Shortbread, Sables, Sandies…
All names for those cookies with a “short” texture: tender, crumbly and melt-in-your mouth. These chocolate shortbread cookies are just screaming out for a glass of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee. They are not too sweet, have a little of touch of salt and finish with a taste of bittersweet chocolate.
It took me 6 batches and a lot of tweaking to get the recipe just right. The mixing method is not what’s typical for most cookies where you “cream” the butter and sugar to make it light and fluffy. For these shortbread, you “cut” (with your stand mixer flat beater or with a pastry cutter) cold butter chunks into the dry ingredients; the way you would for pie crust, scones and biscuits. It helps to create that tender-“crisp” texture – some folks even make them in their food processor.
“Bloom” the Cocoa Powder:
There isn’t really any liquid in the recipe, no eggs or milk – only a little vanilla extract. Due to this the cocoa powder was tasting too “powdery” in my first batches. I thought about the way I combine chocolate with melted butter to make brownies, and decided to melt just a few tablespoons of the butter and stir in the cocoa powder to help moisten the cocoa. I then add this “cocoa paste” as the final step of the mixing process. That did the trick!
After a little noodling online I discovered this is called “blooming” the cocoa – and it helps to release more chocolate flavor – much like some dried spices like to be bloomed in oil to release their full flavor.
Form Cookies: 3 Ways:
Once your dough is mixed, you can decide how you want to form your shortbread. For each of the 3 methods it’s a good idea to chill the dough, so the butter firms up nicely.
1. Slice & Bake:
2. Form Balls & Flatten:
This is my preferred method – I like the generous size (3 – 3 1/2″) of the cookies. They’re large enough to decorate and thin enough to sandwich two together with a filling.
3. Press in Pan & Cut Wedges:
This method is very easy. Just press the dough into a prepared 9 x 9″ pan. “Dock” (poke) the dough with a fork to help release steam. If you like a thicker, crisper shortbread that you can really sink your teeth into – then these chocolate shortbread wedges are for you!