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Crumbly, sweet and perfect for dunking, this chocolate shortbread delivers a double hit of the good stuff. The dough is lightly flavoured with cocoa powder and is studded with dark chocolate chips. Not only does this make the perfect accompaniment for your brew, but it’s super easy to make and requires only 5 ingredients.
What is it?
Shortbread is a traditional biscuit recipe originating in Scotland. It’s traditionally made around Christmas and New Year (called Hogmanay in Scotland), but it really is great to enjoy year-round. It’s a very crumbly biscuit owing to its high-fat content from the butter used. If you’re wondering if shortbread is related to shortcake, well it’s not. Shortcake is a US dessert that is a lot softer in texture.
The basic authentic shortbread recipe is very simple and pretty easy to memorise. You just need one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. When we say parts we are talking by weight not measurement (sorry to anyone who prefers to bake using cups). You don’t need any kind of raising agent like baking powder.
Traditionally the recipe is made using granulated white sugar, although many modern recipes (including this one) use icing/confectioners sugar. This is a great substitution as icing sugar contains a little cornflour/cornstarch, which makes the texture a little softer.
Do I need to chill the shortbread dough?
Chilling the shortbread mixture helps with the baking process by solidifying the butter before baking, which prevents it from spreading on the tray and make sure that the biscuits keep their shape. The butter in the dough needs to slowly melt in the oven to give a crumbly but tender result, so you don’t want to start with melted butter before you get to the baking stage.
Ideally, plan ahead when making shortbread and allow for a minimum of 2 hours of chill time before baking. You can also leave them overnight in the fridge so they are great to prepare in advance. However, I have had success in the past with dough that has only had a 30-minute stint in the fridge, providing that the butter was still cold when the mixture was made.
How long do they keep?
Cooked chocolate shortbread can be kept for up to 5 days at room temperature in an air-tight jar or tin. You can also freeze the baked biscuits for up to 3 months. As they are so crumbly it is a good idea to place a small piece of baking paper between pieces before stacking them for freezing so they don’t fall apart when separating.
You can also freeze unbaked shortbread dough for up to 3 months. Defrost before cutting into shapes and make sure the biscuits are fully chilled before baking.
How do I know when they are done?
It can be a little tricky to know when shortbread is done via visual or tactile cues. Baked biscuits are fairly similar in colour to the raw dough, and they will be soft when you remove them from the oven and harden as they cool. They will be a little firmer to the touch than raw dough and not sticky. To ensure success make sure you don’t roll the dough too thickly and make sure that the oven has reached the correct temperature before baking by using an oven thermometer. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven for longer than the recipe time.
If the worst comes to the worst and they are underdone after they have fully cooled then you can return them to the oven for a few minutes.
For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.
- Icing/confectioners sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Plain/all-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Dark chocoltate chips
How to make them
You only need 5 simple ingredients for this chocolate shortbread. For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.
- Use a food processor or a hand mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the butter mixture. Mix with a spoon until just combined – it will be flaky and not look much like dough at this stage!
- Tip the dough onto a worksurface and knead lightly to bring together. Press into a flat disk and fold in most of the chocolate chips.
- Place clingfilm over the dough and roll out with a rolling pin until around 1cm/0.4inch thick.
- Press in a few more chocolate chips and cut the biscuits out with a cutter. Place on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before storing in a tin (or eating!)
Looking for more great sweet snack recipes? Try:
- Freezable Yorkshire parkin
- Individual yogurt cakes
- Dark chocolate flapjacks
- Date and walnut cake
- Chocolae chip banana cookies
Products that work well for this recipe:
Rolling Pin and Silicone Baking Pastry Mat Set
Cookie Cutter Set
Hand Mixer with Beaters, Whisk and Dough Hooks
Crumbly, sweet and perfect for dunking, this chocolate shortbread delivers a double hit of the good stuff. The perfect accompaniment for a brew!
The default recipe makes around 22 biscuits.
- 200g butter, slightly softened but still cold (see note 1)
- 100g icing/confectioners sugar
- 275g plain / all-purpose flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 100g dark chocolate chips (see note 2)
- Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer for around 3 minutes – until very fluffy.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix with a spoon until just combined. It will look very crumbly and dry and nothing like dough at this stage – fear not.
- Remove the dough and briefly knead on a clean surface until it sticks together. Press out into a flat slab and then sprinkle in most of the chocolate chips and fold the dough back together.
- Place a large sheet of clingfilm over the dough and roll out with a rolling pin until around 1cm/0.4in thick. Press a few extra chocolate chips into the surface of the dough.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits (around 6cm/2.3inch in diameter is a good size). Combine and re-roll any leftover dough and repeat until all the dough is used.
- Carefully transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet lined with baking/parchment paper. Cover with clingfilm and place in the oven for 2 hours. (see note 3)
- Before baking preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Place the biscuits in the oven for 20 minutes. (see note 4)
- Cool the shortbread on a wire rack and then transfer them to an airtight container for up to 5 days. (see note 5)
- The warmer the butter is, the more time you will need to chill it before baking. It also makes the dough tougher to work with as it will be stickier.
- You can use milk chocolate chips, but they will blend in with the colour of the shortbread.
- If the butter you used was cold enough you can reduce the cooling time by half. However, it is better to plan ahead and be on the safe side if you can. You can even leave the dough chilling in the fridge overnight.
- Shortbread can be a little tricky to identify when done. The biscuits barely change colour and they will still be soft until cooled. To check the dough should not be sticky, and it’s advised to use an independent oven thermometer and check you bake for the right amount of time to remove any ambiguity.
- You can freeze baked shortbread for up to 3 months. Place a piece of baking paper between each biscuit to stop them from crumbling when separating them. Unbaked dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost before cutting into shapes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Biscuit
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Scottish
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 18g
- Protein: 2g
Keywords: biscuits, cookies, shortbread, scottish, snack, chocolate