Supposedly, the only time of year to eat chestnuts is Christmas, but if you have a bag of chestnut flour then you can eat them any time of year! Which is great if you love chestnuts, but bad for me because I am NOT a fan (it’s a textural thing). BUT it sure is a game changer in flour form. I can enjoy it’s slightly sweet and smokey flavor in any baked good without that soft grainy texture my palate can’t stand.
This shortbread recipe comes from my long-time mentor, Linda. I volunteered for her at my local library when I was in high school and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. She’s an amazing cook and baker. Every year she gives me a baggie of homemade Holiday treats, including her grandmother’s famous Scottish Shortbread. I’ve enjoy it so much that she finally taught me how to make it.
It truly is a marvel of a recipe. You simply can’t screw it up. The dough is so forgiving. You don’t have to worry about over-mixing it or keeping it chilled. And you probably already have all the ingredients. Keep it simple or order a shortbread mold (like Linda does) for a more festive looking cookies. All that said, what really makes this shortbread so special is it’s size. Receiving one as a gift feels like you’ve won the lottery. You can totally make them smaller, but what’s the point? Who wants a small shortbread cookie when you can get a massive cake-sized one?
I asked Linda if she ever made variations of this Shortbread. She said she was too scared to ruin a perfectly good recipe. Luckily for me, risking a recipe is my hobby. And 9 times out of 10, the risk turns out in my favor. Just a small about of chestnut flour adds a lovely earthy flavor. And the dark chocolate chips balance out the sweetness. If you really do like chestnut, then add some more flour for a more pronounce flavor or even mix some chopped up roasted chestnut into the dough!
~*~ Happy Holidays ~*~
~*~ CHOCOLATE CHIP CHESTNUT SHORTBREAD ~*~
SERVES: 2 BIG COOKIES ⎪ DIFFICULTY: EASY ⎪ FUNK: CASUAL
Mise en Place
1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature (preferably Land o’Lakes)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
Playlist — Verve Remixed Christmas
COOK’S NOTE: The butter should be at room temperature but not too soft. It should slightly yield when pressed—just like an avocado!
1. CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR
Preheat oven to 450F. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy then add in the sugar until fully incorporated.
*TIP* Be sure to scrape around and at the bottom of the bowl. Give it a mix to make sure all the butter and sugar is fully combined.
2. ADD THE FLOUR
With the mixer running, add the flours 1/2 cup at a time. Make sure the the flour is completely mixed in before the next addition. The dough will be stiff, so you can kneed it by hand if your mixer can’t fully incorporate the flour. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips.
3. FORM AND DECORATE
Form the dough into a ball and divide by 2 (they will each weigh about 11 ounces). Form each piece into a ball, then flatten each into a 1-inch thick disk (about 6 inches in diameter). Place the giant cookies onto a baking sheet, leaving a few inches between them (they spread a little). Prick the cookies with a fork to release steam while baking. You can prick them at random, in neat lines, or in a fun design like a snowflake. You can also press the fork around the outside of the cookies to form a decorative edge. Press the reserved chocolate chips on top of the cookie. Again, this can be at random, or in a design.
Place the cookies into the oven, then immediately reduce the temperature to 325F. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your desired color and doneness. Cool the shortbread cookies then cut into wedges or squares. You can also leave it whole and break off pieces as needed.
Store the cookies in a tin or airtight container lined with wax paper for up to 2 months. If presenting as a gift wrap whole in plastic wrap and top with a bow.
~*~ GF VARIATION ~*~
Replace all-purpose flour with almond, hazelnut, or rice flour.
~*~ VEGAN VARIATION ~*~
Replace salted butter with preferred vegan butter or margarine.
~*~ WINE FLOUR VARIATION ~*~
Replace chestnut flour with red wine flour. If using white wine flour, use white chocolate chips instead of dark.
How would you eat Chestnut Flour? Let me know what you’ve cooked and leave a comment below.