Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread

I made you cookies!

Well… I wish I made you cookies. It’s hard to bake you things over the internet. Also, even if it was easy to send baked goods over the internet, I’d be lying.

I made me cookies. I totally indulged myself.

It wouldn’t seem that way because these cookies aren’t soft and gooey. They’re not packed with nutella or oozing with salted caramel or any crazy combination of the two.

Oh jeepers… a combo of nutella and salted caramel.. that would be so.. so…

Sorry, drool tangent.

Although I generally an am advocate for “the more decadent, the better”, this is probably one of my favourite cookies I’ve ever made.

Shortbread dough rolled in a freezer bag!

Yeah, that’s right, I made that huge of a statement about a type of cookie that demands tea and coffee more than milk. Although, you should know that good shortbread is one of the few non-decadent baked goods I pine for.

Then take shortbread and add a little espresso and I’m ready to dance for it like a monkey for a banana.

Is that a legitimate comparison? I don’t know that monkeys actually dance for bananas. Maybe trained ones.

Hmm… sorry, monkey tangent.

Freezer bag cut and peeled away from the cookie dough

I must emphasize the good in good shortbread. Bad shortbread is… bad. It is hard instead of firm, dry instead of delicate and flavourless instead of… delicious.

This shortbread is all of those good things. There’s something about the way it feels when you bite into really good shortbread. When there’s that moment of slight resistance before it breaks off into sandy, delicate goodness.

Measure and cut for perfect squares

I had a thought during one of these moments yesterday, where I likened the texture to wet sand, except it wasn’t wet. Like, compact and dense, yet still able to lightly crumble. But shortbread isn’t WET like wet sand. But I don’t mean dry sand… I mean the properties of wet sand, except the part where it’s wet. Or something.

I originally told myself I wouldn’t tell you guys about this train of thought, and I think you can tell why.

Total sand tangent.

I seem to be in a really weird writing mood today. I should move on.

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread cut into squares

What makes this recipe so good before you ever put a cookie in your mouth? The gallon sized freezer bag.

I hate rolling cookie dough. It’s a sticky, repetitive process where my dough sticks to the counter more often than not, despite the handfuls of flour I throw at it. Rolling dough in a freezer bag is fabulously genius.

Pierce shortbread dough with a fork (helps the really dense dough bake evenly)

It also makes for a convenient vehicle to store the dough in the fridge. Then you simply cut it away from the dough with a really sharp knife or scissors and you’ve got a square slab of dough that’s super easy to cut into perfect little squares.

Use a ruler to guide your knife as you cut and you’ll look like a pro, promise. Then they’ll be delicious and pretty.

Look at that, I managed to get through legitimate baking information without any awkward tangents!

/selfhighfive

So I really hate to do this to you guys again so soon, but I’m going to be missing again next week. I’ll be in the Toronto area all week attending two different weddings, visiting my parents and relaxing at a B&B with Trevor in between. I love you guys, but I love my friends and family a liittle more.

A little.

See you in a couple weeks! :)

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.
  2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate or chips with a sturdy rubber spatula.
  3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
  4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
  7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

Makes 42 cookies

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