This shortbread reminds me of the Amul advertisement. It is utterly butterly delicious, my friend. And to think that I cringed when I read the amount of butter in the recipe. And then cringed some more while weighing and transferring it to the mixing bowl. Don’t go by its homely and plain appearance. It’s the most crisp and utterly butterly piece of shortbread/ cookie I have had in a long time. What, do you need proof of that? Fine. While the first batch was baking and cooling, I took the rest of the dough and made these really cute animal shapes with it for my little cousins. I was determined that the shapes should come out perfect and put a lot of effort into it. But alas, I was so consumed by eating the first batch that I completely forgot about the second one baking in the oven and they were burnt to a crisp! I am in fact nibbling on one while writing this.
Now, what is the difference between a shortbread and cookie, you ask? A shortbread is more crumbly and has a lot more butter than the traditional cookie. A shortbread has to be chilled and rolled out whereas a cookie need not be rolled. The texture of the two also differs – a shortbread is thicker and denser than a cookie.
Since this recipe is originally by Dorie Greenspan it had to be fail proof. But just to double to fun I used salted butter instead of unsalted and added about 40 gms of grated semi sweet chocolate to the dough. I skipped the espresso but put in ¼ teaspoon dissolved in some warm water with the vanilla if you are fond of coffee. I also put them back into the oven for 3 mins, 5 mins after taking it out! Turns out to be much crisper that way!
Try variations with almonds, hazelnuts, butterscotch and just plain chocolate chips without the grated chocolate.
Double Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Yields 16 cookies
1 stick / 115 gms salted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2/3 tablespoon / 65 gms castor sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup / 125 gms flour
1/2 cup / 60 gms chocolate chips
1/3 cup / 40 gms grated chocolate
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla (and espresso, if you are using). Add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a rubber or silicone spatula.
2. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag (I used parchment paper since I did not have a zip lock bag. You can even substitute with cling wrap). Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a rectangle that’s 1/2 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 ( I froze mine for 8 hours).
3. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 F/160C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. 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 1 – 1.5 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.
5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be dark brown–they are not burnt. It's just the colour from the grated chocolate. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
6. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.