Hubby got a new job — I’m very proud of him. But before he even started this new job, we were invited to a party at his new boss’ house. Obviously we had to bring something. ”So what?” you say? Here’s the kicker… Hubby works for the federal government and there are rules about the value of gifts a person can give to their boss. That value is $10. I had two choices: the finest bottle of Charles Shaw I could find to wow the new boss or I could make something. I sincerely hope you already know which one I chose. I really hope.
I made something. (Did you guess right?) Not just any something… but something that really impressed me. They sounded so fancy and they tasted so good; I wanted to high-five myself. I actually have no idea if it impressed the new boss*, but I like to think he was blown off his seat. Let’s go with that.
Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
These cookies were so easy to make and SO DAMN DELICIOUS that they are going to be my new go-to cookies. For those of you like me who aren’t into super sweet desserts, these are perfect. They definitely taste like espresso and have that same bitterness. Dust with powdered sugar to balance that bitterness.
This recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and I didn’t make any changes. I’m going to paste her recipe here with my comments. Note: I am not plagiarizing! I hate those jerks! This is NOT MY RECIPE! Although… when someone tells me that the cookies are awesome, I’m taking credit.
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon boiling water (Shhh… I used hot water and it worked fine)
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chunks from Whole Foods)
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. [My dough was pretty crumbly which (I think) was correct. It will come together when you roll it.] Fold in the chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. [Basically, try to fill the bag with your dough. Just roll and roll until it is about right. I had one jagged corner, so I just ate those cookies. You know, just tidying up.] 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.
4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. 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 1/2-inch squares. [I used no ruler; mine were rustic. My pizza cutter worked great for cutting the cookies.] 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.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. [I dusted them until the tops were coated. It added a really nice sweetness that wasn't overpowering.]
You’re going to love these cookies. No joke.
*New Boss’ wife is an incredible cook. She made three fabulous fruit tarts for dessert… my sad little (but delicious!) box of cookies got lost on the table of gorgeous tarts (and rightfully so). Lesson learned: Do NOT bring food to the house of someone who’s a better cook than you. Noted.