs and butter, eat eggs and butter; and if you want to avoid them, avoid them without substituting impostors that look, taste, and smell vaguely similar.

So when I started thinking of a vegan cookie recipe, I immediately thought I wanted to try using olive oil in place of butter. I knew a simple shortbread would be perfect to highlight the choice of olive oil, and from there my mind went straight to sea salt, crunchy nuts, and dark chocolate.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

My instincts paid off, and these purdy little cookies were a hit. There’s something so wonderful about a shortbread cookie made with olive oil. While the amount of sugar in these cookies is restrained and subtle, it’s presence completely transforms the olive oil to give the cookie a bright, light, and fruity quality.  The shortbread has a perfectly crisp texture, with a nice hint of crunch from the toasted hazelnuts. The cherry on the sundae is the coating of bitter dark chocolate and tiny sprinkling of fleur de sel. You gotta love a sweet treat with a healthy hint of salt.

Even though there were only a few of us crafting, and this recipe makes 3 dozen little cookies, there was little more than a few crumbs left at the end of the night.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Dark Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut & Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Print
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar (for a sweeter cookie use 1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup + 1 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
8-10 oz good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or coarse kosher salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toast chopped hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or until they smell nice and nutty and look slightly oily. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and hazelnuts. Pour in 1 cup olive oil and stir until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. Brush a 9×13 baking pan with remaining olive oil, and use your fingers to press the dough down in an even layer. Prick the surface of the dough all over with a fork (try to create an even pattern). Bake until it is just beginning to turn slightly golden around the edges (keep a close eye on it), about 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and let the pan cool for 20 minutes. Do not let them cool completely before slicing! Using a very sharp knife, slice the shortbread into 6 rows of 6 rectangles. Then let the cookies cool completely before using a small spatula to remove them from the pan. Resist the urge to remove them before they’re totally cooled, or they’ll crumble to bits.

Transfer cookies to a parchment lined sheet pan, cooling rack, or countertop. Using a double boiler, or 15 second bursts in the microwave, melt dark chocolate until smooth and shiny. Dip cooled cookies, one at a time, in chocolate. I thought it looked nicer to just dip half the cookie, but you can do what you like best. Before chocolate sets sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt. Transfer back to parchment and let chocolate set completely before removing and serving. (I used the refrigerator to speed this up.)

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20 comments

  1. I hear you at enjoying home. Being able to have a really good drink or a bottle of wine waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper. And no one has to be a designated driver. Making fab food also.
    Not that I don’t love to go out to dinner. Anyway I am immensely fond of shortbread cookies. In fact they are my favorite cookie. This is a wonderful version of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we must lead parallel lives, because my fiancé and I justttt had this conversation a few days ago – about how we’d much rather stay home and watch Netflix than go out – and then you go and write this! I love reading your blog, not only are the pictures and recipes drool-worthy, but the writing is just wonderful, like drinking a big cup of hot chocolate at the end of a long day. PS I’m totally making these – I might even make a special trip just to get the hazelnuts!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, these look absolutely scrumptious! And they’re vegan?! This sounds like something I’ll definitely have to try. And I’ll admit I’ve seen a similar shift in my own preferences…nowadays my idea of a good Friday night is a home-cooked meal, sweatpants, and going to sleep early, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I think most other nuts would work really well- almonds or pecans would be especially nice I think. Cashews would probably have a really nice flavor and texture.
      As for sunflower seeds, I don’t see why not but I’ve never tried so I can’t say for sure. If you do try, I’d say you probably wouldn’t need to toast the seeds the way I did the hazelnuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I’m glad I looked through yours because instantly the chocolate hazelnut cookies caught my eye! I would really like to post some of your recipes on my blog, crediting you of course and anyone else if you “borrowed” the recipe. Please let me know. I liked the lead in story to the cookie recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a vegan I am not shy, but hate to ask for someone to accommodate me. (I eat before and after, and bring things too.) However, to have something made so that I am included is such a kind thing to do!!! To have that kind of situation and then treat it like a challenge, and so carefully make something so fabulous, that’s amazing, thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I made this recipe the other day and followed it exactly (other than subbing the hazelnuts for pistachios) and for some reason, even though I allowed it to cool completely, the cookies were extremely crumbly when I tried to cut into them. They wouldn’t hold their shapes at, which was really unfortunate. They also were very dry and powdery in texture. I’m not quite sure where I could have gone wrong! :(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michelle!

      I’m so sorry to hear these didn’t work out for you. I honestly can’t think what may have been the problem. Shortbreads usually do have a bit of a crumbly texture but they definitely shouldn’t be powdery and falling apart. The only thing I can think is that maybe the knife used to cut them was a bit dull? Also, sometimes if flour gets compacted in the container a cup can actually work out to more flour for one person than the next- I wonder if a little touch more olive oil would have helped them stay together.

      They worked out really well for me when I made them so I didn’t investigate what could go wrong- but if and when I make them again I’ll certainly see if I can come up with what may have gone wrong.

      I wish I had a better answer for you! Sorry!

      Like

    2. Hello again Michelle, I’m sorry I’m getting back to you on this again so late, but I just made this recipe again last night for a friend and was thinking about you again and what could have gone wrong.
      After re-reading your comment and re-reading the recipe- I think I may have figured it out. The shortbread needs to be sliced while it’s still slightly warm (after 20 minutes as stated in the recipe) but then cooled completely before being removed from the pan. In your comment you mention cooling them completely before cutting into them, which I think was probably the problem.
      They have such a crumbly texture (part of the charm of shortbread) that they’ll just completely fall apart if they’re totally set and cooled before being sliced. They do need to be completely cool before they come out of the pan though, because they’re still quite fragile when warm.

      I know this is over a year now since you first wrote, but I thought it might just be helpful to you. Better late than never!

      Like

  7. Hahahahaha! Drunken Gum Flapping! The pitfalls of social drinking. That’s why I drink alone. Kidding. Sort of.

    These look amazing and delectable, and I’m amazed that you used olive oil.

    And I totally agree with you on the not using substitutes for things that are innately un-vegan. Whenever I see a processed and unnatural butter or egg substitute in a little plastic tub, I always feel like I have to do some self convincing that everything is going to be fine, but it’s just not the same, and I’ll always think that it’s not as good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks Dave!
      The olive oil definitely works differently than butter and they have an even crumblier texture than most shortbread, but the flavor is really great and sort of fruity. You just have to be sure to slice them while they’re still warm, but wait to remove them from the pan until they’re cool or you’ll just have a pile of (tasty) crumbs on your hands.

      Like

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