Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Today is my sister's birthday. She is... old. Just kidding!

I decided to send a package of cookies to my sister at work for her birthday. I made these shortbread cookies because I thought they would stand up to the travel better. Plus, she had asked me to make these for her before. I made these Sunday night, let them cool, and wrapped them in plastic at least three times and then in bubble wrap to make sure that the cookies do not break during travel. It actually fit perfectly into the little box I bought. I wrote a card and then sent everything Monday morning to make sure it got to my sister's office today on her birthday!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread

My packaging worked! The cookies didn't break, thankfully. I know cookies aren't the best gifts, but my family has never been big on birthday celebrations. And I am terrible at thinking of the perfect gift to give to people. So why not make something that I know my sister wanted (since she had requested them anyway)? Plus, I put thought into the cards that I sent her :)

This recipe, I like. I love the idea of using a Ziploc bag to roll out the shortbread dough. It makes it easier to cut out perfect squares. I didn't have mini chocolate chips--regular sized ones work just fine. I didn't dust them in powdered sugar because I didn't know how well it would go in the mail and it'll be cleaner for my sister to eat at her office as a snack or something. But I'm sure they would be tasty with the dusting too.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread

I love surprises and getting things in the mail, so surprises in the mail are the greatest things ever in my opinion :) Send these to whomever needs a little pick-me-up!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
From Use Real Butter

1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp boiling water
8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Dissolve espresso powder in boiling water. Set aside to cool to tepid.

Beat butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in vanilla and espresso, then reduce mixer speed to low and add 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 or chips with a sturdy rubber spatula.

Using the spatula, transfer dough to a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Put 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. 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 325F. 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. 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 (okay, I didn’t poke the cookies and they’re fine). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point (I didn’t do that either – I bake one sheet at a time). The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color.

Transfer the cookies to a rack. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

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