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Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The Perfect Combination

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies1

I never liked coffee until later in my life when I realised that it didn’t just come in a dark, thick stream.
When I was young, my father and I would go into town and he would take that little diversion just to go past the coffee shop, the smell following us right up the high street, me burying my nose in my jacket.
These days, I still don’t drink much coffee but have found other ways to enjoy it and coffee and chocolate is the perfect combination of flavours.
I recently bought Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and this is one of the recipes that caught my eye. Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, extremely crisp - a great twist on the traditional shortbread and perfect for, dare I say it, accompanying your morning coffee!

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies2

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 30

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (or instant coffee powder)
1 tablespoon boiling water
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2/3 cup icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
½ t vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
4 ounces plain chocolate
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water and set aside to cool.
Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth. I used a hand held mixer.
Beat in the vanilla and espresso and reduce mixer to low speed, add the flour until it just disappears into the dough - don’t work too much. Fold in chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
I differed from the recipe at this point and gently rolled the dough out to about a ¼ inch thick and cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter, then put them on unbuttered baking sheets, prick a couple of times with a fork and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Heat oven to 325ºF and bake for 15-20 minutes. I think mine took slightly less time to cook, you want them just lightly coloured.
Cool on rack and dust with icing sugar while hot.

(Printable Recipe)


Anonymous said...

Isn't that just the best book! I love mine, although I am trying hard not to look at it just now....those look fabulous though. I might make them for Todd. He'd really enjoy them! I can just smell them! :-)

Love how your blog is shaping up Nic! You need a counter for on here so you can keep an eye on how many people are peeping in on you!

Janet said...

This looks amazing. A combination of three of some of the best things in the world... coffee, chocolate and butter!! I've bookmarked these!

Anonymous said...

Hi I would like to try said you deviated from the original recipe here. So what does the original recipe instruct you to do?

Nic said...

Hi mj!
Regarding the cookies, once the chocolate is folded into the dough, the book reads as follows:

“Using a spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9-x-10½-inch rectangle that’s ¼ inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Getting ready to bake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1½-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale - they shouldn’t take on much colour. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot.
Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.”

I hope this information helps you, and I'll be happy to answer any other questions! Thanks for visiting Cherrapeño!

Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVE YOU! I intend to try this sometime soon. Will tell you the results :)

Anonymous said...

I have a question again - when you rolled out your dough, did you roll it out on a floured countertop, between wax paper or in a ziplock bag like she instructs?

Did you chill the dough beforehand?

Very basic questions I know...but I once had threw away a whole batch of gingerbread cookies because the dough was too damn sticky to roll. It was frustrating.

Nic said...

Hi mj,

Make sure the butter is at room temperature.

I didn't use wax paper or a bag, and didn't chill the dough before rolling. I rolled it out on a lightly floured counter-top, add a little flour to the rolling pin if it's sticking.
I think the dough is more likely to be crumbly than sticky.
THEN, when I had cut out the rounds, I lifted them with a spatula and slid them onto the baking sheets and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. (I nearly always put any cookies I make into the fridge on their trays before baking.)

If I were you, I would make half the amount. When I made this recipe first time, I halved the amounts as I wasn't sure we would like them or how they would come out.

I have had my share of kitchen disasters too - still do, and it never hurts to ask questions!
Good luck and let me know how you get on if you make them.

Anonymous said...

They turned out great! Thanks so much!

Pictures here.

Nic said...

They look awesome mj - thanks for sharing the photos!