espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

In my mind, there are few higher callings in the baking world than cookies, and simply no higher cookie callings than shortbread, so I cannot think of a better place to start my Week-O-Cookies. They are firm enough to pack in a tin but manage to taste soft. Bites seem to dissipate in your mouth, but not so quickly that you feel you were shorted. They get better with age–and really, who doesn’t want that? And while I will never, ever (ever) complain about a plain one made with some of that Danish butter with sea salt flecks, I’m continually impressed by the myriad of ways shortbread can be adapted and still be as delicious as the original.

espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

Dorie Greenspan’s Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread are an awesome example of this, and were the first time I have had a coffee-flavored cookie that really, truly tasted first and foremost like coffee. The tiny chocolate bits are reminiscent of Everyone’s Favorite Dorie Cookie, the World Peace variety, but even cooler in this because they’re more contrasted to the cookie flavor.

espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

But here is where I tell you the secret that I hope will blow your mind, even though I haven’t tried it myself–yet. Toffee-Coffee. I mean, how amazing would that be? Specifically I’m thinking of one of my favorite readily-available toffee chocolate bar, Ghiradelli’s Toffee Interlude. And look at that–exactly the four ounces the recipe requires! I consider it a sign, kismet.

espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

Do tell me if you try the coffee-toffee combination. Though it’s hard for me to imagine these cookies getting any better, this might be their only chance. And every cookie deserves a chance, right?

espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

Smitten Kitchen Went to Aruba and All I Got Were These Lousy Cookies! Deb and Alex have flown the snowy, slushy and biting cold coop this week for warm, sandy island shores and countless tubes of SPF 50, so comment responses are going to be slow until they return. In our absence, we leave you with a Week of Cookies–this is recipe one of four.

One year ago: Zucchini Latkes

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

I have to admit that one of the coolest things about this is the rolling-in-a-bag technique. Why have I never thought of this before? This is a common refrain whenever I make Dorie recipes.

Makes 42 cookies

1 tablespoon (about 4 grams) instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse, sea or kosher salt
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla, espresso and salt, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.

3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.

7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

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262 comments on espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies

  1. I’m so glad you liked these shortbreads! I think it’s fun to have a coffee-flavored cookie to go with coffee – and a little chocolate never did anything but make things better, right. I’m loving the idea of coffee-toffee. Now I get to say what you said, “Why have I never thought of this before?”

  2. These look like the most amazingly delicious cookies ever! I remember having coffee cookies (without the chocolate) once in Hawaii, of all places. I still dream about them – they were so good. Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try these for the holidays!

    By the way, I love your blog. I especially like all your photos. So very beautiful…

  3. Oh, I know *just* the deployed soldier who would love these- and is therefore going to get a box of them (hopefully before New Year’s). Thank you so much for the recipe and photos!

  4. As I happened to have four rolls of Rolos in the back of a cupboard and a Saturday evening to myself when I read this, I am now in a position to confirm that chocolate-coffee-toffee shortbread is indeed a killer combination. (Also, some of the caramel in the Rolos sort of melts out of biscuits and puddles round them crispily.)

  5. The Dorie Greenspan book has been calling my name and YUP on impulse last night I scooped up my edition! YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry Martha Stewart BAKING, I found so many more recipes to try in this new book – even though I’ve owned BAKING WITH JULIA for years. I’ll be making many friends after I finish baking today!

  6. Judy

    OMG…I made these today with the Ghiradelli’s Toffee Interlude and I think these will always be on my xmas baking list!!! Of course they will be made through the rest of the year too!! As I am typing this we are expecting 25 cms. of snow so it is a great baking day.

  7. These look so delicious and the Toffee is a great idea. Which lead me to another thought. Ghirardelli Citrus Sunset. Because I love chocolate and orange and I used to drink Starbuck’s Mocha Valencia’s. These could be the cookie version of that drink…or it could be awful. Either way I’m going to try it. THANKS!

  8. Emily

    Hi – just wondering, as a non-coffee drinker (but mocha lover) — can I use instant coffee rather than espresso? Anyone know?

  9. lena

    i’m wondering, would this shortbread work with prepared coffee instead of instant espresso powder? granted, the coffee flavor would be less pronounced, but i’m just too lazy to go out and buy the espresso powder.

    by the way, the shortbread looks phenomenal! you take stunning pictures.

  10. I made these today with the Toffee Interlude bar and they are delicious! The toffee flavor is not quite as strong as I expected it to be, but they are awfully good nonetheless. Thanks for the fantastic suggestion.

  11. Deb, these are awesome! What is it about the texture of shortbread that makes it so irresistable. I didn’t have instant espresso powder, so I used 2T instant coffee and 1T water. I’ll have to try it sometime as written to see if I can tell a difference. My first batch of World Peace cookies are out of the oven in less than two minutes. You’re saving my baking butt this year. Wait! There’s the timer. Gotta run. . . .

  12. Michelle

    I just made these with instant coffee rather than the espresso powder. I’m not sure if it was that or the awful oven I used, but they turned out very dry and didn’t taste very strongly of coffee at all. They also weren’t very sweet. I’m sure this is a mistake on my end and not the recipe, but any suggestions?

  13. these sound as yummy as my Caramel Macchiatto shortbread…which I will post on my blog this week. If I procrastinate…which I do often…I can always save the shortbreads til the last week because they are so quick and easy. ‘course, it would just be easier to make them early and freeze them.!

  14. These look mouthwatering. Even my husband leaned over and drooled on the keyboard a little. As you said, I have never had a cookie that really tasted of coffee, although I do like to use coffee to boost a chocolatey flavor. The next time I have access to my full kitchen (I’m living in West Africa right now) I’m going to give these a try.

  15. I’ve been making espresso shortbread dipped in chocolate every holiday season for several years. But I think Dorie’s recipe trumps mine (when doesn’t it?), so I’m going to try this one. And it suddenly makes much more sense to me to put the chocolate bits into the cookie, rather than dipping them in chocolate — the tempering process is always a b*tch for me, although the appearance IS beautiful and dramatic. Anyway, thanks to both you and Dorie for this lovely recipe.

  16. Mrs. Emerald

    I wish I had checked this blog yesterday!! I just baked 3 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange at work, but I would have LOVED to make these instead!!

  17. sioux

    hope aruba is fantastic. nyc is wretched right now! you picked the perfect week to escape. quick question: where do you get instant espresso powder? i’m in nyc & usually shop at the big fairway at 125th street. do they have it? i made the shortbreads the other night & they’re great, but not very coffee-y, sinc ei just used a tbsp of regular old brewed espresso.the ratio must have been way off! they’re good…but i want them to be better!!!!

  18. leslie

    roll in a bag?!? that is pure genius – and would have been helpful last night when i made shortbread and could not make the edges of my rectangle straight… thanks deb and dorie!

  19. I’m not usually a big fan of shortbread but this post was perfectly timed to coincide with my planning a box of cookies to send to my husband’s family. I made the dough last night, left them in the fridge over night and baked them this morning. I tried one and I might be a shortbread convert!

  20. Rachelle

    These look and sound a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I think I’ll make them tonight and add a little finely grated orange zest to the dough and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar when they come out of the oven. Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee to me.

