Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies ~ this buttery shortbread cookie recipe is made with strong espresso and ground hazelnuts for a refined flavor. Pair them with after dinner coffee for a special treat.

closeup of espresso hazelnut shortbread cookie

The coffee and hazelnut flavors strike a beautiful balance in these slice and bake shortbread cookies. I had planned to drizzle them with milk chocolate, but the chocolate was a little too thick to drizzle elegantly, so I inelegantly dunked them right in. That works pretty well too!

Normally I’m a dark chocolate kind of girl, but I chose milk chocolate for this recipe since the espresso already lends these cookies a deep, rich flavor. And I think most of us are already convinced of the merits of hazelnut and chocolate together, so really what could be bad about this combination?

baked Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

The ground hazelnuts and a touch of espresso give what otherwise might be pretty simple shortbread cookies a fabulously sophisticated flavor. And like all great shortbread, they practically melt in your mouth.

Espresso hazelnut Shortbread Cookies dipped in chocolate

I love the addition of coffee to baked goods. If you love a touch of coffee in your cookies, try my TURKISH COFFEE SHORTBREAD COOKIES or my COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.

espresso hazelnut shortbread cookies cooling on a rack

These espresso and hazelnut shortbread cookies would be a great hostess gift because many people who don’t drink coffee still love the taste, and these are just perfect for after dinner.

One thing I love about shortbread cookies is that they are fabulous for making ahead, too. Like all shortbread dough, you can keep it in the freezer to pull out when you need it. If you freeze the sliced dough you can bake right from frozen, but if you freeze the whole log you will have to let it defrost before you can slice it.

3.49 from 54 votes

Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Author Sue Moran


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts Bob's Red Mill makes a Hazelnut Meal/Flour, and Trader Joe's carries ground nuts at the holidays
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water and cooled
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips for drizzling or dunking


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor (you can also use a hand mixer, or your hands) mix together the flour, sugar and hazelnuts.
  • Add the softened butter, vanilla and cooled espresso and mix until the dough comes together.
  • Turn out onto waxed or parchment paper and form into an 8" log.
  • Wrap the log in the paper and twist the ends, smoothing the shape as you go.
  • Chill for at least an hour, or overnight.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325, and line and baking sheet with parchment.
  • Slice the dough into 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes.
  • Cool on the pan briefly before finishing on a rack.
  • When the cookies are completely cool, melt the chocolate for about a minute in the microwave stirring until completely smooth, then drizzle or dunk the shortbread. You can just dust them with powdered sugar if you don't want to use the chocolate.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

More hazelnut recipes to try ~


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Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies ~ this buttery shortbread cookie recipe is made with strong espresso and ground hazelnuts for a refined flavor.  Pair them with after dinner coffee for a special treat. #shortbread #cookies #espresso #hazelnut #hazelnutcookies #dessert #chocolate

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  • Reply
    Alexandra Gelles
    May 2, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    4 stars
    Hi Sue,

    I made this recipe twice. The first time was a total hit, the second something went off!

    The only things I did different were softening the butter in the microwave as I forgot to leave it out, and rolling the dough out. The dough came together well and was workable, but the cookies didn’t have a crumbly texture. Any ideas what happened?

    • Reply
      May 2, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      Not sure Alexandra, cookies are very sensitive to any little changes, even different pans can yield different results. If the cookies weren’t crumbly and tender like shortbread, it could be the dough was over worked?

  • Reply
    December 16, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Instead of rolling into a log, could I use a small cookie scoop instead? Would you suggest then flattening the cookie a little before baking? I’m assuming they won’t spread much during baking so it might be better to have a flatter cookie than a poofy one? I’m sure “poofy” is a technical term. Lol.

    • Reply
      December 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      I would suggest either the log or rolling the dough out and cutting with a cookie cutter. You could roll and flatten, but it will look much different from the photos. It’s worth a try, for sure!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Hi there, just tries this recipe today! I had a couple of questions because mine definitely do not look like yours at all. Mine were much darker in color and spread only on the bottom. Maybe my espresso powder was too strong because I lost all the hazelnut flavor and it was all espresso. The texture was much too crumbly to dip in chocolate, they were falling apart in my hands. I thought maybe I under baked but the edges seems fully baked and same crumbly texture. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I left the dough in the refrigerator for over an hour. All in all I/m not giving up on this recipe because even though I lost the hazelnut, I was really pleased with the flavor because I love coffee! It’s a work in progress but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      September 1, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      When I hear that someone gets really crumbly results I immediately think that maybe the dough wasn’t completely blended together, Amanda. The flour and soft butter should really meld together, and while shortbread does have a crumbly texture, it shouldn’t fall apart until it hits your mouth. Another thought is that you had a little bit more flour than you needed, sometimes that happens in measuring. Hope this helps.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Did you fine-grind your own hazelnuts? It would turn into hazelnut butter (paste), no? That wouldn’t work out, would it?

