Hazelnut Squares and Upcoming Blog Anniversary Celebration

The past week has just been hectic with a flurry of activities, typical of this time of the year. The boys were busy with all kinds of activities and when they are busy, I am busy. Good thing they are now done with school and are on winter break. Hopefully I can concentrate on the rest of my baking without too many interruptions. With only five days left to Christmas, there is much to be done.

These Hazelnut Squares were made with the remaining hazelnut meal left over from my Pear Pie with Crumb Topping and GF Hazelnut Crust. These squares are buttery, fragrant, nutty, and only slightly sweet. I have made these cookies before and absolutely love them. They always come to mind when I see hazelnut meal. Though these are not gluten-free, they can be easily made so using the same flours for the GF Hazelnut Pie Crust.

This recipe was adapted from my trusted Australian Women’s Weekly’s Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits.

Hazelnut Squares
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24 squares
  • 1¼ cup (2½ sticks/285g) butter at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (75g) sugar
  • 1¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (65g) rice flour
  • 1 cup (100g) ground hazelnut
  • 24 whole hazelnuts, roasted
  1. Grease a 12-in x 9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Cream butter and sugar, about 1 minute. Add all purpose flour, rice flour, and ground hazelnut. Mix until combined. Mixture may be a little crumbly.
  3. Spread evenly onto pan. Mark 24 small squares with a sharp knife. Top each square with a hazelnut in the middle.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove and cut into squares again while hot. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Gently lift squares onto wire rack to cool.
The first row of squares are a little difficult to lift and may crumble.


Yes, my 1st Blog Anniversary is coming up real soon on December 31st and I have selected a book as a giveaway to commemorate the occasion. I was happy to have the opportunity to meet the co-author of the book and had the giveaway copy autographed. Be sure to check back for details of the book and giveaway.


I have had a few requests for more snow pictures and I am happy to oblige. :)

Ice hockey and ice skating are very popular in Minnesota and most kids learn to skate when they are little. Many parks in the suburbs around the Twin Cities have outdoor rinks from mid-December through mid-February. Certain sections of the parks are flooded to make these rinks.

This is a oval rink at one of the parks near our home. It is a fair size rink and people skate in a circuit. This picture was taken last year as I have yet to go there this year. Hope to do so soon. That’s Ro-Jiro in the grey parka and Biren in the red parka. :)

One of the best places to ice skate in Minneapolis is Centennial Lakes Park. This is a 10-acre lake groomed daily during the winter for ice skating. Skaters glide through the park’s three main ponds connected by narrow, meandering canals. When tired, you can snuggle up by the fireplace at each end of the rink-side warming house. Said to have a Currier & Ives or Norman Rockwell setting, night skating with your partner at Centennial Lakes can be pretty romantic. 😉

Last Friday was my first skating trip this year to Centennial Lakes. After bell ringing for the Salvation Army in our neighborhood, we headed downtown for an Italian dinner before going to the lake. As it was the last day of school before the winter break, there were lots of people out on the lake that evening. Everyone was excited to get onto the ice with their skates. It was a clear and crisp night with a temperature of about 12°F (-11°C). It was cold but it did not feel quite as cold with all the movement.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    How fun is that! But I hate the falling… make my bud sick! You look great in that photo. Hope you’re having a fabulous day & stay warm.
    Blessings, Kristy

  2. says


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  3. says

    Hi Biren,

    I love hazelnuts! I am allergic to peanuts, but thank God am not allergic to hazelnuts so they are my substitution for peanuts. Your hazelnut squares look delicious. The kid in me would pick off the nut first and enjoy it as I know the best has yet to come. I love that these aren’t overly sweet either.

    I’m quite enjoying your snow pictures, Biren. As you know, we get a lot of snow here in Canada, but now that I have kids, I’m loving the snow. That sounds like such a wonderful place for skating. Even equipped with indoor fireplaces to warm up? I’m impressed. We’re going to take K skating for the first time this year. Love living in a city with four different seasons! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family, Biren!

