Oh my gosh!  It’s December 1st already!  You know what that means, cocktail parties, dinner parties, copious amounts of wine, spirits and good food, wonderful company – family and friends.  Even if you don’t celebrate the blessed event, Christmas is here!  It also means my 12 Cookies of Christmas blog is due.

I present to you, the first cookie – oh my goodness!  This is an adult cookie because it isn’t overly sweet – just 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar and dark chocolate.  The original recipe called for bittersweet chocolate – which I’m sure would have put this over the edge.  I only had dark chocolate at home but I will definitely try it with bittersweet next time.  The origins are from that quintessential baker of all things good and sweet – Dorie Greenspan.  I’ve been following her for a while – in a non-creepy way of course – via her blog and continue to be impressed and inspired by her recipes.

If you liked my espresso pretzels from a few years back, you will love this.  I used espresso ground coffee with boiling water, strained it through a fine sieve, and added ¼ tsp. instant coffee.  If you have the instant espresso, use it.  The flavor and texture of these cookies is incredible.  Melt in your mouth, dark chocolate pieces amidst crumbly – but not in annoying crumby way – melt in your mouth texture – too much!

Dorie Greenspan also gives you those “why didn’t I think of that” moments.  For this cookie, I rolled the dough out in a large Ziploc bag.  The advantage of using this method of rolling in a plastic bag is minimal clean up.   No excess flour on the counter, no re-rolling scraps – just a wonderful, neat contained ooey-gooey batch of dough.   See the pictures below and follow the instructions in the recipe.  I also like the way the cookie is cut – neat little squares.  They bake up nicely with a bit of an overhang in the middle – kinda like my belly – sadly 🙁.

Cookie Number 1 of the 12 cookies of Christmas – Espresso Chocolate Shortbread.  I promise to make these cookie recipes interesting and a good cross-section from around the world.  They may not always be sweet, but the key word is interesting.  I promise once you make these, you will make them again.  Now. sign up for my blog – on the first page of my home screen, and receive every one of these 12 recipes as well as other tried and true cooking and baking recipes.  I don’t know how to send you anything else, so I promise no spam or junk mail advertising.

Make this and kick-start the Christmas Season!  This batch made about 25 beautifully square cookies.  As always – enjoy!

1 tbsp. instant espresso powder or espresso ground coffee and ¼ tsp instant coffee – use a
1 tablespoon (15 ml) boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces or 225 grams) Churn 84 unsalted (butter), at room temperature
2/3 cup (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse, sea or kosher salt
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (115 grams) Lindt bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate – chopped finely

Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid
Using your mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand held, cream the butter and sugar until smooth – about 3 minutes
Add in the vanilla, espresso and salt, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it forms dough – Don’t overwork the dough much once the flour is incorporated
Stir in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula – it will be sticky but will mix easily enough
Once mixed, transfer the dough to a large-size zip-loc plastic bag
Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and gently roll the dough using the size of the bag as the boundaries – about ¼” 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
Preheat the oven to 350f and line two baking sheets with parchment
Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open by gently inserting a sharp knife between the bag and the dough
Carefully remove the opened bag and discard
Using a ruler cut strips of the dough the width of the ruler
Turn the board around and cut again to make even squares
Gently attempt to poke the tines of a fork through the cookie – this may not be possible with all the cookies due to the chocolate chips, but do your best
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes – mine took 17 minutes
The shortbreads should be pale–they shouldn’t take on much color
Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool


In the freezer bag, just out of the fridge and ready to be cut into squares.


Neat little squares, ready for the oven.