I know it's post-Christmas and you're probably cookie'd out, but I jumped on the bandwagon late this year so I still have one more holiday-inspired baking post to share with you today. I tried my hand at shortbread for the first time and though things started off a bit rocky, the results were really tasty!
These shortbread cookies are a fun twist on regular old chocolate chip cookies. The cookies are more pastry-like: they're melt-in-your-mouth buttery and more crunchy than chewy. The dough also isn't sugar heavy, so the addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a little Nutella on top add the perfect touch of sweetness to these cookies. These were great Christmas cookies (especially cut into a festive star shape), but cut them into any shape you want and serve them all year round!
Never one to just follow a simple recipe, I wanted to make my first attempt at shortbread something special... and it was a learning experience. I decided that I wanted to make chocolate chip shortbread and learned a few valuable tips that I wanted to share with you today:
- Freeze the chocolate chips ahead of time. Shortbread dough is dry like pastry dough and requires a lot of handling and the chips will melt quickly. Freezing them gives you a little more time to work the dough before the chocolate chips start to melt into the dough from the warmth of your hands.
- Make sure your chocolate chips are mini. I used full size, but the dough would have come together and rolled out much more easily if the chips had been smaller. Rolling it out, the dough often broke because of the size of the chocolate chips.
- Use the proper ratio of dough to chocolate chips -- or the proper ratio of dough to any mix-in, really. At first I used 3/4 cup of chocolate chips to half the amount of dough specified below. It was impossible to bring the mixture together until I doubled the amount of dough.
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 6 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 Tbs. milk
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, frozen
- 1/2 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir flour and sugar to combine. Use a pastry cutter or food processor to cut butter into the flour mixture until incorporated and a fine crumbly mixture is formed. Stir in milk.
Knead the dough with your hands until it just begins to come together. Stir in chocolate chips and then continue to knead with your hands until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Cover and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter (simple shapes without a lot of detail work best with this dough) to cut out cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 22-25 minutes until set and just golden around the edges.
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before using a spatula to remove cookies and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. To speed up the cooling process, you may also refrigerate the cookies for 10-15 minutes too.
Once completely cooled, you can ice the cookies. Spoon the Nutella into a small zip-locking bag. Cut a small (1/4-inch or smaller) opening in the corner of the bag and squeeze the Nutella out of that opening to ice the cookies with the design of your choice. Refrigerate to completely set the Nutella icing.