Espresso Shortbread Cookies

I know this blog is titled “Sweet Tooth”, but today I’m sharing a not so overly sweet treat for those of you who can’t handle the weekly sugar overload.  Yes, there is two-thirds of a cup of powdered sugar, but compared to your average cookie, these don’t pack the same sugary punch.  This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan, whose cookbook I’ve had since Christmas, but am just getting around to trying some of the recipes this spring.  Dorie Greenspan is a legend among bakers, and when I saw that Deb from Smitten Kitchen also gave this recipe rave reviews, I knew I had to give it a try.

These shortbread cookies may not be as colorful or beautiful as last week’s Fruit Tart or my Sunflower Cupcakes, but they serve their buttery, delicious purpose in other ways – such as being dunked in a big mug of coffee for an after-dinner treat.  The deep espresso flavor really shines through with these, and not in your average “mocha” way, but in a slightly bitter way that really makes you think of rich coffee beans.  Combined with the finely chopped dark chocolate, it’s a sophisticated mocha combination that is definitely addicting.  I love all things coffee-flavored, and these cookies were no exception.

After finally breaking in Dorie’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”, I’m definitely going to have to start exploring her pages and pages of other recipes.  I would love to be on the couch skimming her beautiful words and pictures with a cup of coffee and a few of these espresso shortbread cookies.  Too bad they’re long gone, but I might just have to put together another batch soon!

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Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 42 cookies


1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp boiling water
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


Dissolve the espresso powder in boiling water and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and espresso.

With the mixer now on low, slowly add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Fold in the chopped chocolate with a rubber spatula. The dough will be soft and sticky.

Transfer the dough to a gallon-size ziploc bag. Put the bag on a flat surface and with the top open, roll the dough into a 9x10.5" rectangle that's 1/4" thick. When you get the right thickness, seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Remove the dough form the plastic bag and transfer to a cutting board. Use a ruler to cut the dough into 1-1/2" squares. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets and gently push a fork completely through the cookies twice.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Once baked, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


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6 Responses to “Espresso Shortbread Cookies”

  1. #
    reinidays — June 1, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

    These sound great! I love anything that has to do with coffee or espresso, so I’ll have to give them a try. Thanks for sharing!

  2. #
    Jessica @ She Bakes Here — June 2, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Mmmm, espresso is one of my favourite things to bake with and these cookies look great! I just saw your ring on Instagram, so I thought I would pop over and say congrats! :)

  3. #
    Jacqueline — June 2, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    yummm I can’t wait to try these! I love your photography!

  4. #
    Alysha @Shesontherun — June 4, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    I love shortbread (and anything that’s coffee flavored) Beautiful pics as always!

  5. #
    The Hsinru Social — June 7, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    These look great! Do you recommend an alternative to putting it in ziplock bag? I don’t have the gallon sized ones. Also, what if I only refrigerate overnight instead of 2 days. Will that negatively impact the dough and outcome? Thanks for your guidance!

    • Erica — June 8th, 2012 @ 3:11 am

      You don’t have to put them in a ziplock bag, it just helps keep things easier. Refrigerating overnight would be fine. Good luck!

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