Some of the things that have broken the internet in the last few years: Kim Kardashian and THAT picture, Beyonce dropping an entire album with videos for every single song overnight, Beyonce’s twin baby announcement, Beyonce …. you get the picture! Also, these salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies by Alison Roman!
As a baker, I could be accused of living under a rock to have waited over two years to make 2017’s (or any year since or thereafter) cookie of the year! I have no defence other than laziness and being too busy making cakes for other people too bake for myself! However I bookmarked these cookies to make a long time ago! And every single time I have seen yet another photo of them, I have promised myself I’d make them soon!
Wondering what makes these shortbread cookies so special?
They are supposed to be the epitome of the shortbread cookie. Buttery, chock full of chocolate, not too sweet, but also salty! Roman uses salted butter in this recipe which is usually a no-no in baking as conventional wisdom is to use unsalted and then add salt in later so you can have strict control over the amount of salt you add. Also they’ve got dark chocolate chunks which y’know, is guaranteed to make anything better.
My verdict? They are great! They will likely be my chocolate shortbread recipe go-to for the future. I’m a sucker for any combo of sweet and salty, and I love a good shortbread biscuit and a good chocolate cookie and this recipe is the epic love child of the two. The combination of the dark chocolate, buttery salted shortbread dough and caramelised demerera sugar outer coating makes for shortbread cookie with far more depth of flavour than your average shortbread.
I think there is the temptation to wonder what all the hype is about. After all, I personally have never heard so much about another recipe (sweet or savoury) as I have about this one. For all the reasons mentioned above, I won’t go down that route as its IS a really good cookie! And pretty easy to make!
So give it a go and let me know what you think if you make them.
Recipe from Alison Roman’s ‘Dining In’ via Smitten Kitchen and adapted slightly with my own experience baking them.
Tips for the perfect chocolate chunk shortbread cookie
These cookies need at least two hours of chilling time. This is included in the method below but thought it was worth putting it up here too.
If you’re like me and have a house full of unsalted butter and no desire to go out and buy salted just for this recipe, Roman says you can use unsalted and add in 3/4 tsp of salt. I used fine sea salt.
Although the recipe calls for 255g butter, it will work just as well using a 250g pack of butter.
As with all recipes that are butter based, the quality of butter you use will make a huge difference. So buy the best butter you can afford.
The recipe makes about 22 - 24 cookies.
. The dough can made ahead and stored, tightly wrapped in cling film for up to 1 week in the fridge, or 1 month in the freezer. Baked cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days.
255g salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
100g granulated sugar
50g light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
295g plain flour
170g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped (you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
1 large egg
Demerera 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 until just combined. Add chocolate chunks, mix until just incorporated. Mixture will look crumbly.
Divide the mixture between two sheets of greaseproof paper or cling film (I used the latter) 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, at least 2 hours. I wrapped one log in the freezer for future cookie emergencies and kept the second in the fridge for two days before I followed the steps below.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4/350F. Line one or two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Lightly beat the egg and open up your chilled cookie logs to brush it over the sides. Sprinkle the demerera 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 to cooling racks.