As a someone who prefers strong coffee, dark chocolate, and fancy shortbread, this cookie and I get along fabulously!
This is one treat that I keep making, year after year — there’s nothing quite as nostalgic and comforting as a “return-to” cookie recipe. I can see myself making this mocha shortbread when I’m 30, when I’m 50, and when I’m 100!
Now, this recipe originally calls for only half the coffee-flavour that I’ve packed it full of, and, as much as I trust in the gospel of the Joy of Baking, I just had to do this one my way.
I’ve replaced the “instant espresso powder” with twice the amount of real, fresh ground espresso beans, and I’ve substituted part of the vanilla extract with Kahlua coffee liqueur.
The result: a bittersweet cookie with fudgey texture that’s still a wee bit crumbly, just like shortbread should be!
Please note that the photos accompanying this recipe are half amounts — I didn’t feel like having over 40 cookies on my hands because I suspected too many of them would end up in my tummy if I made that many!
Mucho Mocha Shortbread
*adapted from Cindy Brooks
- 1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 & 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup super-fine ground espresso beans
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coffee liqueur
- 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 double-pieces of Baker’s white chocolate
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- coffee beans
Set the oven to 325°F (or 163°C). Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan (or a 8 x 8 inch pan for a half-recipe).
In a small bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt together.
In another small bowl, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together.
In a large bowl, cream the butter a little, then add the cocoa and icing sugar mixture until smooth and silky looking.
Beat in the vanilla, coffee liqueur, and ground espresso.
Gently stir in the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and mix until just incorporated. At this point, the batter will look dry and crumbly — you might might wonder if you’re doin’ it wrong, but you’re not.
Next, form the batter into a smooth dough ball with your hands.
Drop your dough ball into the middle of the prepared pan and use your fingers to press it down and spread it evenly in the bottom of the pan.
This part of the preparation process can be a little time-consuming and tedious. What I do is push, push, push the dough around with my fingers until it’s covering the bottom of the pan, then even out the surface of the dough with the flat side of a spatula.
Pop the flattened cookie dough into the preheated oven and bake for 12 ~ 14 minutes, or until the top looks dry. These cookie should be moist, so, when in doubt, remove the cookies sooner rather than later.
As soon as the cookie sheet comes out of the oven, wait a minute or two for the cookie to cool, then slowly, gently cut the cookie sheet into 2 x 2 inch (or 4 x 4 cm) squares.
I always cut off the edges of the cookies because I like them better when they’re uniform (and because then I can snack on the left-over edges and save the decorated cookies as presents)!
Allow to cool completely before decorating.
To make the white chocolate garnish: melt your white chocolate with shortening in the microwave or over a double boiler. Scoop the white chocolate into a piping bag or a squeeze bottle (or just use a spoon) and decorate the mocha shortbread. Top each one with an espresso bean, if desired.
Place the decorated cookies in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden the chocolate.
Makes at least 40 cookies.
I like to eat my shortbread with a cup of coffee, but some people might say that’s “overdoing” the caffeine.
I say there’s no such thing. Yum!