Chocolate Shortbread

chocolate-shortbreadThe possibilities of shortbread are endless; you can glaze it, fill it, flavor it with all manner of extracts and spices. This recipe for chocolate shortbread is an adaptation on one from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, also known as my new bible.

I used sweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder because that was all I could find at the store, but you can certainly order the unsweetened variety from King Arthur Flour online. Dutch-process cocoa powder is not the same as natural cocoa powder; it is a less acidic version, will yield a different taste, and won’t react with baking soda to create leavening. As such, recipes that use Dutch process cocoa usually rely on baking powder for leavening, so make sure you don’t use the two interchangeably. In this recipe, we don’t have to worry about a leavening agent, but I did scale back my sugar to adjust the sweetness. I’ve also begun weighing the flour in my shortbread recipes, so the measurements below are given in both weight and volume; I strongly recommend using a kitchen scale and weighing instead of measuring my volume.

These treats were quite popular in my office this week. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce (about 1/3 cup) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 7 1/4 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) flour


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla, then beat in cocoa powder and flour.

Divide dough into two 12-ounce portions and press each portion into the bottom of the cake pans, using the palm of your hand to flatten the dough as evenly as possible.

Bake for 32-35 minutes, until it appears done around the edges. Remove from oven and loosen the sides with a knife, then cool in pans for 5 minutes.

Carefully turn one shortbread round out onto a cutting board and cut into 16 wedges; place wedges on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the second round.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4-5 days. Makes 32 wedges.

Note: shortbread will break if you try to cut it once it’s cool, so you must cut the rounds into wedges while they’re still warm.


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