  21. clippyz

    I made these this weekend, and they look exactly like yours. I used the instant espresso (great to have on hand – also used in one of Dorie’s brownie recipes) and the coffee flavor is very pronounced. Along with the bittersweet chocolate, there is a definite strength to these that your average shortbread doesn’t have. I would probably prefer a slightly less intense chocolate next time, but I did make them to give away with her Brown Sugar Pecan shortbreads, and they compliment each other nicely. The Pecan shortbreads didn’t look nearly as nice, though.

  22. Martha

    I whipped these up last night and just baked them off this morning. Fabulous, easy cookie! I subbed real espresso (a double ristretto for a double batch) and caramelized cocoa nibs that I had been wondering what to do with.

    The coffee flavor was good, but could have been a bit stronger…I was worried about adding too much liquid to the dough, though. The nibs are the bomb! Mine don’t look as lovely as yours, but you’re the queen!

    Merry Christmas!

  23. Hi Deb. loved your piece on Culinate. I couldn´t agree more with everything. Except maybe the apron, I love to keep a perfectly ironed one to wear at dinner. Covers up so many shortcomings!

  24. MK

    Wow… I tried these, and .. wow.

    A second batch is just coming out of the oven now.. and I am truly amazed. Im not a baker. My friends poke fun at me, at just how awful a baker I am. I can cook.. but bake.. nope.

    So why was I tempted to try shortbread? Which Ive never attempted, because Ive been told its a finnicky recipe?

    The pictures were so tempting. And dark chocolate, and coffee???

    They turned out! Oh wow are they good. Thank you so much.. my friends are never going to believe I baked these.


  25. Deb, I made these yesterday and they were terrific. Thanks for the recipe! I’m always looking for reliable cookie recipes that don’t have leavening because of our high elevation. I added crushed cornflake crumbs as well. It’s awesome. You completely rock.

  26. Sally Rhodes

    Wow. I just made some yesterday- unbelievably delicious. They’re perfect for me, because I love the not-too-sweet-but-just-right desserts. Thanks for the recipe!

  27. deb

    dhyana rose — Yes, I think the powdered sugar contributes a lot to the delicate part. I think you could swap some for regular sugar, however I wouldn’t go too far with it because it might end up a little sticky or coarse without the powdered sugar (often contains some cornstarch) to act a bit the way flour does. Hm, I suppose that wasn’t the clearest explanation, but having not experimented with this recipe and mixed flours, I’m stabbing at a guess.

    Laurie — I love the Citrus Sunset bar as well–go for it! Personally, I wasn’t sure how the orange/espresso/chocolate would work together, but I’d love to hear if you liked it.

    Emily — I’m not sure how instant coffee would be more appealing to a non-coffee drinker that espresso would be, but I’m sure you could use it. It might have a weaker, or less pure flavor however, so I would try to find something better than Sanka, you know? Good luck.

    Michelle — I’m not sure what went wrong–mine weren’t overly dry, certainly no more dry than a regular shortbread and thought they are not cloyingly sweet, I certainly didn’t find them lacking in sugar so… your guess is as good as mine. Any more ideas of what may have happened? Perhaps I will be better at diagnosing if I learn more.

    sioux — I feel certain the big Fairway would have it, but I think we bought ours at the Whole Foods or Garden of Eden in Chelsea, which are closer to us. Still, I think I have even seen it in Gristedes! Good luck.

    lobstersquad — Thank you! I am duly impressed that you keep an apron ironed. I keep exactly nothing ironed, not that this should surprise anyone. ;)

  28. I made these for Christmas and they were a HUGE hit! Everyone loved them, and all of my aunts asked for the recipe, which is always the sign that they are not just being polite :) I’ve had terrible luck in the past with cookies that require rolling, but the ziplock bag made it a cinch. It was so nice to have a non-round cookie in the mix this year! Thank you!

  29. sioux

    fyi, deb, the big fairway did not have it, but the coffee guy ground up a dollar’s worth of espresso up for me superfine and said that would do as well. he said lots of people ask for it (perhaps you’re more powerful than you thought!). i haven’t tried it yet. i’ll let you know!

  30. i made these cookies just now and they are great! i used regular sugar, and they reallly do taste just like shortbread. i didnt have and couldnt find any instant espresso so i used 2 tablespoons of regular instant coffee and 1 tablespoon of boiling water. they turned out great!! one last thing, i didnt have a ruler so i couldnt really measure when rolling, i just rolled the dough out to fit the edges of the bag, which is a little bigger than you recommended. i got 20 cookies from the batch. thanks so much!

  31. Jessie Kropp

    I just made these and all I can say is that I had a hard time not eating the dough. This is an excellent recipe and is not very hard at all to make. The only things I add was Skor Toffee bits. This came in a package from Hershey’s. I used 2/4 cups mini chocolate chips and 1/4 cup toffee bits. Awesome is all I have to say.

  32. Ben

    I came across this recipe a few days ago. Figured Valentines would be a good day to give it a try. I also really enjoy toffee so I added 2 Skor bars and a bit of an extremely rich chocolate bar that has the little nibs in it, really adds a nice depth do them I think.

    Something else that would be good in these is broken chocolate covered espresso beans. Or just a hand full of nibs if you can find them.

  33. Bev

    I was looking for a coffee shortbread and google sent me here! I have just put the dough in the fridge, I didn’t have any bags but used cling film and it worked perfectly. Not sure if I will be able to leave the 2 days though, maybe a few hours…

  34. Lyra

    Deb, how did your cookies turn out such a nice shade of brown? Mine are pale as can be.

    I didn’t have mini morsels on hand, so instead I made the cookies plain, and gave them a half dip in melted chocolate. Still fantastic, and the cookie tin’s got this wonderful coffee aroma.

    At first I thought they were a tad too soft and delicate, but after nibbling a couple more, I have to say they’re starting to grow on me. Thanks for another great recipe! (And my labmates thank you too!)

  35. Tawnia

    I made this today and instead of espresso powder(I couldn’t find it anywhere local), I used 2 Tablespoons of instant coffee with one T of water. The flavor is wonderful and I was amazed at how easy the dough is to work with and they are wonderful.
    Thanks Deb

  36. MikeK

    I found the cookies nice, but a little bland. I made the recipe again, adding 1/4 tsp. salt, and they were much better.

  37. Aditi

    DELICIOUS! I’m no chef but these cookies were pretty easy to make. I made them with ground coffee and they were coffeeish enough – can’t imagine how incredible they would be with espresso. Excellent recipe. Quick question: how do I store them? And how long can they stay?

  38. Caroline

    These are delicious. They were one of the most popular on my cookie tray this Christmas! I believe I heard the word “addictive” a number of times. Thanks for the recipe and the beautiful pictures.

  39. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made as part of my Christmas baking this year, and WOW!!! I’m going to have to make these througout the year. Very rich and so easy. Of course, the quality of the chocolate is going to be a huge factor in the finished cookie, so I used Ghirardelli. I also added a dusting of powdered sugar on the finished cookies. Shortbread Bliss!

  40. Judy

    Wow! This is a great recipe! It’s easy and the technique of using the plastic bag for rolling and shaping is a useful trick that I will use for other shortbread recipes. It is an easy way to end up with a perfectly rectangular piece of dough for cutting. The cookies are delicious, the texture is wonderful. I made this for a party, post-New Years, and many guests raved about them! I will make them again for many other occasions. Thanks for the recipe!

  41. I recently made these for my sister’s birthday as she’s been staring at them for awhile. Like some commenters above, I wound up substituting for the instant espresso (used some coffee flavored liquor that was lying around), so will definitely have to try them the true way sometime soon. Regardless, they were DELICIOUS. I am obsessed with all of your shortbread varieties lately. Thanks!

