One of the cookies I really like are a shortbread espresso cookie dipped in dark chocolate. I love shortbread cookies and the combination of coffee, chocolate and vanilla is amazing to me. This cookie goes quite well with champagne. Champagne and dark chocolate have a natural affinity for each other. This recipe is adapted from Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread from Fine Cooking: Cookies, issue #23. I added vanilla and feel the addition of vanilla really brings out the chocolate and espresso flavors in this cookie.
These are tasty and super simple to make so lets get to it!
Place the cold butter, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix on slow speed until blended. You should still be able to see sugar granules in the batter.
Add the remaining ingredients: the flour, espresso and vanilla. Mix until it comes together.
This dough is very easy to roll. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. I chose a biscuit cutter for circles but in the past I have done stars and cut the dough with a sharp knife into diamonds. I did cut a few squares and diamonds with the left over dough so as not to waste. Place the cookies on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. I usually spray a little cooking spray between the cookies sheet and the parchment to hold the parchment paper in place.
Bake the cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies are slightly darker and look dry on top. Take them out of the oven and cool on the pan for a couple of minutes and transfer them to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
For the chocolate: Melt the chocolate with the vegetable oil over a double boiler or in the microwave. If you choose to microwave, then mic it for 30 seconds, stir, mic for 30 more seconds, stir until the chocolate is shiny and smooth. You know your microwave so be careful not to over mic it. That can make a sad, nasty mess and you will have to start all over. Not fun and frustrating. Be patient, it is worth it. (I might be talking to myself here!) The vegetable oil (I used canola) helps keep the chocolate shiny and a tiny bit soft on the cookies so don't skip it.
When the chocolate is ready, dip half of the cookie or you can just drizzle chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Dipping leaves more chocolate on the cookie than drizzling but they both look awesome.
These make lovely gifts and as I said before goes really well with champagne. A nice addition for New Years Eve.
I love putting cookies or candies in a clear party bag for gift giving!
Note: Shortbread cookies have very few ingredients therefore the quality of the ingredients matter. They are typically made of flour, butter, sugar and sometimes a flavoring like vanilla extract. Use a good quality butter and real vanilla, not imitation.
Espresso Shortbread Cookies dipped in chocolate
adapted from Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread in Fine Cooking: Cookies-issue #23
FOR THE COOKIES:
1/2 lb (1 cup) of cold unsalted butter, cubed into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt, fine ground not course or kosher
2 1/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, (10 ounces)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of finely grounds espresso beans
FOR CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
9 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening
To make the cookies, place the butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer (this much easier than using a hand mixer. If you do use a hand mixer, use a large bowl). Mix on low speed until combined. You should still be able to see sugar granules in the butter. Add the flour, vanilla and finely ground espresso beans. Mix until it comes together. This will take a few minutes. When the dough just pulls away from the bowl (like a pie dough) and pulls together the stop mixing. Do not over mix.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or cut squares or rectangles/bars with a knife. Place the cookies on parchment paper on top of a cookie pan and chill for about 20 minutes in the frig.
While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies look dry on top and are a shade darker. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To melt chocolate and dip the cookies, place 9 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler (I used a glass bowl over a small saucepan with gently simmering water). Add the vegetable oil (I used canola,) And stir until it is melted and glossy. Take each cookie and dip them halfway into the chocolate and set on wax paper until set, approximately 2 hours.