57gcornstarch or rice flour5 ½ tbsp, spooned and leveled
226gsemisweet or bittersweet chocolatechopped or chips (optional)
Espresso Shortbread Cookies
Dissolve the 2 tsp of instant coffee in the 2 tsp of hot water to make the coffee extract.
Place the 226 g butter and generous pinch of salt in the mixer bowl, and mix on medium speed until creamy (using a paddle beater - about 2 to 4 minutes). You can use a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer as well.
Add the 115 g caster sugar and instant coffee extract, and mix until the sugar and butter are well mixed, and the mix is creamy - about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the 284 g AP flour and 57 g cornstarch (if using) and mix on LOW (or the stir setting), until the flour is mixed in with the butter-sugar mix, and the dough forms clumps. Do NOT over-mix, as this can make the cookies tough and chewy. Add the 1 tsp instant coffee and stir it into the clumps of dough.
Using floured hands OR a spatula - bring the dough clumps together to form a cohesive dough (fold over the dough 2 - 3 times to help bring it together). Then flatten the dough into a disc shape.
Place the dough disc in a gallon-size ziploc bag (about 10 x 10 inches in size), on a flat, smooth surface. Without closing the bag, gently roll the dough using a rolling pin, maintaining an even thickness throughout the dough. Press/roll the dough into the bottom edge of the ziploc bag, and form a roughly 10 x 10 inch square (about ⅜ of an inch thick). Keep the bag open while you do this to allow excess air to escape and prevent air bubbles from forming. This will help you easily roll out the dough to an even thickness.
Once the dough is rolled out, seal the bag, and carefully place it on a sheet pan. Then transfer this to the fridge to chill for about 30 - 60 minutes, or until the dough is firm enough to cut through.
When you’re ready to bake the espresso shortbread cookies, line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 °F/180°C.
Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the dough disc from the ziploc bag (you may need to cut the bag to remove the dough disc). Place the dough on a parchment paper on a smooth surface, and trim the edges of the dough using a sharp knife.
Cut the dough into 20 (4 x 5) equal pieces. Pierce each piece of cookie with a fork 3 - 4 times (see pictures in the post).
Place the chilled pieces of espresso shortbread cookies on the parchment paper, with about 1 in of space between each. You may need to use two half sheet pans.
Make sure the cookies are still stiff and chilled when you put them in the oven. (If they have softened, then return the pan to the fridge and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until the cookies are completely chilled.) You can also leave the cookies in the fridge overnight at this point.
Bake the cookies in the center of the oven, for about 15 - 20 minutes, or just until the bottom edges of the cookies are starting to color. Make sure to check on the cookies every few minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool. If you're baking both sheet pans at the same time, make sure to switch the sheet pans (between the two oven shelves) halfway through.
Allow the cookies to cool down for a few minutes and then transfer them onto a wire rack to let them cool down completely.
Chocolate dipped espresso shortbread cookies (optional)
Place a parchment paper-lined sheet pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Place the 226 g of chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, until most of the chocolate is melted, but some clumps of chocolate still remain.
Remove the bowl from the heat and stir gently until all the chocolate has melted.
Remove the chilled sheet pan from the freezer.
Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Gently shake the cookie to remove excess chocolate. Place the dipped cookie on the lined and chilled sheet pan. This helps set the chocolate faster. (You do not have to put the chilled sheet pan back in the freezer.)
Once the chocolate is set, remove the cookies from the chilled sheet pan, and store in an air-tight container.
If you don’t have cornstarch, then replace that amount (57 g / 2 oz) with an equal amount of AP flour.
The cookies will last about 1 week at room temperature. They will last longer in the freezer, but allow them to completely thaw before eating.