Every holiday season, just after Thanksgiving, I put aside two full weeks for baking our clients batches of cookies. I pick two or three different types and run with it, putting together adorable little cookie bundles. This recipe for Chocolate Shortbread with Smoked Sea has quickly become my favorite holiday cookie. The smoked sea salt accentuates the dark chocolate flavor of the buttery shortbread cookie. The flavors are complex enough to stand on their own as well they go nicely with a glass or port or bourbon.
This recipe has been my go-to-holiday cookie for a few years now as it is elegant enough to package in a simple box with a big red bow, and the rich flavors, please everyone who receives them. Typically, I bake batches of these cookies and pass them out to all of our clients. This year has been different as we just came off of a few projects and we leave for the holidays next week. No time to bake batches this year; but, I definitely wanted to share them with you, our readers, so I whipped up a batch last night. We also made a little video to go along with it!
The recipe is pretty straightforward and can be made in a matter of a couple hours, from mixing, chilling to baking. During the season, I also like to keep a couple extra logs in the freezer from impromptu dinners or gifts to pass out. Being that I typically give these cookies out, I go the extra mile by using high-quality butter and chocolate in this recipe. Trust me, it really does make a big difference in quality. I also prefer to use a cherry wood smoked sea salt as the smokey flavor intensifies the dark chocolate. I have used a grey or Maldon sea salt when in a pinch. Set aside some time this weekend for your holiday baking and add this recipe to the mix. I am sure you will be as happy as we are with this recipe.
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Chocolate Shortbread with Smoked Sea Salt
** makes 2 dozen
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
smoked sea salt or Maldon salt
In a food processor finely chop the bittersweet chocolate. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl using a paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.
Add the flour mixture in 3 separate additions, beating well after each addition just until incorporated.
Add the vanilla and chopped chocolate and beat until mixed.
Divide the dough in half.
Lightly flour your work area with some all-purpose flour and roll each half of dough into a log that is about 1 inch in diameter.
Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick rounds and evenly space on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle a little sea salt onto each cookie.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The cookies will still be slightly soft to the touch.
Let sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
The cookies will keep fresh for about 1 week; if they last that long.