  42. Jen

    I made these for Valentine’s Day–I cut them into heart shapes and then dipped half of each cookie in chocolate. They turned out really good. I love the coffee flavor-it’s amazing how such a small amount of coffee really adds to the cookies. The chocolate and espresso go so well together. Thanks!

  43. Jess-Dublin

    I think I’ll make these for a friend’s birthday. Is anyone else as excited about the Julia Child movie coming out in August? Meryl Streep playing Julia, how can it not be fantastic? I hadn’t even heard of it until today, and now I’ll be doing the dance of impatience for the next 3 months. That, and selecting my own cookbook to work through in a year!

  44. Jess-Dublin

    ok, they just came out of the oven, and the jury’s still out. the coffee flavour definitely came through, but i used 70% dark chocolate, so I don’t think there’s enough sweetness to counteract the coffee. i also forgot to pierce them with a fork, not sure how much that affects the texture in the end. Definitely an adult cookie.

  45. Sarah

    Amaaaaazing. This recipe totally utilized all of my senses. It smells soooo delicious from start to finish. First when you’re making the batter and mixing in the espresso – not to mention the beautiful colors you get as the espresso swirls in with the sugar. I left the dough in overnight and I could not wait to get home from work today to throw it in the oven. My place still has the lingering aroma of espresso. I thought it was the perfect balance between espresso and chocolate – two of my most favorite things in the world. Also, trust the 20 min/very pale comment in the original recipe. I was a bit concerned with the first batch and baked a little longer. Still tastes good, but with the second batch, I took it out after 20 min. Still looked a little undercooked, but it wasn’t and tasted much better than the first. Maybe a litte lighter…? Can’t really describe it, but there was a difference. This is definitely going in my arsenal of baked goods. Thanks!!

  46. Larry

    I made 4 pans of this and the only modification I made was to coat the top with vanilla sugar before baking. Tons of people are asking me for the recipe…but…bakers perogative…..Family Secret……Seriously…This is one fine recipe.

  47. I have to add to the chorus of appreciation here. Sent my boyfriend off on tour with a bag of these, and I fully expect to win the “best band girlfriend” award. :)

  48. Ryan

    Well, I made the recipe, but instead of instant espresso, used instant coffee.
    However, I only used 1 tablespoon instant to 1 tablespoon water.

    They came out good, but they don’t taste of coffee at all. Just shortbread.
    Next time I’ll have to go with the espresso.

  49. Kimberly

    Thanks for another great recipe! I used instant coffee since I did not have espresso powder on hand. However, I used 2 tablespoons of coffee to the 1 tablespoon water. My apartment smells like a coffee shop : ) I can’t wait to try with toffee chocolate or orange chocolate. These are definitely going on the list of cookies I will be sending out for Christmas.

  50. Liz

    This is an uberlate (and probably unnoticed) comment but beyond the fact I LOVE LOVE LOVE the flavor combination of these cookies and whole-heartedly advise that they be eaten immidiately for the sake of avoiding tastebud torture, one should note the amazing ability of these cookies to bloom with even more espresso flavor as time passes. I swoon. Hard.

  51. Katie

    I just pulled these out of the oven (and, with the help of my sister and our roommate, have already put a dent in the delicious things) and they are awesome! I totally recommend the powdered sugar which just ups the whole coffee-mocha flavoring. I used 2T of instant coffee instead of espresso (all grocery stores defeated me in finding some) and found the taste–not to mention smell while baking–glorious!

    Thank you, Deb! Can’t wait to make World Peace cookies next to use up the rest of my mini semi-sweet chips. Oh, such a tragedy… ;-)

  52. shannon

    I made these this weekend and they turned out great. They are so quick and easy to prepare and have a lot of flavor. I think the espresso flavor seems stronger after storing them for a day or so.

    One question – what’s the purpose of poking them with a fork? Is it just so they look pretty or does it actually affect the way they cook?


  53. For those that don’t have (or want to buy) espresso powder, the iced coffee concentrate on this site works wonderfully. I made these today with it (I keep a jar in my fridge) and the cookies turned out perfect.

  54. Emily

    I agree with Liz — the flavor of these actually deepens and improves on Day 2! I’m thinking I might make a batch with a pinch of cinnamon, and bill them as cappuccino shortbread cookies. My only note is that these are really very barely sweet… Particularly given the intensity of the coffee flavor, I think next time I’ll up the powdered sugar a little, maybe to just around 3/4 of a cup…

    Thanks for the recipe!

  55. angela

    This might be a silly question, but is the confectioners’ sugar sifted before the 2/3 cup is measured out? I know the directions don’t say anything about sifting, but measuring unsifted powdered sugar seems a little sketchy (or maybe my sugar is just abnormally lumpy).

  56. where_wear

    i bake for 20mins but the texture is not crispy, so i bake for 3 more mins with 180C for the desire result! and i add 2 Tsp of coffee powder. i think we can add hazelnut powder in this recipe too!!

  57. GINA

    Easy recipe! Not only do they smell delicious, they taste delicious! What could be better than a shortbread cookie with espresso in it!

  58. I made these cookies for my dad, who is currently in Afghanistan.. I searched and searched for something that I thought would travel well and these were exactly it! They smelled amazing in my small apartment and I just had to try one before I sent them out.. delicious!! :)

  59. kari

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked forever and finally made the cookies two nights ago. They were great, but I think that next time I make these, I’ll do like commenter 57 did and add 1/4 teaspoon salt or so. I found a similar recipe online that used 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, so I’m going to work within that range and see what some added zing does. Has anyone else tried adding salt?

  60. c

    Yeah, I think salt is a must. I was lusting after this cookie for a while and finally made a batch yesterday, but I found the overall flavor a little disappointing. The chocolate is there, the espresso is there, but they need a boost together.

  61. Alison

    Yum I am eating these now! I used salted butter since that is what I had. They are TDF! Though toffee crunch pieces would be a great addition as you suggested.

    Thanks for your blog Deb.

  62. I just made these but I couldn’t find espresso powder like some of the other people who left comments.

    I wanted to keep the coffee taste so I added 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee powder to one tablespoon boiling water.

    It worked really well, the coffee taste is not at all overpowered by the chocolate

  63. SB

    I also just made these and they are delicious! I added a handful of those Nestle skor toffee bits to the mix and it really compliments the cookie!

  64. Chai Shortbread!!

    i tried this recipe, however i had no espresso or even coffee on hand! however, i did have instant chai powder. i added two heaping tablespoons and oh man, it’s delicious. it’d probably be better if i used a home made chai spice, but that’s for another day :)

    1. deb

      Juliet — I am unfamiliar with them but they circulate heat evenly, yes? So then probably not. That said, I always rotate pans. Seems better safe than sorry.

  65. I didn’t have espresso powder or powdered sugar so i used organic granulated sugar, 1T vanilla, 1/2t almond extract. I added heath bar bits in with the chocolate morsels. YUMMY! it’s so good!

  66. Potto

    I tried this recipe and my shortbreads were too crumble, falling apart. After a few minutes, they started melting… But it is my fault !
    I thought that 1 cup of flour = 125g. I’ve seen many websites which gives the equivalent from cups to grams and they differentiate between powders (icing sugar, flour) and other stuff (ex choco chips):
    So 1 cup of choco chips would be 235 g whereas 1 cup of flour would be 125g. It’s very misleading. Here, I should have used 235 g and my shortbread would be perfect (the taste was really nice). Thank you for this recip, I will try again soon!

