What is it about shortbread? And why is it that most people would choose shortbread over almost any other kind of cookie? And why do I keep posting recipes for shortbread? Well I know the answer to the last question at least. Personally, I absolutely adore shortbread because first and foremost, it’s not overly sweet. And almost anything I choose to add to the basic recipe is going to taste marvelous. And I love the amazing texture of shortbread. It’s at once soft, crisp, crunchy, crumbly, and best of all – buttery. And then of course there is the ease of preparation. So I guess when I analyse what it is about this amazing Scottish creation, every single factor leads to cookie perfection. (Of course what I still don’t understand is how the country that gave us shortbread could think up a concoction like haggis? My guess is that in order to get young Scottish children to eat this pudding made with sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt encased in a sheep’s stomach, parents had to have something like shortbread to reward their children if they actually finished their plate!) But I digress…..
Now, did I happen to mention that shortbread bar cookies are really easy to prepare? I think so, but if I didn’t, I’m telling you now! In fact, the most novice of cooks should be able to whip up a batch of these cookies without a worry in the world.
So whether you have been baking cookies like I have (since God was a child), or you have never before baked anything with gluten in it, I suggest that shortbread is perfect regardless of your level of expertise. And just to make sure you know that shortbread is nothing if not adaptable, there are 12 other shortbread recipes on this site, (7 alone under “Christmas Refrigerator Shortbread Cookies”). So even if you are not a mocha or chocolate fan (all 2 of you), there should be a shortbread recipe already posted that speaks to your inner cookie monster. And yes, I am going to say it right here on this blog. Homemade shortbread is almost always better than packaged shortbread. And a lot cheaper too! Of course Walker’s shortbread could be the exception (flavor wise that is), but again, there’s still the monetary aspect to consider. They ain’t cheap! (And yes I know, some would say I’m what’s really cheap in this whole equation. I however, prefer to think of myself as merely “spendthrift challenged”! Thank you very much!!)
- 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 c. powdered sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. kosher or coarse sea salt
- 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. instant espresso coffee (I use Medaglia D’oro. It comes in a small red, white, and green labeled jar with a bright green lid.)
- ½ c. mini chocolate chips
Whip the butter and powdered sugar together until creamy and light. Add the vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and espresso powder. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, mixing just until combined.
Scoop the dough into a lightly buttered 9×13-inch glass baking pan, pat into place, and level off the top with an offset spatula. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes or until a light golden brown. (Do not under-bake.) Remove from oven and cool for about 6 minutes before cutting into desired size pieces. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.