My good friend and foodie mentor, Chris, sent me this shortbread recipe. It’s so easy, even I could make them. You probably have all the ingredients on hand.
I love how the cookies are not placed evenly on the pan. This is so me. It was 7 am! I was going to fix it, but I decided to leave it.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, measured, then sifted
8 oz butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch pieces or cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
Filling – optional
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 Tbs granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
To make the chocolate shortbread:
In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sifted cocoa powder. Set aside.
Combine butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until the butter and sugar begin to incorporate, about 15 seconds then increase speed to medium and continue to beat until very creamy and lighter in color.
Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix until the dough comes together, about 2-3 minutes. It may look dry just before it comes together.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Using any cookie cutter of choice, cut out as many cookies as possible. Or, you can simply cut squares or rectangles using a knife. Gather together the dough scraps, reroll, and continuing cutting out cookies until all dough is used up. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Refrigerate until just barely firm—15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the shortbread until just firm, about 10-12 minutes (11 minutes seemed perfect). At the midway point, I like to rotate racks 180 degrees to ensure even baking. If you do this, be quick about it; don’t let the oven temperature drop too much. As soon as cookies are out of the oven, using a spatula, carefully remove them from the pans to cooling rack to avoid baking them too long. Let cookies cool on the rack to room temperature. These are great cookies, just as is.
BUT, if you want a sandwich cookie (and who doesn’t) THEN you can:
Make the filling:
In a small bowl, blend together the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
To assemble the cookies:
Turn 18 of the cookies bottom side up on a work surface. Using a table knife or small icing spatula, spread about 1 tablespoon of the filling on the bottom of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom side down. The filling should be quite soft, thus, it is not necessary to use much if any pressure to get them to adhere to one another. These cookies can be a bit fragile.