  67. val

    hi! i tried this recipe just now..but my cookies turned out to be too crumbly…i shifted the flour, and i only chilled the dough for 30 minutes..would that affect the texture of the shortbread?

    how’s it suppose to turn out anyway? I really wanted to improve on this:) Thanks for posting this recipe anyway! :)

  68. Potto

    Hi Val
    Maybe you have mixed the dough too much after adding the flour?
    I tried the recipe again, without making the mistake I made the first time and they were delicious. Thank you Deb!

  69. blondie

    Made the these today…really pretty but felt like something was missing. Used 2OZ bittersweet chocolate & 2OZ of heath pieces….maybe salt? Texture was perfect though! I’ll try it again soon!!!

  70. kcsnedah

    Making these tonight with Heath toffee and chocolate bits. They’re for a cookie exchange tomorrow so I’m hoping for the best! They look ridiculously good. :)

  71. B

    These look great — I’m not sure I can wait two days to pop these in the oven!

    Also, sorry for being such a nerd, but the yield you’ve listed looks incorrect to me. A 9″ x 10.5″ block cut into 1.5″ x 1.5″ squares would make 42, not 32 cookies.

    I guess this means more cookies for my friends!

  72. I made these last night to take to dinner at a friend’s house–they turned out great! I, too, added some salt, maybe about a teaspoon, and felt that it was justified. This is a rare cookie where the end product tastes much better than the dough.

    A note to others who might be as dumb as me: I used full-size Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and they were too big. They made cutting the little squares a bit tricky. (In my defense, the bag was opaque, and they FELT smaller in the store…?). Next time I’ll look for minis or break up a bar. It didn’t affect the delicious taste, though!

    1. deb

      Sara — I’ve done that so many times with those Ghiradelli chips. You think they’d come with a “these are very big inside!” warning. Next time, just chop them up more on a cutting board. Mixed size pieces are fine.

  73. cin

    I just made these last night for my office. TOTAL HIT!!!! I added 1/4 tsp. of salt as other suggested. I baked in my oven 18 minutes, rotating at 9 minutes. Just FYI — when you take them out, they will be a bit soft. It is after they cool that they are absolutely perfect and have that great shortbread texture.

  74. These were just so delicious! And surprisingly easy, too. I’ve always been afraid to make shortbread, but these weren’t hard to make and they tasted wonderful! I filled up two sandwich bags and flattened the dough with a book, as I don’t own a rolling pin yet. It worked, though. And that’s all that really matters in the end.

    I’m going to give these as gifts a few times this year. Stuck on a very tight budget for the foreseeable, so delicious cookies are a perfect replacement for bought gifts.

  75. Wendy

    These were easy to make and look just like the picture. I have instant espresso somewhere in the freezer (where I keep it for freshness) but couldn’t find it. I used the Starbucks Instant Italian Roast. One Tablespoon is three of the Starbucks packets. The cookies came out bitter. Good initial flavor (I also used Heath Bar bits) but a bitter aftertaste. I will definately try this again but will either find my espresso powder or cut back on the Starbucks powder.

  76. I made these today with the large, oversized Ghiradelli chips. I ran the chips through my manual nut grinder and it made the chocolate nice and finely chopped. Looks just like your photo. Maybe a good tip to save time and not as much clean up as chopping on a board.

  77. rosie brown

    hi there
    i have just made this but my dough looks much stickier than yours – more of a paste- hopefully it will firm up in the fridge but thinking i need to add more flour?
    What do you think?
    smells and tastes amazing!

  78. Deborah

    For others like me who keep neither instant coffee or specialty items like instant espresso on hand but always, always have espresso lying around, I tried making my own espresso powder for these cookies by grinding up already brewed grounds, based on the guidelines posted here: I have to admit, I was skeptical. I used a mortar and pestle to make the grounds into as fine a powder as I could, but they didn’t totally dissolve into the water, leaving me with espresso-like sludge. Still, I figured if I was that far into the recipe I might as well forge ahead, and I’m glad I did. I just made a test batch and the cookies came out quite nicely, with a delicate, sophisticated flavor – less of a bold coffee punch than I had anticipated based on the descriptions above, but still perfect for my upcoming cookies-and-cocktails party this weekend. I’d like to try it again with the real espresso powder to see the taste difference, but in a pinch, I think this is a decent solution.

  79. amy

    You know, I’ve made coffee-flavored sweets a lot of times, always with instant coffee, and I always love them but my black-coffee-loving hubby never can taste the coffee. I was hopeful he would love these, based on the description “the first time I have had a coffee-flavored cookie that really, truly tasted first and foremost like coffee.” I also bought real espresso powder. But…I still didn’t think the coffee flavor was very strong at all. They were excellent, definitely–but mostly we just taste the chocolate, with barely a hint of coffee.

  80. RainyCityGirl

    I know that this is crazy commenting on a recipe that is 4 years old, but I am hoping you want to hear my experience.
    This was hands down the best shortbread ever. My mom and I licked the bowl clean and wondered if it even needed baking. I love the texture, the subtle sweetness and most of all–the coffee flavor. We baked a batch to thank a friend for a gift he brought us back- but after my husband tastes these, (good manners be damned) we will polish these off before the weeken’s up. I seriously need to double/ triple this recipe for next time.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I am baking your tiramisu cake (sans alcholol..I know how absurd that sounds) for my coffee- loving husband’s birthday. I will let you know how that goes. Good luck with completing your book (as a procrastinator not that your are one, I know how crucial the last month of a project is), I cannot wait to pre-order it.

  81. Caitie

    I have read a few people on here say that they don’t like espresso, but they like the mochas & caramel macchiato at Starbucks.
    These drinks are made with espresso. The only drink besides regular brewed coffee that uses coffee is an Americano & a Misto.
    (I am a barista and a baker)

    Just thought I’d clear that up :) this recipe calls for espresso because it has a stronger, delicious flavor that will come through with baking. Try it! Most of you have been drinking espresso this whole time, unaware ;)

    great recipe, thanks!

  82. Caroline

    I just made these tonight and it seems like something is missing. I didn’t add salt (should have read all the reviews?) and there’s something.. hrm.. off. I dunno. Maybe I made them a bit too thin? I didn’t have any bags so I rolled them out after the dough had chilled. I’m sending them to my bf in Afghanistan, and I know he’ll appreciate them no matter what, but I was still slightly disappointed after so many good reviews.

    I also made the chewy oatmeal raisin tonight for shipping and they turned out fab!


  83. Debra

    I made these for a friend’s birthday and they were such a huge hit I’m getting more birthday cookie requests! What do you think about rolling the dough into a log and cutting the cookies from there?

  84. I just made these and I think I’m in love. That ziploc idea…it’s genius! Especially compared to the huge mess I made with gingerbread the other week.

  85. Danni

    I just found your site and made these cookies. They are hands down the best shortbread I’ve had and I’ve been baking for a lot of years. Taking these to a party tonight with lots of Starbucks employees attending and I know they will be a huge hit. Thank you, thank you!

  86. I made these a few days – everyone loved them! Just a note that my dough was not stickey at all but still turned out perfectly! I also have a bag of toffee bits and plan to try them in the recipe this weekend.

