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Recipe

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Featured in our 2017 Christmas Guide
Anna Williams

Yield: Yields about 7 dozen 1-1/2-inch heart-shaped cookies.

Melting chocolate with shortening helps the chocolate set without the need to temper it. You can omit the shortening and the dipping, and instead drizzle plain melted chocolate on the cookies.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. finely ground espresso coffee beans

For the dipping chocolate

  • 9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable shortening

Preparation

  • Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t overmix.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Using a heart or other shape cookie cutter, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 minutes, swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 275° F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325° F.

Dip the baked, cooled cookies

  • Set a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring, until it’s smooth and warm; don’t let it get hot. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the parchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about 2 hours.

Tip

For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • Flourbuttersugar | 12/08/2017

    I've been making these for years, and they are one of my all-time favorites. I appreciate being able to use cold butter which lessens prep time.

    I agree with the previous reviewer who said the recipe doesn't yield as many as stated, and they are better when rolled 1/4 inch thick.

    I always make these in a stand mixer and have no problem getting dough to come together. That said, it is very crumbly until that magical moment when it finally comes together. If making with a hand mixer, I'd soften the butter a tad then chill the dough. (I always chill dough after rolling and again after cutting so cookies keep their shape.)

    This dough has become my go-to shortbread dough. I sometimes substitute 2 T. Earl Grey tea for the espresso. I've also subbed 1 t. Maple flavoring plus 1 t. Vanilla for the espresso. Just fabulous!

  • user-2975420 | 04/04/2015

    I absolutely love these cookies!

  • merlincat | 12/02/2014

    I've made these every year for at least eight years. I give them as gifts, and they are special favorites of, among others, the equine vets on my list. There would be much sadness if I were ever to skip them. A few comments: first, these don't make anywhere near the number of cookies the recipe specifies (I use 2" heart cutters and get only about 45 cookies). Second, I've learned that their quality suffers greatly if the dough is not a full 1/4" thick. Third, it's very difficult to tell when these are done (aroma is one indicator), but not overbaking is key. But that being said - these are easy (never had a bit of difficulty with dough coming together or rolling them out) and spectacular, always a hit, particularly among coffee lovers. Highly recommended.

  • Barneyboy | 10/11/2014

    I'm afraid I have to agree with Bikerchik on this one and wonder how on earth all the others got anything remotely reasonable to roll out. It was a disaster. I have checked other shortbread recipes and they all seem to include more butter and less flour. Too bad. I had these at a restaurant and they were fabulous.

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