Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I am that girl. The one everyone blames when they gain 10 pounds, solely in cookies, over the holidays. Sorry. I just can't help it. I love to make cookies. Especially during this season, since every cooking magazine (and I subscribe to several) features beautiful, unique, new cookie recipes in their holiday issues. I was looking for something fun to bake for Maya's teachers, so I could give them a nice, home baked gift for Hanukkah last week, and I came across this recipe in the current issue of Food Network Magazine. It looked pretty easy, and I had never made shortbread, so I was excited. This is a fairly easy recipe, though the prep time is a little tedious, simply because you need to chill the dough for a little while. Anyway, I really enjoyed making these, because the recipe actually worked, and made beautiful shortbread bars, that tasted delicious. I tasted these while I was on the phone with my sister, and my first reaction was, "These are super rich, but surprisingly, not all that sweet." My sis replied that shortbread is like a "mature, sophisticated cookie" - they are sort of akin to the difference between a Hershey bar, and a decadent piece of expensive dark chocolate. I like that. I used Penzey's Dutch Process Cocoa, which added an incredible, chocolately richness to this recipe, without making them overly sweet and dense. In addition, these looked so pretty in the little gift bags I bought. I will definitely be making these again. I am not usually impressed with Food Network recipes, for baked good, but this is a keeper.

Did I mention, I actually posted my review of these cookies, on the Food Net website? I was the first one to review! I'm so proud...

Make these, and give them to someone you want to impress. 4.5 Bowls (I had to take off a half point, because I have to admit, I prefer a chewier cookie, but that's just the way the shortbread crumbles.)!

Mexican Chocolate Shortbread

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Makes 18 bars.


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, plus more for topping
  • 6 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder (Use Penzey's, if you can get your hands on some. It made a big difference!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) (I used it, and it added a really great kick.)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar (Don't skimp/skip this! You can get raw sugar in a regular supermarket, and it really adds a sweet crunch to the cookies.)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch-square metal baking pan, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all 4 sides. Pulse the flour, almonds, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and cayenne, if using, in a food processor until the almonds are finely ground.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined (the dough will be crumbly). Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan (you can cover the dough with plastic wrap and use the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out).

Prick the dough all over with a fork, then use a sharp knife to cut it into 18 strips. Top with almonds, lightly pressing them in. Sprinkle with the raw sugar. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 10 minutes.

Bake until the shortbread is slightly puffed and firm, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately retrace the strips with a knife; cool completely in the pan on a rack. Lift up the parchment paper to remove the shortbread from the pan, then separate into bars. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

No comments:

Post a Comment