  87. Joy in DC

    With only one stick of butter left in my fridge, I whipped these up as a half-batch (halving everything in the recipe, of course) and used the slice-and-bake method (vs. the roll-out-in-a-bag method). It worked well, although the mini chocolate chips I used sometimes crumbled out in the slicing (no biggie with a bit of reshaping). Thanks for the recipe!

  88. jori

    I’ve now made my third batch of these in less than 10 days. Hungry over-worked medical residents? Loved them. Holiday party with friends? Gone in record-time (after freezing a baked batch and thawing them in the fridge overnight… tasted like fresh-baked). And now? A brand-new batch wrapped up and ready to go to Chicago for a chocolate-and-coffee-addicted father-in-law. Amazing!!!

  89. michelle

    I couldn’t find instant espresso, so I used real espresso but only used half. The cookies definitely needed to have more coffee taste. Next time I will try the full tablespoon. Otherwise they were very delish

  90. Kimberley

    Hello, long time lurker and baker, first time comment-maker.
    Oh my, these were delicious! I’m still working on my finesse in the kitchen when it comes to making things look pretty and perfectly consistent like yours but the flavour was amazing even though I changed it up a little by using fresh espresso and not instant.
    Thank you!

  91. Penny

    Hello all, I’m new to this site and am already in love! I have used empty frozen juice containers to put refrigerator dough in, they also freeze well that way. When you’re ready to use, just use a can opener on the unopened end and push the dough out into perfectly even rounds to slice as thick as you like! I have a friend that saves me the cans from her daycare (they go through a lot) so I can have several varieties on hand for that unexpected occasion!

    It’s my first time commenting, so I hope it was helpful as an option (they stack well too!)

  92. Danyelle

    Would 2 tablespoons of instant coffee be an acceptable substitute for the espresso powder? Also, do you think these cookies would ship well in this summer heat? I very much enjoy your blog and can’t wait to bake these!

    1. deb

      You can use instant coffee; it’s just a little less strong. They should ship well because they’re shortbread and keep fairly well.

  93. Amanda

    I know this may sound silly, but I have an espresso maker at home, could I just use real espresso made from fresh ground espresso beans?

  94. Erin

    I have made these several times as instructed, but I just made a new batch with Deb’s shortbread base (leave out espresso and chocolate chips) and add one tablespoon lemon zest and some chopped “lemon balm” I got at the farmers market. It looks like mint but is very lemony tasting. Not sure how much the herb added to the lemon flavor but the green specks look nice!

  95. Peggy

    Loved the flavor and texture of these. wasn’t sure that instant espresso was the same as espresso powder, but clearly it was just right.

  96. Jenna

    I made these before last Christmas. I have never heard of espresso powder until I saw this recipe and I unfortunately couldn’t find any. Instead I used Alessi espresso grinds and these were heavenly!!!! Personally I would have preferred Illy espresso because I’m an addict, but I couldn’t get any in time. Everyone loved these! Thanks for sharing.

  97. Jane

    Just finished making these with Rum instead of vanilla – but a bit more than 1 tsp;) and the toffee bar (which has since been changed to 3.5 oz the cheats!). Looking forward to trying them tomorrow, but the batter sure tasted good!

  98. Dira

    I’ve just attempted this recipe! But I ended up with semi-crumbly dough instead of soft and sticky so I’m a bit worried. I did have to convert the measurements to metric so maybe I messed it up somewhere there. It’s only been sitting in the fridge for about half an hour and I don’t plan to bake it till Monday (it’s Saturday evening where I am). My fingers are crossed. It does smell divine, though.

  99. I made this recipe last night. It came out very good. I wasnt sure how I felt about it when it first came out of the oven but once it cooled/hardened over night and I had it with some tea today… I really enjoyed them. I would make two changes next time… I used 60% cocoa ghiardelli chocolate— it was a bit TOO bitter…next time I would use semisweet. Also the cookies need salt… I will add about a/14 tsp next time. Ithink with these changes next time they will turn out even better. Good recipe!

  100. Eliza

    LOVE them! I rolled the dough into a log, then chilled it, so I could slice and bake. It worked perfectly. I think I might try it again but without the chocolate chips. Also, if you can resist, let them cool first. They’re even better when completely cool, but we had a crowd and munched them all warm. Thanks!

  101. diane

    I’ve never made a shortbread cookie before but I had to try this one! I substituted the espresso with coffee flavoring, which is probably why the coffee is just a whisper of flavor. but I did throw in a hand full each of chocolate and toffee and its a very yummy combo. are Shortbread cookies supposed to be so crunchy? I did them for 18 minutes and they’re definitely the crunchiest cookies I’ve made.

  102. Becci

    Does anyone have the metric measurements for these?

    I know that European and American cup sizes differ (and I have no idea which my set are!) and it seems that every conversion site gives me a different value!

  103. Nellie

    I’m not a shortbread cookie person but when I saw this recipe, I just knew I had to make this over the weekend for family and friends. They were so much fun to make and a major hit! Even though I ate 4 of them myself, I still haven’t a clue as to what a true shortbread cookie is supposed to taste like but everyone else who ate them, LOVED them and said they were perfect shortbread cookies!

  104. So I was searching for a new ice cream recipe to make for tomorrow’s Labor Day BBQ and found your Butterscotch Ice Cream (Done. In the freezer…delicious!) and when I read the line about Espresso Shortbread Cookies, I had to look (I pretty much love any cookie that comes from you and/or Dorie!) I wasn’t planning on baking cookies, but I did. These are SO good! So coffee-y and I love the bittersweet chocolate in them. The only thing I’d do differently (and only because I can’t cut a straight line to save my life, or, apparently, roll out dough into a nice even-edged rectangle) is roll them into logs and slice (World Peace and Margarita cookie-style). Can’t wait to serve them with the ice cream tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a few left! Thanks Deb.

  105. Andrea

    I made these yesterday for my Christmas cookie selection – and they are a great addition! As per your on-going question of putting chocolate with toffee pieces in them — how about this discovery… Along with the 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate, I also chopped up about a 1/3 c of your coffee toffee (made last week for the cookie selection). So good with its layers of coffee deliciousness. Thanks Deb for another great recipe!

  106. Kris

    Just tasted one out of the oven – delicious. I used instant coffee and I found the coffee flavour was there, but would definitely be better with espresso. My dough was nice and firm after an hour in the fridge so I used it from there! Just waiting for them to cool now so I can add them to a cookie box for a friend’s Christmas party!

  107. Dona

    Lovely finger smacking recipes !!! My fav pastime is now to make all the cookie recipes ! Just a small request.. plz give metric measurements and KEEP POSTING MORE YUMMILICIOUS recipes !

    From an ardent Gastronomie fan :)

  108. christine

    I have loved these cookies for a very long time. This Passover, confronted with more terrible dessert options, I decided to swap out the flour in this with matzoh cake meal. Why not? And it worked. The texture was different: soft and almost sandy. But the taste was great which means we almost forgot it was a Passover dessert. Thanks!

  109. Kathryn

    Delicious and so easy! Made them vegan for a friend by using dairy free 70% chocolate and margarine and they were a hit with everyone- including the non-vegans!

  110. Golda

    I made these last night and they are awesome! I like that you can really taste the coffee flavor. Question for more experienced cookie bakers – do you think these would work with peppermint flavor added? I have a friend who loves peppermint mochas and I would love to give these to her as a gift, but I’m a little concerned with there being too many flavors going on in there. Thoughts?

  111. Ati

    Just asking, would be different IF I didn’t keep the dough into ziplock for 2 hrs? Is okay if after I’ve combined all ingredients become dough and then straight bake into the oven?