    • Biren says

      I love hazelnuts too! They make baked goods so fragrant and tasty. It seems like a lot of people are allergic to peanuts these days. Good thing you can enjoy the other types of nuts.

      It is wonderful to live in a place with four seasons. There’s always something to do in each season and when we tire of an activity, we know we won’t have to do it for too long. :) Great idea to bring K ice skating soon. It is so much easier to learn as a child. The kids here take to it like duck to water. It is not as easy to learn as an adult. The fear of falling can be hard to overcome.

      A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  4. says

    Congrats on your 1st blogging anniversary coming up. It can be quite tiresome at times keeping up with blogging, and you do it so well. You make it look so easy and fun. One year is quite an accomplishment. Can’t wait for your one year post. Have fun with it!

    • Biren says

      Thanks LeQuan! I can’t believe it’s almost a year. Blogging is hard work but it has its rewards. I’ll have to think of something to cook for the post. The book will be up for grabs. All the best!

  5. says

    Biren! I love that you get Australian Women’s Weekly. That’s so funny to me – a woman in Minnesota getting an Australian publication 😉 Are you originally from there?
    It looks like the weather in Minnesota is getting to be a bit more bearable, that ice skating looks like a lot of fun. It totally looks like you guys are skating down the street. I just got back from the mountains… They got 8.5 to 12.5 feet of snow this weekend!

    • Biren says

      The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook is a series of cookbooks, about 15 or so, I have in my collection. I started the collection way back when I was still in Malaysia. I really enjoy those cookbooks but unfortunately I have not seen them here.

      Yes, ice skating can be fun and it is “the” thing to do here in the winter as we have so many natural lakes that are frozen and many park rinks available. Wow…8.5 to 12.5 feet of snow is a lot of snow. Good for skiing though! 😉

  6. says

    Happy upcoming blog anniversary, Biren!! Time sure flies, doesn’t it? :) I’m so glad I discovered your beautiful blog and I’m excited to see what the future brings.

    The hazelnut squares look really wonderful…I will be adding hazelnut meal to my grocery list. :)

  7. says

    Fun photos and congrats on your upcoming anniversary!! These squares look like a great treat! I enjoy hazelnuts but don’t use them often enough in my baking :)

  8. says

    Awe, is that you on the ice, Biren?! You look like such a pretty lady (smile but seriously).
    Ooh, and these hazelnut squares look so good. I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes like this lately. People must crave stuff like this when it’s cold. I guess that doesn’t explain why I just crazed them down here in Miami;)
    p.s. Happy Blogversary!

    • Biren says

      Gee Stella…you are making me blush. Thanks for the compliment! :)

      Yes, the cold weather makes you want to have all those cheesy and buttery stuff. Not so good for the waistline but great for the soul 😉

  9. says

    The hazelnut bars looks scrumptious! How nice to be able just go out and skate your heart out:D with such lovely scenaries instead of the indoor ice skating ring that we have to make do with here. Love your photos! And Happy Blog Anniversary too!

  10. says

    How fun to go ice skating at night Biren! I used to do that all the time – you brought back great memories. Your cookies look unique and delicious! I love hazelnuts!

  11. says

    All this talk of snow and ice skating takes me back to my childhood in Wisconsin. I remember the make shift ice skating rink at our park as well. It was our favorite place to be in our free time (that and the sledding hill of course). :)

    These hazelnut bars look delicious! Where do you find your hazelnut meal?

    • Biren says

      Winter and snow can be fun. If only it will not outstay its welcome…sigh!

      I bought this hazelnut meal in Asia during my trip there in the summer. I store nut meals in the fridge so that it will not go rancid. In CO, I can buy nut meals in the bulk section at the healthfood stores. Here in Minnesota, the healthfood stores carry the Bob’s Red Mill packaged almond and hazelnut meal. They are a little bit expensive but you can make a lot of goodies with one 14oz package.

  12. says

    Hi Biren, how fun ice skating. Lovely pictures, You look great.The hazelnuts squares sounds and look delicious. I love to bake with nuts meal, the cake or whatever you are baking became so soft and light. Happy holidays for you and your family.

