Chocolate Shortbread Cookies! These perfectly buttery shortbread cookies have a deep chocolate flavor and crisp texture.
This recipe is a variation of my classic buttery shortbread recipe. The addition of cocoa powder gives the classic shortbread a rich, chocolatey flavor.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Butter: Use unsalted to control the amount of salt in the recipe. The butter should be room temperature, which is about 70°F (21°C). The butter should be pliable but not soft and melty.
- Granulated sugar: For this chocolate shortbread I added an extra ounce of sugar to balance the bitter chocolate flavor.
- All Purpose Flour: AP flour has the right amount of protein to keep the cookies from spreading too much or becoming tough and dry.
- Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: Dutch Process cocoa has a darker color and more pronounced chocolate flavor. You can use “natural” cocoa powder in place of the dutched cocoa powder. The cookies will be lighter in color and flavor but will still be very tasty.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make this recipe:
Pastry chef tips for making the best shortbread cookies:
- Don’t overwhip the butter and sugar. Incorporating too much air into the dough will cause the cookies to rise and spread too much. A good shortbread cookie has a pleasantly “dense” and buttery texture.
- Cut the dough into cookies, but do not separate the individual cookies before baking. The dough will spread a bit in the oven but keeping the cookies together will prevent over-spreading.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking to prevent it from spreading too much.
- If your oven doesn’t bake evenly, turn the tray half way through for even baking.
- Bake on parchment paper for the best results. Don’t use a non-stick or buttered pan or the cookies will spread too much. If you don’t have parchment paper butter and flour the pan to prevent over-spreading.
- You won’t know if the cookies are done by color. Check that the dough all the way in the middle is set. Overbaking can result in dry shortbread.
How to work ahead:
- You can freeze the shortbread dough or unbaked cookies for up to 1 month.
- You can refrigerate the dough or unbaked cookies for 1-2 days before baking.
How to store shortbread cookies:
- The baked cookies will keep at room temperature for several days. Store them in a tightly covered container.
- For longer term storage, the baked cookies can be frozen for up to a month.
Variations and add ins:
Here are a few ideas for adding another layer of flavor to your chocolate shortbread cookies and some other shortbread recipes to try.
- Add ground cinnamon or another spice. Try black pepper!
- Add the finely grated zest of 1 orange to the butter and sugar.
- Add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder along with the cocoa powder.
- After baking, dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate or white chocolate.
- If you have a sourdough starter you can make Sourdough Shortbread
- Add coconut flour and make Coconut Shortbread
- A touch of rose water and a decoration makes Rose Shortbread
- For the holidays you can make Peppermint Bark Shortbread
- Make Savory Shortbread for your next charcuterie board
- Fill the dough with lemon curd and make Lemon Curd Shortbread
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- 8 oz unsalted butter (1 cup, at cool room temp)
- 5 oz granulated sugar (plus more for topping)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 2 oz dutch process cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
- 7 ½ oz all purpose flour (1 ½ cups, see note)
- Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until softened and well-combined. You don't want to aerate the dough, just mix the ingredients. Scrape the bowl and beater.8 oz unsalted butter, 5 oz granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- Add the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix until combined. The dough will look crumbly at this point. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead to bring it together. Form the dough into a small square.2 oz dutch process cocoa powder, 7 ½ oz all purpose flour
- On a sheet of parchment paper pat the dough to a small square. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll to a 8”x12” rectangle. Use the straight edge of a ruler or a bench scraper to square off the edges. Use a long knife to cut the dough into 1”x 3” pieces. Don't separate the cookies after cutting. Poke each cookie with a fork 3x. Slide the paper on to a sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator and sprinkle the dough generously with granulated sugar.
- Bake the cookies until the dough is set all the way to the center, about 25 minutes. If you're oven bakes unevenly, rotate the tray halfway through baking. Allow the cookies to cool completely then use a long knife to cut along the scored lines to separate the cookies.
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