    1. deb

      Ati — The chilling helps you roll it out. If it’s not chilled, it’s hard to roll and cut shapes with. The cookies tend to spread more, too. If you’re in a rush, try doing the ziplock step, but in the freezer or 20 to 30 minutes.

  112. Leah

    I made these last week with Deb’s toffee recipe from the cookbook – omitted the espresso in the toffee (because I thought it might be too much), chopped up the candy, and added it in place of the chocolate chips. It was really yummy. I should add that this is shortbread for the true fan: it has that classic crisp, sandy texture, not the creaminess of a sugar cookie. I think they’d be lovely dipped in a mug of hot chocolate. They also freeze beautifully.

  113. Alice

    I make these often! One of my favorite recipes. At first they scared people away because they look like chocolate chip but are not as sweet, but my friends have come to love them as much as I do! Thanks for all your amazing recipes.

  114. Liz

    I concur with other commenters that these are good but ABSOLUTELY need salt! I added 1/4 tsp. of table salt. Also, Deb, could you please list weights? You have converted me to the kitchen scale, and I hate baking without it now :)

  115. zoe

    I made these as thank you gifts for my college professors–they were a huge hit! A small stack of them is the perfect little treat. I didn’t add salt in with the batter, but after refrigerating I sprinkled coarsely ground sea salt on the bottoms, which made for a nice little zing.

  116. Reshma

    I made the Coffee-Toffee version for a Cookies and Cocoa party this past weekend. I didn’t have enough coffee-toffee, so I added in chopped chocolate as well. I must say, the plain chocolate was much better than the toffee. For some reason, the Ghirardelli Toffee Indulgence got completely lost in the cookie.
    The other thing I felt is that this cookie is desperately lacking an egg! It tastes a little bit too much like flour/cornstarch, and I feel an egg- or even just an egg yolk- would add some moisture. I may try a combo of this recipe with Mark Bittman’s absolutely freakin’ fantastic shortbread cookie in the future….or maybe persuade you to?? (

  117. Dianne

    I made these for a cookie swap a few days ago! I added a generous amount of toffe Heath Bar bits and extra mini dark chocolate chips. I also sprinkled a touch of Heath bits and chocolate chips on top. I used a little extra course sea salt as well to compliment the toffee bits. They are delicious and come out looking just as pictured. Everyone who has had one has loved them, they are definitely something different to add to your holiday cookie tray!

    1. deb

      Tracy — Do you mean as drop cookies? No, I don’t think they’re the right kind. But, the rolling could not be easier with the bag technique; it’s impossible to mess up.

  118. Kate

    I swear, I’m not an incompetent baker — but perhaps shortbread challenged? I’ve recently tried a couple of shortbread recipes, and though the flavor was awesome, I could not get either dough to come together. It crumbled to bits no matter what I did. Both times I ended up adding a hit of milk to get the dough to stick. I have been hand mixing because I don’t have a stand mixer — could that be the problem? Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes! I love your site!

  119. Yes, Deb – I usually prefer recipes where I can just scoop up a ball, roll it in my hands and then squish it down a bit! Very technical baking terms, you’ll see! :) Okay, I will be brave, and try to roll them!

  120. Deb – I tried it (I am an obstinate old goat!) and they were delicious! I am just about to put them on my blog – you are so right, the coffee gives them the most amazing taste! Thanks for sharing your recipe – it is fab (even if they aren’t square!)

  121. Daniela

    Everyone loved these cookies, delicate and delicious. They are definitely more fragile than a normal shortbread, as the thinness does not leave them as durable as a regular shortbread. I used half mini chocolate chips and half toffee bits (Heath-not covered in chocolate), which tasted great. Perhaps I missed something, but I don’t think the recipe tells one when to add the salt! Eighteen minutes was perfect, left them tender yet firm. I would not hesitate to make these again, perhaps a little thicker the next time.

  122. Martina

    Hey Smitten Kitchen,
    This recipe is delish but the one thing I am confused about is the salt. It lists salt in the ingredients but never does it say to add it in the recipe. I just wanted to know when to add it because I am sure it is required.
    Thanks a lot,

  123. jennie

    I’ve been making these for several years now and finally decided to share with you how much I absolutely adore these cookies. My dad requests them every year for his birthday.

  124. Amy

    I had a freezer full of butter (not that this is a bad thing) I needed to use so I’m doing a study of shortbread. These are definitely in the big win category! Lovely and delicate and oh the aroma of warm buttery coffee chocolate in my kitchen…YUM!

  125. Sarafina

    I just made these for teachers who wrote me letters of rec and they are incredible! Not too sweet and the coffee flavor really comes through. Some of the best cookies I’ve made in a long time, thanks so much!

  126. Sarah

    While I have been a long-time SK reader, it really bothers me that this recipe is considered an “adaptation” of Dorie Greenspan’s cookies. The only difference in ingredients is the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Really? I hardly consider that an adaptation considering it doesn’t alter the flavor profile in a significant way. I love that popular blogs have the ability to share recipes with the world that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, but please, just say you are sharing Dorie’s recipe and forget the whole “adapted from” bit. Most of the recipe is even regurgitated verbatim! Dorie’s recipe is a true adaptation of traditional shortbread. None of us are reinventing the wheel (not even Dorie), but the least you can do is admit salt does not a transformation make.

  127. Lynne Beauprez

    I just baked them with a Lindt dark chocolate caramel (really toffee bits) sea salt bar and it’s delish! I also dipped the sides of a few in melted chocolate for those that like chocolate to stand out more than coffee. A great birthday gift for a good friend!

  128. Mel

    I just made these with a Nespresso pod (ristretto to be precise) put coffee straight into dough and just a few drops of water to bring together rather than the TBSP. also Lindt arabica chocolate worked an absolute treat! Thanks Deb 😀 Going into cookie jars along with your slice and bake lemon poppyseed cookies and cranberry and white choc biscotti and honey angels (recipes sourced elsewhere) for my daughter’s kindergarten teachers.

  129. Kat

    I just made these for teacher gifts!
    In response to a comment that they were quite ‘light and fragile’, I used half confectioners sugar and half what Australians call caster sugar (white sugar, ground finely, but not as fine as confectioners. It’s still in small granules, like fine sand).
    I also added 1/4 cup rice flour, to give it that slightly gritty bite that I love in shortbread.
    It’s worked beautifully! The roll in bag idea made it all very easy! My dough must have been a bit thicker as I only got 30 cookies…so I’ll have to make another batch. Or two.

    1. Kat

      I tried to package these up into cello bags for gifting, but they are too crumbly and broke up. They are super delicious, but be aware they are not great for gifting unless you have tins or jars to put them in. I’m off to the archives to find me s sturdier cookie…

  130. Donna

    Followed this recipe as written, but used half bittersweet and half Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Caramel squares, chopped. I doubled the recipe.
    I found when I tried to push the fork through each unbaked cookie, due to the pieces of chopped chocolate the cookie would start to break, so I just pushed through the top. I did chop the chocolate well, but might be better and easier to chop the chocolate finely in a food processor. It smelled yummy and like coffee while baking, but some said they didn’t taste the coffee. I thought the shortbread itself was slightly pasty as if there was just a bit too much flour. Maybe next time would sift the flour before measure. They also could be sweeter and would benefit from a sprinkle of the sugar on top. I loved the baked caramel pieces in it and would add more or try the toffee next time. Might do well with an end dipped in chocolate. I will try one more time in case there was an error in my measuring, but due to the shortbread itself, not a ‘wow’ for me.

