Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours have the quintessential buttery shortbread taste and texture with just a hint of coffee flavor to enhance the chocolate and the perfect amount of sweetness. They are super easy to make and are sure to impress!
This was one of my first blogs way back in August of 2012, so I thought that it was time to update the post with new pictures and text. Plus, it was an excuse to make some of these amazing shortbread cookies!
Ingredients for Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
I used the following ingredients for these amazing cookies: Espresso powder, water, unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, and mini-chocolate chips.
Espresso powder is insanely expensive and something that I rarely use. Therefore, I made my own from the used coffee grounds from the Master Taste Tester’s coffee! You could also use instant coffee if you happen to have that on hand.
If you’re like I am and don’t like the taste of coffee, fear not. The espresso powder really enhances the taste of the chocolate without dominating the shortbread.
Making the Dough
First, I dissolved the espresso powder in boiling water and set it aside to cool.
Then, I beat the room temperature butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and dissolved espresso powder until it was smooth. This took about a minute. Because it’s shortbread, I didn’t want to beat the butter until it was light and fluffy as with other cookie recipes. The reason is that with light and fluffy butter you beat air into the dough which causes the cookies to puff up when they are baking and to sink when they are cooling.
Next, I added the flour and beat the dough on low just until the flour was incorporated. This took about 30 seconds.
Finally, I folded in the mini-chocolate chips with a wooden spoon just until they were incorporated into the dough.
Transferring the Dough to Ziploc Bag
Up to this point, I had a really soft and sticky dough. This, however, is where the brilliant suggestion in Dorie Greenspan’s recipe made all of the difference in the world. Per the recipe, I placed the dough into a gallon-size Ziploc bag and rolled the dough into a ¼-inch rectangle to completely fill the bag. As I rolled, I left a small opening in the top of the Ziploc bag to allow the air to escape. Also, I made sure that none of the cookie dough seeped onto the sealing tracks of the bag. At this point, I put the Ziploc bag with the dough in the refrigerator for two hours to allow the butter to harden. I could have left it in the refrigerator for several days, or in the freezer for several months.
Finishing the Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
After two hours, I removed the bag from the refrigerator and cut the Ziploc bag away from the dough. Then, I placed the dough onto a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board on my counter. Using a ruler, I marked out 1 ½-inch increments on the dough. Next, I used my pizza wheel cut the dough into 1 ½-inch squares. I could have also used a sharp knife here.
Once I had cut the cookies, I transferred them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, I pricked each cookie twice with a fork, making sure that the fork tines went all the way through the cookies. I left about ½-inch between the cookies to allow for their minimal expansion while cooking.
I popped the cookies into a preheated 325° F oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the cookies had just started to lightly brown around the edges, so I knew that it was time to take them out of the oven.
I transferred the baked cookies to a cooling rack and allowed them to completely cool.
All in all, I ended up with 48 absolutely amazing Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread cookies. They were buttery and crumbly like shortbread. The espresso perfectly enhanced the chocolate and the amount of sugar was just right. In other words – the perfect cookie. Yum!
Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder (See Note 1)
- 1 Tablespoon boiling water
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup (2.67 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup mini-chocolate chips
- Dissolve espresso powder in boiling water; set aside to cool to tepid.
- Place butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and dissolved espresso in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Do not beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour and mix on low speed only until the flour disappears into the dough, about 30 seconds. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the mini-chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
- Transfer the dough to a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Place the bag on a flat surface. Leaving a small opening in the top for the air to escape, roll the dough into a ¼-inch thick rectangle that completely fills the bag. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so that it doesn't cause creases. (See Note 2)
- Seal the bag and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Place the Ziploc bag on a flat surface; cut away from the dough and discard bag. Turn the firm dough onto a parchment lined surface. Using a ruler as a guide and a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 ½-inch squares. Transfer the squares to prepared baking sheets, leaving about ½-inch between the cookies. Carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Bake at 325° F for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to lightly brown.
- Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long.
- Yield: 4 dozen cookies.
Chula's Expert Tips
- Espresso powder is insanely expensive. If you're a coffee drinker, you can easily make your own espresso powder.
- Watch carefully as the dough begins to reach the top of the Ziploc bag. You don't want it to overflow onto the tracks that seal the bag.