My introduction to these great little cookies came in the weekly newsletter I receive via email from Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen.
She makes clear that she shares the cookies not just because they are fantastically good, but because they are a shortcut way for us into a book she adores and highly recommends, “Dining In”, by Alison Roman. Click here for Perlman’s post about this cookies.
Her blog “Smitten Kitchen”, is an ever-flowing fountain of excellence, and I come away from it with aspirations to cook all kinds of dishes, from simple to seriously complex.
But one post I return to often is the one for these cookies. They rock! Not chocolate chip, and not shortbread, but something in between.
Six ingredients here, and the dough goes together speedy quick. There’s chocolate to chop since this by a not-a-fan-of-chocolate-chips cook, and the recipe calls for giving the chilled logs of dough an egg wash and roll in sanding sugar, which I did, but don’t consider essential myself.
It seems to be a big deal that the recipe uses salted butter, but that’s not a big deal to me — salted butter is my favorite and I use it often, even when Told Not To!!!, because it’s handy (I always have it but am known to run out of unsalted) and I love it.
What I forgot to do was sprinkle on the flakes of salt before baking —- welp! I can’t say anything was missing and these cookies were dynamite as they came out. But I’ll make them again with the recommended but not required Euro-butter and flakes of salt, just so I know.
And nuts. I wanted pecans, though neither Roman nor Perlman mentioned a word about this issue. That will happen too, next time.
The recipe calls for dark chocolate but I had some milk chocolate on hand, so I used both, and would do so again. I speed-chilled my two logs of dough in the freezer, and cooked them all up in one session;
Perlman notes that the dough she saved and baked a day or so later was even better, so there’s another reason for round two. For Valentine Recipe seekers, this is a winner, with serious chocolate involved, and a can-do make-ahead process.
I liked this milk-and-semisweet chocolate mix, which I used because In The House, but the recipe calls for all dark. Suit yourself, can’t go wrong here.
You divide the batch in half and chill two logs for 30 minutes at least; longer is fine up to one week in the refrigerator and one month in the freezer, tightly wrapped either way. Smitten Kitchen highly recommends using fancy special pricey European butter. Sure won’t hurt but I did not sense anything missing in the everyday butter I had on hand.
Here’s the fancy step which I consider optional but since I am sharing a fine recipe which needs no improvement from me, i will merely say that I did indeed brush both logs with egg and roll in crunchy sugar which I had (how is this possible? So not me!?!!) on hand, and that while it was a very nice moment to hit a little sugar crunch now and then, it was not for me worth the extra endeavor. But it is not a bad thing, and it’s in the recipe so you decide.
I love my little bench scraper so very much, and not just because I bought it in Paris, France, Europe, in 1987 (?) ish, on my first trip to Paris with my husband, and have kept up with it all these years. That sentimental connection is enough but it also gives me joy because it just does the best job in so many kitchen moments. Today it was a knife, cutting the cookies into THICK slices. Half an inch! I was dubious but it is a great idea. I made a few thinner just to see, and they were very nice but super crispy and I decided fewer big thick ones is brilliant.
I did NOT follow the instruction to make each log 2+ inches in diameter. I went with a more standard cookie shape, maybe a good inch and change, and was happy with that. Loved the Thick Slice, but didn’t go for the broad shape. But next time, I will, just to see. And yes, there will be a next time. I see getting this recipe in memory and just being able to knock them out. Six ingredients (not counting egg wash and sanding sugar, which I will not be counting but if you do it’s an 8 ingredient recipe, still a winner!).
Take them out of the pan within about 2 minutes — for some reason a few stick like crazy, not sure why. That’s in the pan without the parchment…but do note.
Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread
This recipe comes from "Dining In" by Alison Roman, a highly praised cookbook from Fall 2017. When Deb Perlman of "Smitten Kitchen" says something is wonderful and worthy, I believe her, and she's of course, right about these gems. Simple to make and simply delicious, these are keepers, and I do mean keepers --- as in cook one log as soon asi it's chilled enough to slice; and keep the second on hand in the fridge for Slice n Bake through the week. You will be very popular.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces or 255 grams) salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces (170 grams) semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
- 1 large egg
- Demerara, turbinado, raw, or sanding sugar, for rolling
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Add flour, and mix just until combined.
- Add chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. Mixture will look crumbly.
- Divide between two sheets of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 2 to 2 1/4 inches in diameter.
- Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours. I hastened this along in the freezer (30 minutes, tops) but did feel that the cookies were better after resting longer. (But do know that it works!)
- When you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat your oven to 350°F.
- Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lightly beat the egg and open up your chilled cookies logs to brush it over the sides.
- Sprinkle the coarse sugar on the open paper or plastic wrap and roll the logs into it, coating them.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds.
- You’re going to hit some chocolate chunks, so saw gently, squeezing the cookie to keep it from breaking if needed.
- Arrange cookie slices on prepared sheets one inch apart (they don’t spread much) and sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to get golden brown.
- Let cool slightly before transferring the cookies you don’t eat immediately to wire racks to cool.
The dough can made ahead and stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 1 week in the fridge, or 1 month in the freezer.
Baked cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days, or so I’ve heard.
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