    1. Donna

      UPDATE: I am amending my review. These do taste much better after a few days. One batch was slightly overdone giving pasty texure. Others were fine. Love just the hint of chocolate. Not too sweet or heavy. The choc/caramel makes this shortbread. Great coffee smell/ flavour. One of my favorites of the many Christmas treats I made this year. Thanks.

  131. I made these exactly to the recipe and they turned out perfectly – buttery and not too sweet, with a hint of coffee and some great chocolateyness. Mmmmmm. I thought about bringing them to the office but they didn’t make it.

  132. Sam

    How long do you think I can leave the refirgerated dough in the Ziploc before baking? We have a holiday party in three days, but I have time tonight to pre-make the dough!


  133. Ruth

    I’ve made these for my cookie trays for at least 4 years. Unexpectedly out of instant espresso powder, I used two shots of straight espresso from our home machine. Perfect! I’ve been annoyed that my 2-tined fork pricks fill in when baking; looking at the photo, finally, I see Deb used. 4-tined fork. Problem resolved. But why??

  134. Abby

    I’m pretty sure that everything that went wrong with these was my fault. That being said, I would definitely recommend against using regular sized chocolate chips. It makes it almost impossible to get the fork through the cookies. Mine also spread a bit so the edges taste a little burnt. This is probably because I was using an oven I’m not familiar with and I don’t think the temp was spot on. And having gone the chocolate route I’m pretty sure the toffee would have been a better option. But they were really easy and smelled amazing in the oven so it would be worth trying again!

  135. Wendy

    I have found that a pizza cutter works very well for cutting these cookies. I line up a straight edge and then cut through from top to bottom, turn around and mark the other direction and do the same. Works so much better than any knife.

  136. Really love this recipe and it’s so simple that I’ve committed it to memory: 1-2-3, i.e., 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 sticks of butter, and 3 cups flour (along w dash of salt, vanilla extract, coffee and chocolate chips)

    In any case, I made these cookies a couple of weeks ago for my husband to take to school. The faculty loved them so much that someone asked that I not make them again–not any time soon, anyway. I had packed about 3 dozen or so, and by the day’s end they were gone!

  137. Patricia

    Have made these twice. I am not a fan of toffee, so the first time they were missing that ‘zing’. Sooo…the second time, I used TJ dark chocolate covered espresso beans to replace half of the chocolate. Wow – the espresso flavor really popped and the beans gave a tiny bit of crunch.

    So, if you are not a toffee lover, this might be one way to add ‘zing’

  138. Katie

    Sharing these with my fellow grad student friends… because grad students need and love coffee and chocolate. I did find the toffee chocolate and it just so happens that when I want to treat myself to a flavor pump at the coffee shop, I pick toffee nut for my latte… so I love coffee toffee!

    1. deb

      Sorry for the delayed response on this; I suppose with decaf espresso but in general, I don’t even bother with coffee-flavored stuff with kids.

  139. I made these ages ago and am making them again this weekend for Mother’s Day for my mother in law. I was looking at the comments and saw a lot people said the shortbread isn’t very sweet. There really isn’t an awful lot of sugar in this recipe so you can’t expect it to be on the sweet side, plus I find shortbread isn’t usually sweet anyway. Unless you cover it in granulated sugar just after baking of course. In my experience shortbreads focus more on texture and the buttery taste than anything else. Anyway, I love this recipe; the coffee flavour just comes through and the biscuit gets better with age.

  140. Sara

    Found my way over here by way of the butterscotch ice cream recipe. When I realized I had all the ingredients for these delights in my pantry, I first thanked my lucky stars I could be called a food hoarder, and then got the butter out to come to room temp. I haven’t quite baked them yet (still chilling in the fridge–it’s summer in the south, so I might wait the full day or two so they’re super cold). I did just lick the spatula clean, and maybe the bowl too. This is some of the best cookie dough I have ever eaten! This will be the first batch of shortbread cookies I’ve made, but I can’t wait.
    I used an assortment of chocolates–dark chocolate with espresso beans, baking chocolate and a hazelnut truffle bar. Coffee, butter, chocolate, what’s not to like. Deb, you’re my culinary hero!

  141. Claire

    18 minutes was way too long a cooking time, and I usually don’t find that my oven runs hot. The texture was off on the first batch because of this. I found 14 minutes was about perfect. Make sure to check them before the 18 minute mark!

  142. Jamie

    This is such a great shortbread recipe! I don’t like coffee so I made chocolate pistachio earlier this week and have some pecan shortbread dough chilling in the fridge. I tried and failed at making shortbread before but this one is super simple and delicious.

  143. My grocery store doesn’t carry instant espresso. I made very strong espresso (in my Aeropress) and put 2T into the dough in place of the instant espresso mixture. Coffee flavor is great – just there, but not overpowering!

  144. Last night, I made made four different types of Christmas, AKA Holiday, cookies, one of which was the espresso chocolate shortbread cookies. I took your suggestion and used the Ghiradelli Toffee Interlude bar instead of the ho-hum chocolate bar! They came out well — a bit thin, but still with that buttery shortbread ‘bite’ BUT I wonder if the toffee made them a bit too sweet? The cookie now has a mocha-toffee vibe, which is good, but I feel like I would have preferred to go the buttery shortbread —> espresso —>toffee route. Maybe half and half is the solution? Will dabble. Happy Holidays! Love, a LONG STANDING SK addict.

  145. Jess

    I replaced half of the chocolate with chopped dark chocolate-covered espresso beans and they were divine! Thanks for the recipe, I will definitely make these again!

  146. mindy swagel

    Hi there. I just made these after seeing it pop up in the blog. I was able to taste the espresso in the uncooked dough but not so much in the finished cookies. For astronger espresso flavor, how much more espresso would I need to add, and how much water would you dissolve it in? Thanks so much.

    Btw, 💜ed you at your JCCSF talk. It was a thrill to see and hear you in perdon

  147. Felicity

    These are amazing!!! I have made them 3 times since you shared this recipe on facebook sometime in December. I really thought your idea of doing the toffee-coffee was an awesome idea. I looked in 3 stores and could not find the toffee interlude bar, so I picked up another toffee bar, only to find out once I got home that it was a milk chocolate toffee bar. I used it, turned out delicous! I am thinking it probably made the end result a little sweeter, but I was ok with that! The second time I made them I used the same milk chocolate bar. The third time I made these I used a combination of toffee, milk, dark, and esspresso chocolate bars (i needed 8oz. because I made a double batch 😜) and they were even better than the first two times! I did skip the rolling in a bag the third time because of the huge amount of dough. I just formed into a 1.5in square log and wrapped it in plastic wrap, then once they were cold I sliced them in 1/4” slices, it worked great! I am excited to make a coffee extract from scratch and possibly try that when I make these again! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  148. Phyllis G Davis

    Would you consider using “coffee flour” in your recipe, substituting it for some of the regular flour??

    1. deb

      I am not keen on swapping more than, say, a tablespoon, of a flour like that with all-purpose in something as structural as a shortbread without more testing. I’d start low and err on the safe side.

  149. Karolina

    I love the fact that you go through the trouble of converting the weights etc to grams and milliliters! So nice to be able to cook your wonderful recipes without math-skills.

    / Karolina (Sweden)

  150. erica fuchs

    How would these cookies work with Springerle or Moon cake molds? If I kept all the dough at the same depth? Please a few people weigh in, thank you!

    1. deb

      I haven’t used them before but I think it would be okay, although the chocolate chunks might affect the shape. I’d image they’re traditionally used with more stiff doughs, however, which hold intricate shapes better.

    1. deb

      No, the swaps won’t work seamlessly. Adding liquid could make a too wet dough that will spread. Powdered sugar doesn’t work the same way that granulated does in recipes; it’s usually ground with a little cornstarch.


    Love your site but sorry to say these are nearly tasteless. I did put the powdered sugar on top which helped a bit but… meh. Also, most of your commenters are of the “this sounds good” variety; a comment that has zero value to those wanting to spend the time and money on a recipe.

    1. Coriander

      Did you make them as written in the recipe? I’ve made them multiple times and we all think they’re delicious! Keep up the good work, Deb! Your recipes always work out so well for me.

  152. I have come in search of a cookie from a Christmas collection years ago,20?😱 A simple shortbread – yet, thinner than the norm and cut into uniform shapes, baked till just turning brown at the edges, cooled and sandwiched with a filling of melted semi sweet chocolate, mixed with instant coffee till smooth-the coffee is mixed with a small amount of H2O. Beautiful. I made them all into Camel shapes. I would like the recipe but after all this feel I could make them until I hit it right.
    I always love everything you do. But since I seem to have been losing my sweet tooth I am sorry I want to try the other. Or get you to voluntarily do it in your artform I always delight in.
    Thank you.
    Out of respect I will make these of yours and hope for the simple, slim shortbread crisp with the indulgent deep chocolate of your preference with free trade,organic, no gmo’s, instant coffee with a bit of boiling water over a double boiler whipped till smooth together and made into a wonderful sandwich shortbread.

  153. Barbara Pannoni

    I have made these and they rock! I use Heath toffee chips and spread melted chocolate on the bottoms after they are cooled. Delicious and so pretty. I did a similar thing with the rose flavored version using white chocolate wafers to coat the bottom.

  154. Meredith Mulhern

    HI Deb- I have made these before and feel that they have turned out great, but this year they were super dark and unattractive definitely not the beautiful golden brown like in your pics. I followed the recipe to a T and used King Arthur Espresso powder; is it really a whole Tablespoon??

  155. Sue

    Pressing it into the zip lock bag is amazing. I froze it and just thawed it for about a half hour. It cut easily, the dough tastes amazing and they are in the oven smelling terrific. I added about a half cup of the Heath toffee pieces that I had left over from Martha Stewarts Torie’s Cherry Chocolate Chunk cookies, another holiday favorite.

    I tried the Rugelach pinwheels but I think I let the dough soften too much because I had to basically mush them together. The first batch was a mess but yummy – used Fig Preserves, golden raisins and walnuts. I’m hopeful I can finesse the second batch. Love your recipes Deb.

  156. Kathleen Gamble

    Looking for fun new cookies!
    Is there any way to replace the instant expresso with a strong decaf, maybe using a French press? Just thinking out loud since caffeine is a no go for me.
    Thanks for any help!

  157. Nitika

    I made these, they were brilliant. Only I would like a more defined coffee flavour. Where I live, I can’t find instant espresso. So I used my coffee machine and made a shot. What can I do to increase coffee flavour?

  158. The PFG

    I just made these :)) Absolutely lovely! Many thanks to the wisdoms I found in the comments section! I pulsed 2oz milk chocolate chips and 2oz butterscotch chips (what I had on-hand) in a food processor into shards. I also added 1/4 cup rice flour and used a 1:1 ratio of confectioner’s to caster sugar to assist with texture/sweetness. I used a double-shot of espresso pulled from my local cafe. Definitely a keeper! It’s 3 days before Thanksgiving and the house already smells like the holidays. I typically don’t reach for shortbread cookies but as a midday snack with coffee these are beautiful and a real treat! My yield was about 31 cookies. I cut them larger on purpose! Baked a few and froze the rest for later…Thank you, Deb!!!

  159. Carlota

    I made these with the intention to share. I filled four containers, but by the time I had to share there was only one left. I forgot the chocolate chips, but didn’t miss them and in fact think it works even better without. They melt in your mouth, but also stay put and don’t crumble arbitrarily like shortbread so often do!

  160. Jackie

    Holy cow, made these and they are AWESOME-just enough of both coffee and chocolate to let you know what they are. Cut mine on a sheet of waxed paper and although I used a pizza cutter (per other commenters) the next time I make them I will use a knife-pizza cutter was easy but left me with beveled edges. Followed the recipe with the only change / addition being a pinch of roasted espresso sugar on top. Make these now, you won’t be sorry!!!!

  161. Long time shortbread maker – this sounded interesting— however, the several comments that this didn’t have a lot of flavor – couldn’t leave it alone. My go to recipe for shortbread is 1/2 flour, 1/4 confectioners sugar, 1/4 cornstarch ; plus butter . So I used an additional tsp. Of espresso, one full cup of confectioners sugar , decreased the flour by 1/2 cup but added 1/2 cup cornstarch. The additional sugar made it a little sweeter, the cornstarch gave it crispier texture ( that I like ). I also dusted the top with some cinnamon sugar before cutting. I will be making it again. Love the idea of espresso and added it to some chocolate thumbprint cookie dough.

  162. Jill from Detroit

    Why have I never made these before? And of course I had to tweak them. As my instant espresso powder expired in 2015 (yes, I pitched it) I subbed one shot of real espresso and 1 teaspoon of ground espresso (the ground espresso beans) for the instant. I was afraid just the liquid expresso alone wouldn’t give me enough coffee flavor. Wonderful! Tiny little flecks of espresso in the cookies reminiscent of vanilla seeds but instead just a hint of that bitter coffee flavor. Espresso grind is much finer than ground coffee so the texture was perfect in the cookie. Not too sweet. But rich. Incredible flavor that lingers on the tongue long after the cookie is gone. Reminded me of an espresso shortbread I had once at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor. (Michigan people will know!) These are not going to make it until Christmas.

  163. Christine Roberts

    I made these three times and for me, rolling into squared off logs to slice and bake was much easier. No need to prick them either. Great recipe. Added more dry espresso to dough

  164. Donna Turner

    I’ve made this recipe so many times, for myself, as a gift, for the holidays, it is so very good. Sadly I have to go off chocolate for a bit, but I don’t want to give up this perfect little treat. The method of putting the dough in a large ziplock is so smart, and makes the best little bite of shortbread. I modified the recipe to make it an orange-rosemary shortbread as such: Added the 1 tbsp of water with 1/2 tsp of orange essence, 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp orange zest. Everything else is the same. It is amazing! I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all (well, maybe just a bit).

  165. Rebecca

    I ended up with only 20 cookies instead of 42. So they are a bit bigger. How should I adjust baking time for this?

  166. Elaine Caldwell

    Made these and, wow, the book club was bowled over. One more thing: I prepped the plastic bag before filling by taking a ruler and a sharpie to draw the squares. Taking it out of the refrigerator, I pressed the ruler’s edge on the bag to create the same guidelines on the cookie dough. Add cutting the dough so much easier!

  167. Emilymberry

    I have made these regularly for years and they are so tasty! I use instant coffee or espresso, sometimes I chop chocolate instead of the mini chips. I love the bag method and I love poking them with chopsticks. They look cute as buttons when they are done.