My first semester of pharmacy school is winding down.. after more than 20 exams, I now only have two left, thank goodness. While I really should be studying for the one I have tomorrow, I was struck with the need to post something, anything really; it was lucky that I did some Christmas cookie baking Friday night to ease the long day I had (two exams, ugh). I gave my kitchen a much needed scrub down after about a week of dishes piling up due to a nasty cold, and I set to work on these cookies. It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted anything, but I have baked/cooked a few things here and there over the past month; if you asked me what I’ve eaten or cooked, I honestly couldn’t tell you. The last month of studying/being sick has eaten away at my memory…but anyway. To these cookies.
My sister, Jenny, is having a cookies and milk party a week before Christmas, so I made these little delights for that. It took me a while to figure out what cookie I was going to make, going through Pinterest daily when I had a bit of free time, searching for the best cookie. I ended up eschewing Pinterest and turning to my favorite blogs and found these babies on Smitten Kitchen. Deb adapted these from Dorie Greenspan, so I knew they’d be a winner. If you’re a shortbread fan, you’ll surely love these.
Deb mentioned adding toffee would be a fantastic idea for this shortbread, so I had to take her up on that, and I am SO glad I did. It adds an extra bit of depth to the flavor, making it almost hazelnutty with the combination of toffee and coffee. And a bit of chocolate is never a bad thing. The kitty tried to sample the dough while I was rolling it out within his domain (the table in our kitchen) – this is definitely a dough you’ll have a hard time keeping your fingers out of, especially since there’s no raw eggs to worry about. 🙂
I needed 9 dozen for the cookie exchange, so I quadrupled the recipe for some extras to give to some friends with their Christmas presents. I ended up with [almost] more cookies than I know what to do with; I didn’t do the final count at the end, but I do know I had at least 17 dozen… These cookies are really easy to make, so it was no problem whatsoever having that many. I really liked the way you rolled them out, although it was a bit of a waste of Ziploc bags – and it was quite a workout! Now that I’ve done a bit of holiday baking, I just want to do more and more..
Chocolate Espresso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
yields about 3 1/2 dozen
1 T instant espresso powder
1 T boiling water
2 sticks butter, softened (I used 1 salted & 1 unsalted)
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% chips)
2 oz. toffee bits
Dissolve the espresso powder into the boiling water and allow to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the confectioner’s sugar and butter together until extremely smooth. Beat in the vanilla and cooled espresso until well blended. Add in the flour and mix on low until just incorporated – do not over mix! Fold in the chocolate and toffee bits.
With a spatula, spoon the dough into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Leaving the top open, roll the dough out, filling the bag, until it’s 1/4″ thick. Peel the plastic away from the dough as you roll it to eliminate creases. Once rolled out, seal the bag and place in the fridge for about 2 hours (up to 2 days).
Preheat the oven to 325ºF, and remove the bag of dough from the fridge. On a cutting board, slit the bag open, and turn the dough out onto the cutting board. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2″ squares. Place the squares onto a parchment/silicone lined baking sheet. Prick each square twice with a fork, pushing through until it hits the baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through (cookies should be very pale). Allow to cool on a wire rack, and serve once cooled. Can be frozen!