While Alex was out of town, I decided to finally make Espresso-Chocolate Chip Shortbread. I feel guilty whenever I make something that I know Alex won’t like, because he can’t share in my excitement and enjoyment. When he’s out of town, this guilt is alleviated since he’s out having great meals I don’t have access to.
These shortbread cookies were amazingly simple to make, and tasted great. It’s really a shame I didn’t make them sooner. This recipe starts by mixing water with instant espresso powder, which is definitely worth the investment. This was the only brand I could find at Schnucks, where it was about $5.50, and it was worth the money (particularly given how much I bake).
I love using my stand mixer to make shortbread. It really does the best job of creaming the butter to easily incorporate all the flour and sugar that goes into the cookies. (Ingredient note: I used half butter and half margarine in these cookies because butter, although it adds great flavor, seems to make cookies go stale more quickly.) I creamed the butter/margarine with the powdered sugar for a few minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides; added vanilla and the dissolved espresso; and then added the flour on low speed, mixing only until combined. I used a rubber spatula to gently cut in mini chocolate chips.
I scraped the dough into a one-gallon zipper bag and patted out the dough all the way across the bag, and to within an inch of the zipper. I zipped the bag and stored the dough in the fridge for 4 or 5 hours, until I was ready to bake them. I used scissors to cut up the side and bottom of the bag, and used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares. (I wish I’d used a ruler, because they were uneven.) I put the cookies on 2 Silpat-lined baking sheets, pricked each cookie with a fork, and baked them in a 325F oven for about 18 minutes. I switched the position of the baking sheets about halfway through the baking time to make sure they baked evenly.
These were fantastic cookies. The coffee flavor was strong and definite, but not overwhelming – think of the flavor of good, pure coffee ice cream. Mini-chocolate chips were delightful in the cookies. The shortbread was firm – not delicate, as they held up when I carried them to and from work over several days. The texture was great – tender and not too crumbly when you bit into it. The cookies were not dry. They had a toasty aroma that wafted out of the container the moment you opened it.
These cookies are great for coffee lovers everywhere, and even some people who think coffee is just okay. (I know, because my non-coffee drinking friend Jen liked them too.) This was an easy but impressive recipe that I definitely think I’ll make again.