The chocolate heart in the above picture is there because Valentine's Day is coming up. The little guy in the above picture is there because today he turns 21!!! A truly legal adult!! I know it's trite, but how can that be possible when I still have the high schoolish "when-is the-mom-going-to-pick-all-these-kids-up" kind of feeling?!! Yikes! We love you, Simon and can't wait to celebrate with you in person! We'll even have a age-appropriate crown ready for you! So in the spirit of love (and because this is a food blog!) I want to share these simple and very versatile chocolate shortbread cookies with you. It's Valentine's Week here on Unwritten Recipes!
Before I get to talking about these cookies, I just want to let you know that I have a few already posted about Valentine's Day treats on the blog. If you click here, you can find them all in a handy-dandy fashion. I'm particularly partial to the Linzer Hearts--might just be that I have to show myself a little love and bake up a batch sometime this week, although after all the treats coming out of the kitchen lately, maybe I should love myself a little bit less!!
I've made regular shortbread many times before, but never really thought about a chocolate version until now...and I'm hooked. These are buttery, melt-in-your-mouth and not all that sweet. And easy to make too! The dough comes together quickly and after a short stint in the fridge, it's ready to roll out. And all you have to do is bake them and decorate with chocolate and sprinkles. Kids and adults love them and I wish I could send one to each and every one of you, but since I can't you'll just have to feel the love and make them yourself! Happy Birthday my baby boy!!
Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Hearts
Makes 12 large or 24 smaller cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus at least 30 minutes for dough to chill); Bake Time: 15-17 minutes
You will need heart-shaped cookie cutters for these.
For the cookies
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate dipping and decoration
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Sprinkles (optional)
1. To make the cookies: Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy, light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla. Mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl again and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary until fully combined.
3. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If you've let it chill for more than the 30 minutes, you may need to let it sit out for a bit to soften enough to be rolled out.
5. Lightly flour a board or work surface. Divide the dough in half and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough about 1/4-inch thick. Dip your cookie cutter into some flour and cut out as many heart-shaped cookies you can. Transfer them carefully to the prepared baking sheets placing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Re-roll out the scraps and repeat with the cookie cutter. By the way, you can use any shape cookie cutter or even the top of a glass to cut these out. I just used heart shaped ones because it's Valentine's Day! Repeat the entire procedure with the other half of the dough.
6. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for 15-17 minutes or until firm around the edges. Since these are so dark, you can't test for doneness by color. If you cook them too long they'll be dry and brittle. Transfer the tray to a cooling rack and let cool until firm enough to remove to the rack itself. Let cool completely.
7. Now you can eat these just as is and they're terrific or you can go ahead and decorate them or put some sort of filling like frosting or ice cream between two of them. To decorate them with chocolate and sprinkles, you need to melt the chocolate chips and butter in the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, stirring frequently until fully melted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a shallow bowl for ease. Line a baking sheet or your counter with a piece of waxed paper. Dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate mixture and immediately place on the waxed paper. Sprinkle with the sprinkles if you like and let the cookies sit until the chocolate has completely hardened.
8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin.