In the wondrous Gâteaux, authors Christophe Felder and Camille Lesecq present a fabulous array of treats: large cakes, small cakes, celebration cakes, tarts, and fruit happiness. Oh, and cookies.

Felder is from Alsace, a region of France on the German border that has actually been part of both countries on and off for centuries. This cookie, from a friend Sebastien Leser, is a German treat traditionally made with almonds. Here hazelnuts are employed, but you can experiment with whatever nuts you have or adore.

These are refrigerator cookies. You make dough, roll into logs, refrigerate, slice, bake, and finally eat. And eat you will. The sugar coating is important, so go all in here and do coat away.

This is the ideal breakfast cookie. Match these with espresso and make your day start with a great, great bite.

Sebastian’s Hazelnut-Vanilla Cookies

Yield: about 60 cookies, depending on how you slice


For the shortbread cookies:

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups ground hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sugar coating:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, slit, seeds scraped
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar



1. In a food processor, grind the sugar with the vanilla bean. This makes a vanilla sugar with a pronounced flavor.

2. Sift the vanilla sugar into a bowl. Dice the butter and add it to the sugar with the flour, ground hazelnuts, and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth dough.


1. Weigh out pieces of the dough each weighing 3 ½ ounces.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pieces of dough into log shapes 8 inches long. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 365°F (190°C).

4. Cut the logs of dough into 1 ¼ inch pieces.

5. Place them on a non-stick baking sheet (or baking sheet lined with parchment paper) and bake for about 15 minutes, until firm but still pale.

6. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.


1. Combine the sugar, vanilla seeds, and vanilla sugar.

2. When the cookies are cool, roll them in the vanilla- scented sugar. They should be completely cool to ensure that the sugar coating does not melt.

Source: Gâteaux by Christophe Felder and Camille Lesecq [Rizolli, 2017]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑400