These Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are made with only 5 ingredients, perfect for chocolate and shortbread lovers. Cut out or slice and bake, easy and delicious. The perfect addition to your Christmas Cookie baking.
I have been on a Shortbread marathon this year, from these melt in your mouth 3 Ingredient Shortbread to one of the Italian’s favourite bar cookies with a shortbread base, Coconut Jam Squares. These Chocolate Shortbread have been a long time coming, every year I make and test one but I am never convinced, until this year, I even had my trusty recipe tester, Janet test them for me. She and her friends gave them the thumbs up, so here’s to Chocolate!
Table of contents
How to make them
In a mixing bowl beat sugar and butter until creamy, then add the sifted dry ingredients, mix just until combined, move to a flat surface and gently knead to form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. If you prefer you can roll the dough into a log shape, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Roll the dough on a flat surface lightly floured if necessary or between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thickness, cut out with your favourite cookie cutters and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Or if you made a log shape then slice about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick slices and place on prepared cookie sheets.
While the oven is pre-heating refrigerate the unbaked cookies. Bake, and let cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack.
What if my dough is too dry?
If you dough is too dry then add a little more butter until it comes together. Too dry a dough can depend on the flour that is used. Some flour absorbs more liquid than others. If the dough is too wet then add a little more flour.
When are the cookies done?
Be sure not to over bake the cookies, the cookies are done when you gently press on them in the middle, it should be soft and not sticky. They will continue to bake on the baking sheet when removed from the oven.
Can I substitute the powdered sugar?
I advise you not to substitute with the powdered sugar, powdered sugar helps to keep the cookies from spreading and it also helps with the texture of the baked cookie.
How to store them
They should be stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature, they will keep for 2 weeks. To tell the truth I like cold shortbread so I always store mine in the fridge, they will keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
How to freeze shortbread
To freeze the shortbread cookies, place parchment paper in between the layers of the completely cooled cookies this prevents them from sticking together when they are in the containers for freezing, or you can also place the baked cooled cookies on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then move the frozen cookies to either airtight bags or containers. Baked Shortbread Cookies will last up to a month in the freezer.
To thaw the cookies be sure to remove the frozen cookies from the bags or containers (this way no condensation will form) and let them thaw at room temperature. In our house no one waits for them to thaw!
More Delicious Shortbread Recipes
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Easy Chocolate Chip Whipped Shortbread
- Orange Glazed Shortbread
- 3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
So if you are looking for a new Shortbread recipe this Holiday Season, I hope you try these Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour (11% protein or more)
- 1 cup powdered/icing sugar
- 1 pinch salt*
- ½ cup cocoa (unsweetened)
- 1 cup butter (softened)*
*If you use unsalted butter than add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. If the dough is too dry add up to an additional 26 grams of butter (1 tablespoon). Be sure to use a good quality butter, apparently this year 2022, store brand butter quality is not what it used to be. Less fat could mean a dry not so tasty cookie.
- In a large bowl sift the flour, salt and cocoa.
- In a mixing bowl beat the sugar and butter until creamy, then add the sifted dry ingredients, mix just until combined, move to a flat surface and gently knead to form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes. If you prefer you can roll the dough into a log shape, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
- Roll the dough on a flat surface lightly floured if needed or between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thickness, cut out with your favourite cookie cutters and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Or if you made a log shape then slice about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick slices and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate while the oven is pre-heating.
- Pre-heat oven to 320F (160C).
- Bake the cookies for approximately 12-15 minutes, let cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to completely cool. Enjoy!
You mention to add the sifted dry ingredients. It is not indicated which of the three dry ingredients are to be sifted. And, are they to be sifted before or after measuring?
Hi Magua, sorry about that I updated the post. And they should be sifted after measuring into a large bow. Take care!
Thank you, but it mentions to sift the dry ingredients into a large but then states to beat the butter and sugar together, then add the sifted ingredients.
I’m wondering if it should read “after measuring, sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside. After measuring, sift the the confectioner sugar into the butter and beat until creamy. Add the flour, salt and cocoa, mix until just combined”
I did make the cookies and they are amazing! I drizzled some with a bit of glaze. Definitely keeping this recipe!
Hi Magua, yes after measuring but that should be understood when I give you the amounts. Glad you liked the cookies. Take care!
Where have you been all of my life?!
I found the dough tricky to manipulate at first but once I got into the groove and baked them, oh my stars….delicious! I will definitely add these to my Christmas baking! Thanks so much!
Hi Suzanne, thanks so much, so glad you like the recipe. Take care! Happy Holidays.
Can you add like a peppermint extract to this recipe? I am goingnto try this. Sounds yummy
Hi Robin, sure you can add peppermint extract (good idea), I would say 1/2 – 1 teaspoon depending on how strong you like it. Take care.
I loved the cookies, but I did add vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon…used Dutch process cocoa, regular AP flour. Nice complex “grown up” cookie, not too sweet. Also, dough takes time to come together, but dough is easy to work with. Rolled out on silpat with no flour. Cut with cookie cutters about 1/4” thick. Dipped half-way in melted white chocolate and drizzled with melted dark chocolate. Will def make again.
Hi Amy, thanks so much, I love the additions especially the addition of the melted chocolate. Take care.
Helen L Campbell says
Love to make cookies.
Easy to make but mine has very little flavor and tho I probably should have used that extra bit of butter , I’m don’t feel that would have helped. I’ll keep looking for a chic shortbread into I find one that’s yummy to us. (Even the hubs didn’t like these which is saying as lot’ cause he eats every cookie known to man!)
Not sure if it will help, but I started making these and also found them quite crumbly and dry. I had rolled the dough in a log and let it chill for about 45 minutes, but when I started slicing it for cookies they wouldn’t stay together. I cut about a quarter of the log, pushed them back into cookie shapes, and baked them anyways at 300 for 12 min using my convection oven (when using convention, I usually lower oven temp by about 20°) and they turned out okay, but I found them dry and a little overdone. Because of the dryness, they also seemed to be lacking flavour, which was so odd because in the raw dough the chocolate flavour was so rich.
I covered the rest of the dough and put it back in the fridge so I could decide what to do with it. The next day I decided to just cook them for less time and this made a HUGE difference. When making regular shortbread, you have to be really careful not to overbake them – they should still be pale when they come out, not turning gold at all. So I baked these until they appeared done around the edges but the center was still soft, which took about 8 minutes. The middles set while they cooled and the texture and flavour were so much better – super light and soft and they almost dissolve in your mouth. I don’t know if the fact the dough rested longer also contributed to this, but many shortbread recipes also recommend chilling the dough overnight.
I also want to mention that in Canada and I think in the USA, icing and powdered sugar have corn starch added to keep it from clumping but in Europe and maybe Australia I understand they do not. This will also contribute to the texture and dryness of the dough as corn starch absorbs more liquid. I think if I were to try to adjust for this, I would probably have added a tsp of milk rather than just more butter… But I can’t vouch that that works, because I didn’t have to, I just worked around the crumbly-ness. You can also use caster sugar, which is just finely granulated sugar with no corn starch added.
Again, hope this helps anyone who had trouble with it! I found this recipe made really satisfying and richly flavoured chocolate shortbread with these adjustments! Definitely worth working it out!
I’ve made lots of cookies in my life and these did not turn out good. Like other posters say, dough is too dry, it crumbles, temperature was too low and took much longer to bake, they were too soft and deflated. The taste was not that bad
Hi Aida, if the dough is too dry then you should add a little more butter, some flours absorb liquid more than others. Shortbread should be baked on a lower temperature. There are 2 videos in the post which should also help. Take care.
Delsia Taylor says
I followed this recipe……absolutely horrible! Mixture was so dry even adding the extra butter didn’t help. Was something missing from the instructions? I’ve made shortbread cookies before but wanted to try something different, I wasted my time and my ingredients today.
Hi Delsia, no there is nothing missing from the recipe, there are 2 different videos for the recipe and it works. I think you should check to see what ingredient amounts you added. If the dough doesn’t together, all you have to do is add a bit more butter. 🙂
I wish every package of flour included the protein content!
Despite my own irritation when people review recipes having made substantial changes in ingredients, I did make a couple of changes so I would feel lees guilty about eating these yummy cookies.
First, I used white whole wheat flour. Regular whole wheat flour results in textural differences, but white whole wheat in cookies is indistinguishable from all purpose flour.
Second, I used a completely unprocessed sugar (Just Panela—basically sun dried sugar cane juice). It’s a little coarse, so I whirred it in the food processor until it was very fine and just slightly powdery. Then I weighed it to make sure I wasn’t adding too much.
My substitutions worked perfectly. The cookies are tender and fine textured, not a bit coarse. Very delicious. I made them quite thick, a full half inch, and had to bake them longer because I had to guess how to set the oven to approximate 320 degrees. I took them out when they started to feel firm.
They are just barely sweet, an excellent chocolate shortbread, and a keeper. A perfect tea cookie, but also delicious with red wine!
Hi Kay, thanks so much for the detailed response. I will have to look for white whole wheat flour. Have a great weekend.
Can this recipe be used with a cookie mold?
Hi Laura, I have never tried it with a cookie mold, I think it might work. Let me know if you try it.
I cut the recipe in half because I only had 1/4 c of cocoa powder. I left the dough in the fridge too long and tried to let it come to room temp before trying to roll it out but it got really crumbly and just disintegrated into a powdered form. I had already put an extra TBSP of butter in the dough before refrigerating it…wondering if I add another TBSP of softened butter to the crumbled dough tomorrow if that will help? (as well as only leaving it in the fridge for an hour) I really want to save this dough….is this salvageable?!
Hi Christine, that sounds very strange that it would crumble like that, leaving it in the fridge should not do that, add extra butter and knead it again to form a dough, but just chill it when you have cut out the cookies not before. Let me know.
Is there a flour brand you can recommend with 11% protein? I couldn’t find any. Or should I just add corn starch?
Hi Laurie, King Arthur, Gold medal and Pillsbury (Robinhood in Canada) have around 11%. Hope that helps.
I used Pillsbury but it’s not 11% protein.
Hi Laurie, how much was it? And how did they turn out? 🙂
These have a great flavor, but mine turned out really dry. I am sure it was my fault, not the recipe. Perhaps I need to decrease the bake time even though they don’t seem over? Maybe they needed more butter? I am going to try again. Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Megan, it probably is that they are over baked. Decrease the time a bit. Let me know. Happy New Year.
Shortbread cookies are much dryer than other sorts of cookies. It’s their nature to be that way, and probably why they’re so good with tea. Their texture when properly baked is best described as sandy. If you overbaked your cookies, they would be hard.
Hi, with so many good reviews, I’m really tempted to try your recipe. Just wondering if they will keep the shape after baking? Would it be good to use some cornstarch, which I have seen in some other recipes? Thanks 🙂
Hi Sy they do keep the shape perfectly. Just make sure to use an all purpose flour with 11% or more of protein. And there is no need to add cornstarch. 🙂