Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread

Shortbread cookies are yummy!
Coffee flavored anything is yummy!
Chocolate dipped anything is yummy! (Well, within reason.)
So Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread is YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!
Did I mention these cookies are yummy?
I absolutely adore shortbread cookies, all varieties, all variations. They're just so buttery and tender and simple and delicious. This recipe used to be in my regular Christmas Cookie list (minus the chocolate dipping) and I made them every year. I really don't know when they got dropped from the list and why I forgot about them. Maybe it has something to do with getting married, having kids, and loosing my mind. Maybe? Maybe not. Anywho, I was trying to organize a sloppy folder of recipes last week and this gem fell out of the pile. Couldn't believe I'd forgotten about them so I had to make them immediately to redeem myself. Would they be as good as I remembered? Uh, YEAH!

Simple ingredients: Butter, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and instant coffee.

In a small bowl, stir together the instant coffee, vanilla and 1 teaspoon water. Set aside.

Cream the butter until very fluffy and soft, about 5 minutes, or more if its cold in your house. Butter should start out at room temperature.

Add sugar and mix on medium high speed until very very light and fluffy, another 3 minutes or so. The color of the butter should be very pale. 

Add the coffee-vanilla mixture and mix until well incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to get it all mixed in well.

Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed just until all the flour is mixed it.

Mixture may seem dry and "sandy" but should hold together when squeezed in your hand. Be very careful not to over mix the dough.

At this point, you could smoosh it into a buttered 8-inch round cake pan, score it into wedges with a knife, bake it in a 325°F oven for about 50 minutes, re-cut the wedges, let cool and voila, espresso shortbread. But, if you'd like to roll it out and dip it in chocolate, and I totes know you do, then keep reading.

Flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. I went 2 nights before baking.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set the dough out and let it warm up enough so that you can roll it out.

Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with a 2-inch circle (or any shape) cutter. Here you see my standard "rolling" set up. For more on this check out THIS post.

Lay cookies out about 1-1/2 inches apart (these don't spread much) on a lined cookie sheet. Chill for about 10 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes until set and edges are just starting to turn brown. You can also press a line across the center of the cookie with a skewer or the back of a knife. This is purely for looks, it serves no other purpose so skip it if you want.

Let the cookies cool completely on a rack. You can stop here and you'll have a lovely* coffee flavored shortbread cookie. Or you can take it to the next level and dip them in chocolate. I'm all about taking it to the next level. . .

*I've been watching a lot of British shows as of late so words like lovely and fantastic have creeped into my vocab. Deal with it!

In a small deep bowl, put about 8 oz. of chocolate coating. (See this post about "melting chocolate" and how to substitute chocolate chips.)

Heat it in the microwave starting with 1 minute and then going 30 seconds at a time until smooth and melted. You could also use a double boiler or one of those chocolate melting appliances. Whatever works for you. I like a deep glass bowl because the glass holds the heat while you're dipping.

Just dip one half of the cookie into the chocolate, shake off the excess and scrape the bottom on the edge of the bowl. Then lay on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet to set up.

And there you have it. Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread. Rich flavored and tender but not too sweet. And the best part, they get better with age. You can store them up to 3 weeks in an airtight container and they just get more and more tender. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, good!

Here is a link to the recipe: Martha Stewart's Espresso Shortbread.
Note: I use granulated sugar for this recipe. I also mix the instant coffee, water and vanilla all together then add it before the flour goes in.

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