Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate shortbread cookies are easy to make and a great cookie for gifting. You only need a few simple ingredients to make them, the dough can be made in advance, and the baked cookies can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator or the freezer.
I really like shortbread cookies and have made several versions over the years, including Dorie Greenspan’s famous World Peace Cookies, and these chocolate shortbread cookies are a new favorite. They are crumbly, buttery and melt in your mouth plus they aren’t overly sweet, either.
Like my chocolate chip espresso shortbread cookies and Nutella shortbread cookies, these chocolate shortbread cookies are easy to make plus they are eggless which is great if you are baking for someone with egg allergies.
What are shortbread cookies?
Shortbread is actually a traditional Scottish cookie, although they call cookies “biscuits”. Shortbread cookies get their name because they are “short” which is a term that means “crumbly” in baking. The cookies are made with a lot of butter, which gives them their crumbly melt-in-your-mouth texture.
You only need a few ingredients to make these chocolate shortbread cookies.
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder
How to Make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix again until combined. On low speed, add the flour and cocoa powder and mix the dough just until the flour disappears.
- Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it into a rectangle approximately ¼” thick. Chill the dough for at least two hours.
- Cut the dough into 1 ½” rectangles. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes at 325°F.
Tips for Making Shortbread
Mixing the Dough
Be sure to measure your ingredients accurately when you make the shortbread dough, especially the sugar. Adding too much sugar can make your shortbread cookies chewy instead of crumbly.
When you add the flour and cocoa flour, be sure to only mix until you no longer see the flour. This will ensure you don’t overmix the dough, which can make your cookies tough and hard.
Chilling the Dough
The nice thing about shortbread cookies is that you can make the dough up to two days in advance. At the very least, you need to chill the shortbread dough for two hours. This gives the butter time to solidify. If your dough is not firm the cookies may spread too much while they bake.
Cutting the Dough
I cut my chocolate shortbread dough into rectangles, but you can cut your cookies into pretty much any shape you like. I’ve made pumpkin-shaped and heart-shaped shortbread cookies. I’ve made pinecone and Christmas tree ones, too! Or, you can do simple round-shaped shortbread cookies, too.
Baking Shortbread Cookies
Be sure to keep an eye on your shortbread cookies while they bake. Depending on your oven (or the size of your cookies if you make a different shape) they make take more or less time than what is listed in the instructions. The cookies are done when they have firmed up.
Storing Shortbread Cookies
One thing I love about shortbread cookies is that they keep well, so they are great as gifts for the holidays. Stored in an airtight container, shortbread cookies will keep up to a week at room temperature. Store them in the refrigerator and they will keep up to 10 days.
Or, you can freeze your shortbread cookies. Wrap them tightly and they should keep up to a month in the freezer. Be sure that your cookies are cooled completely before freezing them.
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- 8 oz unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
In a stand mixer, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in vanilla, then reduce mixer speed to low and add flour and cocoa powder, mixing only until it disappears into the dough.
Gather dough and place in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape that’s 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch rectangles. Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Use Real Butter