I love shortbread. In fact, besides Momofuku’s Blueberries and Cream cookies, it may be my favorite genre of cookie. The rich butter flavor, the delectable and crumbly texture all pleasantly devoid of cloying sweetness. I may love baking and pastry, but my sweet tooth definitely draws the line closer to 85% chocolate as opposed to milk, if you catch my drift.
my goodness, that was a scary analogy
Anyway, back to the cookies. These cookies, in particular, are fantastic.
They are based off of this picture that captured my attention from the moment I first saw it. Just look at it. Rich, dense and chocolaty, can you blame me for being obsessed? I imagine this cookie would be served warm, with the dough crumbling. This isn’t a kid’s soft cookie. No, this is an adult chocolate chip cookie that doesn’t attach you with sugar, but envelops your taste buds in rich, buttery chocolate.
Um, yeah. I’ve really thought about this cookie that much.
I didn’t really know where to start for quite some time, though.
Then, one day, I made a batch of normal shortbread (okay, it was supposed to be english breakfast shortbread, but the flavor didn’t exactly shine through) that wasn’t coming together. Absolutely frustrated, I decided to simply whack it in a square baking pan and refrigerate it. Magically, the cookies turned out heavenly. Thick, rich bricks of shortbread with a pleasantly undone middle (don’t worry, there’s no egg involved!).
That’s when I returned to the picture. What if I made double thick chocolate chip shortbread? I turned to one of my favorite cookie recipes, espresso chocolate chip shortbread by Dorie Greenspan, to help guide me.
The idea was quite simple. Make the full recipe, refrigerate it in a baking tray and then cut into squares when done. I would leave it in the tray I had chilled it in to bake. Simple, no? What could go wrong?
Well, technically nothing. I was not, however, rewarded with my dream cookie.
The main problem I encountered was the staggering height of the cookie I created. It was simply too tall to be cut properly, it looked more like a blondie than shortbread. While I was looking for a thick cookie, I also wanted them to be relatively wide. If I had chosen to cut these any bigger, the result would have been a butter/sugar bomb capable of knocking out the most devoted sugar enthusiasts. Not exactly what I was after.
Since these cookies were exceedingly tall, they were not able to bake thoroughly, thereby changing the texture. There wasn’t that perfect combination of cookie dough, butter and crumble-iness. While the edges nearly achieved this texture, the middle solidified as it cooled down, creating something that tasted more like a traditional chocolate chip cookie. The crumb was too dense, there was no buttery flake.
Ultimately, the cookie wasn’t exacly what I wanted, but don’t let that deter you. They did come out very good, just not my perfection. If you are in the mood to experiment with shortbread, I highly suggest this cookie. You’ll be in for a treat.
What is your dream cookie and, most importantly, does it contain chocolate?