Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

Chocolate and peppermint make a great flavor pair. These chocolate peppermint shortbread cookies are an elegant-looking treat that’s very easy to make and great for holiday baking.

You can buy peppermint candy bits at most craft stores and dollar stores around the holidays, but if you can’t find them, simply get some of the traditional red and white “star mint” style peppermints and crush them yourself. Give the chocolate just a moment to start to set once you’ve dipped the cookies; this helps the crushed candies adhere better without sliding off once you’ve placed the cookies on your cooling sheet.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 8 ounces chocolate candy coating
  • About 3/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

Preparation

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.

Once cookies are cool, place crushed peppermints on a plate or in a shallow dish. Melt your chocolate coating in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring until smooth.

Working quickly, dip the wide edge of each wedge into the chocolate and gently shake off the excess; hold over the pan for about 20 seconds just to let the chocolate begin to set, then dip in crushed peppermints.

Place on waxed paper or parchment and allow to set completely before storing.

Makes 32.

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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Triple Chocolate Shortbread

triple-chocolate-shortbreadThis recipe was inspired by a cake that my friend Scott’s family has made for many years, an ultra-chocolatety confection involving chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, and chocolate ganache frosting. I worried at first that these treats would been too chocolatey (because yes, there is such a thing), but was assured by everyone who tried them that they were indeed delicious.

You could certainly use different kinds of chocolate or chocolate chips to dress up the shortbread itself, but according to Scott (a chocolate expert for sure), the semi-sweet glaze and miniature chips are just perfect. Make sure you sprinkle on your miniature chocolate chips immediately after you glaze each wedge so they stick.

Ingredients

For the chocolate shortbread

  • 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

For the glaze

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • About 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips, for sprinkling

Preparation

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. Allow wedges to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and shortening over low heat (or in the microwave), stirring until smooth.

Using a spoon, pour glaze over each wedge, then sprinkle on miniature chocolate chips. Place glazed wedges on parchment or waxed paper and allow to set completely before storing.

Store in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper 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.

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.