    • Reply
      October 31, 2016 at 6:58 am

      You could grind your own, Franklin, just don’t let it get to the paste stage!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 12:31 am

    If I leave out the espresso liquid, what other changes should I make to compensate? I’m looking for some brittleness in a shortbread cookie (hopefully with hazelnuts) rather than the seemingly soft, malleable kind like your peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread.

    • Reply
      November 3, 2014 at 6:05 am

      Hi Franklin — you can use the dry espresso powder, just cream it with the butter first. Use soft butter, and let it sit for a few minutes and the espresso grains will dissolve. Also, cut your cookies on the thin side for a crunchier texture!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    i much prefer the dunk to the drizzle. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

    can i put in an order for 2012?? x

  • Reply
    Nessa Robins
    December 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Sue, these look amazing. I have a bag of ground hazelnuts in the press so I’m definitely going to give these a go! Thanks.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Sue, These look wonderfully delicious and very impressive with the dip of chocolate.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    These look gorgeous and delicious! Love that you dipped half instead of a drizzle of chocolate…perfect. YUM!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Stephanie—I love amaretto, and I’m thinking that’s going to be involved in my next shortbread. Although it might have to wait till next year.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    nancycreative and yummychunklet—the only problem with the dipping was that a lot of chocolate sticks to the cookie, as you can see from the photos. I was actually looking for a subtler effect with just a thin coating of chocolate. If I had thinned it with oil I was afraid the chocolate wouldn’t set up hard enough. At least the pure chocolate hardens so you can stack them for gifting. That extra chocolate was really nice to bite into, too.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Rose—yay, thanks! This has been a great day for me, now I just have to live up to it. Have a great weekend

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Susan—I’m on my 5th cup as I’m typing this. I’m really hoping they don’t come out with any negative studies about coffee, so far we’ve been pretty lucky, I think the latest one says it helps prevent Alzheimers!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    akiko—I hope you do, and let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Louise—thank you so much for my award— I’m so excited, it’s my first.
    I love the Family Cookbook site, I’ll try the Swedish cookies, thanks.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Claudia—me too! I’m cookied out, but for some reason it just seems the thing to do this week. And I have to feed my daughters when they are home next week, so that’s my excuse.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Susan—have you posted that recipe? I’m going to check your blog for it. One whole side of my family is largely German, but no one handed down any cookie recipes!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Marina—that’s quite a compliment coming from you! I really like the color from the espresso, it’s an nice rich unusual brown.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    linda—thanks for visiting, and good luck with the cookies, let me know how they turn out.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Mellissa—I could have microwaved the chocolate right in a squeeze bottle or baggie with the tip snipped off, I’m going to try that next time, but dunking does give an extra dose of chocolate, which is always good!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Kitchen Belleicious—thanks! I hope they don’t contain too much caffeine because if I have even a few sips of coffee after noon, I’m up at night (getting old);)

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I can’t decide if I want to try the chocolate batch or this batch first! I love the idea of espresso in cookies. I used to make a ricotta with espresso parfait topped with amaretti cookies. It was so easy and I brought it a few times to friends houses. You can never go wrong with coffee and espresso in desserts!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Ooh, I love the dipped chocolate garnish!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I have to make these. I didn’t really need to add to my cookie making but I have to make these.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I can’t wait to try both your shortbread recipes this weekend. Thank you. I so look forward to your blog!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Once again, YUMMY!

    I’m giving you the Liebster Blog award for all the fun recipes I’ve read and picked from here.

    Check out my blog.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    December 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Oh if only I had a few of these right now- I am running low on my energy for the day and nothing beats a good cookie- much less this amazing hazelnut shortbread cookie- you are incredible

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    December 17, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I drink at least 6 cups a coffee a day. It is safe to say that I have a strong coffee addiction. I wanted these has soon as I read the title of your post. Gorgeous looking cookie!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Looks Sooo yummy! Id love to try this 🙂 xo akiko
    Your Portrait Giveaway

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Those cookies look so delicious! I’ll definitely dip them in chocolate when I make them! 🙂

  • Reply
    Louise @ cosmetic bee
    December 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Oh my, those look positively decadent. They remind me of Swedish farmer’s cookies (recipe here) which are my all time favourite cookie, but the Swedish cookies don’t have the chocolate dip.

    Also, I wanted to let you know that you have been given a Blog Award! See my post here! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    December 17, 2011 at 12:34 am

    These are just beautiful! I can almost taste the buttery nuttiness … and that chocolate dip! These are just like a german Sandkek recipe that I make everyu Christmas … but I don’t use coffee to flavor the shortbread … hmm! Such a good idea!

  • Reply
    Marina {Yummy Mummy)
    December 17, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Those look like my perfect cookies!

  • Reply
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    December 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I love everything about these! Dunking vs. drizzling – good call! They look really really really good! Nice pics too!

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