  13. says

    You’re an amazing baker, Biren! Baking is my Archilles’ heel :-(

    You make it look so easy. I’m more into savoury cooking, but I hope to be baking a little bit more, if I get round to doing it 😉

    The snow with it’s white landscape is beautiful to look at, but the aftermath is one whole mess – wet, slippery, and messy.

    I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. Happy Christmas and I am looking forward to your book :-)

  14. says

    I luv the idea of these hazelnut squares and they’re gluten free! Using nut meal/flour is so inviting to me and I really enjoy using it when I can. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how beautiful the composition is on your intro image of the squares…perfectly aligned with “peace” next to it. Creatively done :)

    All that beautiful snow…how festive and holidayish is that? We’ve been enjoying rain the last 4-5 days, haven’t seen the sun which in So Calif. is quite unheard of…but I’m still enjoying it. It would be nice to get a little snow. :)

    Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, Biren!

  15. says

    Hi Biren

    Congratulations on your upcoming First Blogoversary! These hazelnut squares look scrumptious! I do prefer hazelnuts to peanuts as they have an incredible aroma when toasting or baking in the oven!

    I am very curious to know of the book giveaway and will definitely check back again!

    You do look wonderful in your picture – you’re actually glowing!

    Hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas :)

  16. Karen Stelp says

    Congratulations on the first anniversary of your blog.
    Your hazelnut squares look delicious.

    I have a old family recipe for cookies made with ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, lemon juice and eggs. No flour needed!

    I make my own hazelnut meal using a small grater that is made by Zyliss from Switzerland. It has 3 graters in the box and can be used for grating nuts, cheese or slicing vegetables.
    The grater has a suction grip that you attach to your counter top and then you just grate your nuts by turning the handle. Very old fashioned. It is cheaper to make your own meals and fresher. Plus the nuts are very fluffy and not oily.

    Looking forward to making your hazelnut squares. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Biren says

      Thanks Karen for visiting and commenting. Thanks also for your kind words. Your family recipe sounds wonderful! It would be great for those on a gluten-free diet. I am curious as to what this Zyliss grater looks like. Some of these old fashioned tools are so reliable and they work so much better. Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

  17. says


    Love the Hazelnut squares. Not sure if they sell the flour here though…Might check it out in Holland and Barrett. Loved seeing your snow pictures too!! It’s lovely to see you all enjoying the snow instead of complaining like we do in UK!!


  18. DongXing says

    Hi Biren. Congratulations on your upcoming first blogging anniversary. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, trying out various interesting recipes and getting to know more of your life in MN. Those hazelnut squares look so enticing – how do you keep so slim is the question? No doubt, all those skating helps, eh? Looks so fun skating!

    • Biren says

      Thank you so much DongXing for your support and your kind words. Wouldn’t be around if not for followers like yourself. All your comments are very much appreciated. :)

      Keeping slim? Believe me it is a losing battle. I have to double up on my efforts to work it off. 😉

  19. says

    Congratulations for your upcoming blog anniversary! Your hazelnut squares looks so tempting! I love AWW too, I prefer their older publications, which I can’t seem to find anymore. Merry Christmas to you and family!

  20. says

    I adore the Australian Women’s Weekly as well :) And what amazing pics…I am afraid to go skating…there I’ve said it! but I want to with my boys.

    Congratulations on the upcoming Blog anniversary….wonderful cookies-yumm with the hazelnuts.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  21. says

    That’s a great idea to use the leftover and you did an amazing job Biren! Congrats on the upcoming anniversary! Time flies so fast, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to see your giveaway.

    Oh, I love ice skating!! That’s awesome that you have the whole park for ice skating!!

  22. says

    Love this hazelnut square because I love hazelnut and I saw this photo at Tastespotting :) Nice Click!
    I’ll be back for the giveaway.
    Merry Christmas (HUG & KISSES)

    • Biren says

      Hi Lori, thanks for visiting! Yes, the rice flour was in the original recipe. I changed the proportions to accommodate a larger pan.


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