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Chocolate shorbread stacked on lace doily.

Versatile Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


Cut them into rounds, turn them into a showstopper of a cookie house or bake the dough up into a crispy, chocolate tart shell!  


  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces of unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into small cubes and softened
  • 1 tablespoon of milk or cream mixed with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Large crystal sugar sprinkles or sea salt, optional


  1. Sift the first five ingredients and place in a large bowl, a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.
  2. Add butter cubes, and mix by hand or on low speed/short pulses until the mixture becomes sandy in texture.
  3. Combine milk and vanilla in a small cup, and add to dough.
  4. Continue kneading or mixing on low until dough becomes a dense, cohesive mass (this shouldn't take long, and only a few pulses of the processor).
  5. Place dough out onto a smooth surface and shape into two, 6-inch rounds. The dough can be made several days ahead to this step, wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze. Take dough out of the refrigerator 10-20 minutes before rolling. 
  6. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll dough to 1/4-inch thick (or a little bigger if you like a hefty cookie). Chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 325° F. Dipping cookie cutter in flour to prevent sticking, cut out cookies, space 1-inch apart on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with large crystal sugar, if desired,
  8. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes on the center rack. Cool for a couple minutes on the baking pan, then completely on a rack.