Orange Hazelnut Refrigerator Cookies

Hazelnuts (Filberts)

Hazelnuts (Filberts)

By Cat, Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I consider this an Oregon cookie: Hazelnuts (filberts) are a big crop in Oregon’s Willamette valley just south of Portland where I used to live during my career; Tillamook Creamery is probably Oregon’s best known brand; Oranges are not grown in Oregon, but they are available in the southern part of Oregon’s southern neighbor – California.

If you’ve explored around this blog, you will have noticed that I like to presoak my flour in acidic medium overnight, to enhance the absorbability of the grain’s nutrients and increase its nutritional value. This works great for many recipes like cakes and pastries.

But for most cookies, this is difficult because the standard recipe does not include any liquid that can be acidified for the soak, and I’ve not been able to come up with a way to add the needed liquid without ruining the cookie. The best option for a more healthful and nutritious cookie is to use sprouted grain flour for part of the total flour.

Orange Hazelnut Refrigerator Cookies

This recipe is adapted from a box of Tillamook™ butter (1,2), which is a major ingredient in these cookies.  If you cannot make your own butter from the milk of grass-fed cows, and cannot get European-style butter made from such milk, then I highly recommend Tillamook butter, because, for the most part, these dairy cows are grass-fed, including during the months they are milked.

The original recipe called for all white flour, but I like to use whole grain flour for part of the total flour in a recipe. The best choice is whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour, but if you want a lighter-colored cookie, use a hard white whole wheat flour like Wheat Montana’s Prairie Gold (3). Or, for an even more nutritious choice, use sprouted wheat or spelt flour. The original recipe calls for 2 cups white flour.

I debated whether to add even more orange flavor by including 1/4 cup juice with the zest, but this added liquid requires adding equivalent amount (1/4 cup) of coconut flour to absorb it (in place of 1/4 cup of the white flour. You can try this if you wish, but I have not included it in the recipe.

I have modified the recipe for more healthful sweetener choices than called for in the original recipe (copied below my adaptation, for your reference).  The jury is still out on the healthfulness of the highly refined xylitol, but it has a lower glycemic index and 40% of the calories of regular sugar, so might be a good choice for diabetics.  Stevia may be a better choice, healthwise, than xylitol, but the cookies will not be as crisp without the granulated sweetener, so I do not recommend using stevia in this recipe.

These cookies are a refrigerator-style cookie; try to keep yourself from eating all the batter before baking the cookies.  Makes 4 dozen.

NOTE:  Original recipe indicates it makes 48 cookies, but called for two 10″ long logs cut into 1/4 inch slices, which would make 80 cookies.  Assuming the 1/4 inch thickness is key, I modified the logs to 6″ long to get 48 cookies.  But you can certainly experiment.

Ingredients & Equipment for 48 – 80 cookies (depending on size):

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Tillamook unsalted butter or homemade butter
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups Rapadura sugar (or 1 cup xylitol** plus 1/4 cup Rapadura sugar; or 3/4 cup white and 3/4 cup brown sugar as in original recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 3 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts, chopped (preferably pre-soaked and dried before toasting).  Or you could use chopped pinenuts (or crispy piqnoli).
  • Equipment:
  • large bowl
  • waxed paper
  • baking sheet


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a cookie sheet with butter.
  2. Chop nuts and dredge them in the white flour.
  3. Cream together butter, sugar (or xylitol), Rapadura sugar (if using), and salt.  Add vanilla and zest, and beat well.  Add orange juice and beat again.
  4. Mix in whole grain flour and flour/hazelnut dredge to form a soft dough.
  5. Divide dough and form into two 6 to 10 inch logs. Cover with waxed paper (roll paper around each log and twist the ends to seal).  Chill for 1 hour.
  6. Cut logs into 1/4 inch thick slices.  (For a drier cookie, cut in 1/8″ slices). Place on a greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven, until lightly browned.
  8. Cool on rack.

Original Tillamook Recipe

  • 1 cup Tillamook Unsalted Butter (can you tell I got it from a package of butter?)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • zest from one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts or pinenuts, chopped

Cream together butter, sugars and salt. Add vanilla and zest, and beat well. Mix in flour and hazelnuts to form a soft dough. Divide dough and form into two 10-inch logs, cover with clear cling wrap and chill for 1 hour. Cut 1/4-inch-thick slices from logs. Place on a greased baking sheet 1″ apart and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 4 dozen.


  1. Tillamook County Creamery Association (
  2. Original Tillamook Recipe for Oatmeal Hazelnut Cookies (
  3. Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour (

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