Going with my chocolate craving, I decided to adapt a basic shortbread recipe for a slightly different nutty treat. Besides peanuts or peanut butter, what’s the next best nut that goes with chocolate??
I hope you’re thinking hazelnuts! I omitted the need for the processed sugar-y Nutella or having to make your own by including the nut inside the crust. If you have healthy Nutella around, I’m sure these bars would be fantastic with that! But to keep these bars as simple as possible- ground hazelnuts in the crust create that chocolate hazelnut flavor while being combined with melted chocolate over top the warm bars. Sprinkled ground hazelnuts garnishes these bars for a chocolate hazelnut finish!
Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Bars
1/2 cup Hazelnuts
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 teaspoon Sea or Pink Salt
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup *White Spelt Flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
1 cup Sugar Free Chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 9 baking dish. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until nuts are a coarse meal and set aside.
In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and coconut sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the flour and hazelnut mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until fully incorporated. Scoop out the mixture and press into a buttered 9 by 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes. Be sure not to over bake, the middle should still be a little “fluffy”. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Spread the chocolate over the bars and make sure to evenly coat. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of chopped hazelnuts if desired. Place the bars in the fridge or freezer until hardened, about 30-60 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy!
*The type of flour used will greatly effect the taste and texture of these shortbread bars. If you didn’t see it, take a look at our post on the differences of spelt flour and why we love it! But not all spelt flours are the same. For a stronger nutty flavor, use spelt flour or even wheat flour, but be aware that the added hazelnuts already contribute to a nutty taste and these flours can give a “granola-y” or “healthy” flavor. For a flavor more true to short bread, use white spelt flour or organic white flour.