Fruit and Nut Shortbread Cookies

Soft buttery cookies all topped with finely chopped fruit and nuts, we call these cookies fruit and nut shortbread cookies. They are so good folks, actually they’re the best shortbread cookies we’ve had! It’s the perfect afternoon treat especially when had with a cold glass of milk or a good cup of coffee or tea.

Like a cross between a scone and a cookie, perfectly sweet, all topped with a mix of dried fruits and salted nuts, with this cookie and a cup of tea, any day is sure to feel extra special.

About the recipe

My daughter Anjali made a batch of thumbprint cookies over the holidays from a recipe on NYTimes cooking section which were outstanding! What made them so good was the cookie base. It was buttery, soft and not too sweet, with just the right amount of cookie crumble. Really a perfect cookie.

The thumbprint cookies were so good that we decided to make another cookie with that same shortbread cookie base – a fruit and nut shortbread cookie this time.

Same dough different recipe

We made the same dough but instead of adding jam, we baked the cookie first, drizzled it with lemon glaze and topped it with dried fruit and nuts. Positively delectable!

Cook’s Notes:

Here are a few tips that will assure that your shortbread cookies turn out perfect every time.

  • Make the dough as instructed and chill.
  • Take out of refrigerator, on a floured surface roll the dough out slightly.
  • Start taking 2 tbsp size chunks of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten them and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack before glazing.

Fruit and Nut Shortbread Cookies
with inspiration from thumbprint cookies on NYtimes.com

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 3 ounces/85 grams whole hazelnuts (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons), whole pecans (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons), or whole pistachios (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 ¼ cups/290 grams all-purpose flour, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • ⅔ cup/135 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts or pecans out on a small baking sheet and cook in oven, shaking several times, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. If using hazelnuts, transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with a folded dish towel, then rub off the skins. (No need to toast the pistachios.)
  2. Once cooled, transfer the nuts to a food processor, preferably a mini one. Add 2 teaspoons flour and pulse just until nuts are finely ground, being careful not to overprocess.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add egg yolks and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times as needed.
  4. Add the ground nuts, the salt and the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour; beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed and beat until dough starts to clump together. Scrape the bowl and fold a few times to make sure everything is well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off small pieces of dough the size of a rounded tablespoon (about 20 grams each) and place a few inches apart on parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and cool.
  7. Make the glaze:

Ingredients for the glaze:

  • 1 (1-pound/455-gram) box confectioners’ sugar (3 3/4 cups), plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons warm water, plus more as needed

Fruit and nut mix:

  • ¼ cup finely chopped raw (not roasted) pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons crushed freeze-dried raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried edible rose petals
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds, blotted dry
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare the glaze: Add box of confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons warm water to a medium bowl. Stir with a fork to combine well, slowly adding water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. You should have 2 cups of glaze. Test the glaze on a cookie as you go: If it doesn’t spread out on its own to a smooth finish within 10 seconds, it is too thick and needs more water. If it runs off the edge of the cookie, it’s too thin and needs more confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Decorate the cookies: Pour the glaze into a medium bowl. Holding a cookie by the edges, with the top-side down, dip into the glaze, moving the cookie around a bit to make sure the glaze coats the whole surface. Gently shake the cookie from side to side to let the excess drip off.
  3. Use a small offset spatula to stop the flow of icing, gently scrape the cookie against edge of bowl, and flip the cookie over. Use the spatula to spread the icing to pop any air bubbles, and make sure it goes all the way to the edges. It should quickly smooth out on its own. If not, thin out the glaze a bit until it does. Use your fingers to wipe away any icing on the outside edges.
  4. Place on a cooling rack set over a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Coat cookies a few at a time. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle the cookies as desired with the fruit mix. Repeat until all the cookies are coated and decorated.
  5. Let dry completely. Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days.

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