Salted Espresso Chocolate Shortbread
I had very earnest intentions of spending the last weeks of August writing a series of back-to-school posts, but, well. . . so far that isn't happening. I may still get to that (people still need lunch ideas in February, right?), but for now, let's lower our expectations, shall we.
Tomorrow we will be loading up the car to spend one glorious week at a cottage that we have rented on the lake where my beloved childhood cottage was located. I can't even tell you how excited I am for tomorrow. In order to get to tomorrow, though, I have to get through today, which means getting through my insane, exhausting, unending lists of things to clean, cook, organise and pack. I am currently stuck in one of those nightmares where no matter how hard you try to get where you are going, you never seem to get any closer.
With so much to do and my energy waning, it is crucial to prioritise. So naturally, I am choosing to spend my time baking cookies and blogging about them. Listen people, it has been a week and I just freakin' need a warm cookie, okay. And not just any cookie--I need this cookie, which is my take on Dorie Greenspan's genius Espresso Chocolate Shortbread. I discovered this recipe years ago from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and it has been my favourite ever since. I usually use her awesome trick of rolling them out inside of a large freezer bag, but this time I decided to roll them into logs to slice and bake. Doing so allowed me to apply a sweet little trick from Alison Roman's famed Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, which is to brush the logs with egg wash and roll them in sugar before slicing. The resulting crispy-sweet edge takes takes these already-awesome little babies to the next level.
Salted Espresso Chocolate Shortbread
Yield: 24 cookies
- 1 tbs instant espresso
- 1 tbs boiling water
- 1 cup salted butter (if using unsalted, increase salt in dough to 1/2 tsp), room temperature
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 ounces of good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
- 1/4 sugar for coating sides
- finishing salt (such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel) for sprinkling
- Dissolve espresso in boiling water. Set aside to cool to tepid.
- In a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand beater, cream butter and sugars using medium speed until very well mixed and creamy.
- Beat in vanilla, salt, and espresso.
- Lower the speed to the low and mix in flour until it just disappears into the dough.
- Add chocolate and mix gently just until it is incorporated. Do not over mix!
- Turn out onto a work surface and form dough into a disk. Divide it in half and transfer each half to a piece of plastic wrap, about 18 inches long.
- Form each half into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter. Wrap well in the plastic.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Alternately, freeze it for at least 30 minutes.
- When your ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Remove dough from the fridge or freezer. Unwrap it, but leave it sitting on the plastic wrap to prevent a crazy mess on your counter.
- Using a pastry brush, brush each log with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with the sugar on all sides to coat. You might find it easier to roll them in the sugar.
- Slice each log into 12 cookies, about 1/2 thick.
- Arrange the cookies on a pair of parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave room between the cookies for moderate spreading (I find 12 to a sheet works okay).
- Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a few grains of finishing salt.
- Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply golden and the tops look dry and are beginning to brown around the edges.
- Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container
*I like to bake off just one log, saving the other one in my freezer for another time. There is really nothing more satisfying than knowing that I can be eating fresh-baked cookies within 30 minutes at anytime of the day or night. Remember to only do the egg wash and sugar coating right before you bake them, not before putting them in the freezer!