Chocolate and Espresso Shortbread

I have been in a rut. Everything is coming out wrong. Burnt. Broken. Too crumbly, too soggy. The other day I made muffins for a few friends, and pulled them out of the oven only to discover that for some reason they stuck to the pan. Even after a night of soaking and a morning of scrubbing. I was very disappointed, and to be completely honest, I wanted with every fiber of my being to throw those %#$ things away. But I had no time, an empty promise and the undeniable urge to people please. I did want to not waste them (duh!), but I prefer to keep my unsuccessful ventures wrapped up in the back of my fridge. Just when they don’t come out right. And only because sometimes I can be a perfectionist and I really just need to get over myself.

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I needed help, and fast. And there was no better person than Dorie herself, who inspires me daily as I read and bake through her cookbook bible.  I got into my kitchen, and dreamed that I was baking with Dorie. I was mindful and calm, passionate yet awfully “reigned it”‘ for a girl with my love of cookies. First I made her World Peace Cookies, which I know are delicious because I’ve made them a million times. I figured that if they came out right my luck would be reversed and I would return to baking glory. And if, by chance or luck, they didn’t come out right, I could quickly stuff my face before anyone else saw them. But hallelujah! They were perfect. In my trepidation I totally forgot to take pictures, so I figured I would just have to find another shortbread cookie that is chock full of espresso and chocolate.

You heard me. Espresso and Chocolate. Yum.

This is the kind of cookie that is perfect wrapped up in a pretty little package, yet divine served on a paper napkin with a cup of coffee. Really elegant, but totally simple and completely enjoyable.

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Chocolate and Espresso Shortbread Cookies
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (1 chocolate bar), chopped, or 3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Combine espresso and water and set aside to cool.
2. In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar together for about three minutes on medium speed. Make sure your butter is not too hard that it is difficult to snap in half, and not too soft that it can’t keep it’s shape.
3. Beat in vanilla and espresso powder.
4. On low speed, mix in the flour just until its incorporated.
5. Fold in chopped chocolate (or chips).
6. Plop mixture on a sheet of parchment paper, and top with an additional sheet of parchment paper.
7. Roll dough out “between the sheets” until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap the best you can and refrigerate 2 hours to 2 days.
8. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 325 F degrees. Gently remove top parchment paper, and cut out rounds.
9. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cookies will be pale in color. Let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool.

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