A few years ago a cookie recipe went viral and I was totally on board the train and out of that recipe these coffee chocolate chunk shortbread cookies were born. The Alison Roman salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookie took the world by storm and for good reason. They were a really awesome cookie for a not-super-sweet-more-grown-up chocolate chip cookie palate.
I really liked them and made them a few times before I decided that I needed to see how I could adapt the recipe into something new. I’m totally on a coffee flavor kick lately, so I wanted to play with that flavor.
Why these Chocolate Chunk Cookies are so good
So I played around a bit with coffee, with chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, salted butter, regular butter, salt, etc and came up with another grown up cookie, that your kids will still love. This is the cookie I ate for breakfast a few times this month (no judging, ok). This is also the cookie that got devoured at the office while recipe testing, even without the sugared edges.
Guys, trust me make this cookie, call it breakfast, call it dessert, call it an afternoon coffee pick me up, whatever works for you. Just promise me you’ll try it, ok?
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What exactly is shortbread?
For those of you who may be new to baking, shortbread is a type of cookie that is traditionally made from one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour and most likely originated in Scotland. The signature characteristic of shortbread is it’s crumbly and tender. It has a high fat content (the butter) and no eggs or other liquid in it.
These cookies are not pressed into a pan and then cut once baked like many shortbread cookies are. Rather, we are going to roll these coffee chocolate chunk cookies in to a log and then slice them into rounds after a good chilling. Slice and bake cookies are just so much easier to make on demand.
One of the best parts of shortbread cookies is that they can take on many flavors. I love this one so much right now, but I’m also working on some lighter flavors for spring and summer...stay tuned!
Do you need to let these chill in the fridge or can you bake them right away?
Yep. While the coffee chocolate chunk cookies could technically be baked right away two awesome things will happen if you let them chill.
- The butter will solidify and hold it’s shape so that you will get a clean cut when you go to slice them into rounds.
- Even more importantly, the cookies will develop a more complex flavor the longer you let them sit. These means that you can make these up to a 5 days ahead of time and then slice and bake the day you need them. Really makes having dessert on hand simple, right?
Chocolate chunks vs. chocolate chips, what’s the difference?
I had always used chocolate chips in my cookies because it’s simple. And that’s still totally fine for this recipe and others. However, there is a difference in cutting your own chunks from a chocolate bar and using chocolate chips.
Chocolate chips have stabilizers in them to help them hold their cute little shape...great for some cookies, for decorating etc. However, they can be hard to cut through when making slice and bake cookies like these. I'm loving the Ghiradelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips right now...but I love darker chocolate, so use what's best for you.
Chocolate chunks however are shards of chocolate that you cut from a solid chocolate bar. I like using semisweet Ghiradelli bars, I like the taste and the texture and feel like they blend well with this cookie. Chocolate chunks also melt into beautiful pools of chocolate you see in so many cookie recipes. Chips will never do this.
If you only have chocolate chips on hand, no worries...you can chop them up a bit before you add them to the dough to make sure that the cookies still slice nicely later when you go to bake them.
How do you make coffee chocolate chunk shortbread cookies?
A little secret: the hardest part is rolling them into logs and slicing, just have patience
Now, that you know the hard part, here’s how simple it is to make these cookies.
Cream the butter, sugars, instant coffee and vanilla together until fluffy...it won’t be light like when you normally cream sugar and butter together because of the coffee, vanilla and brown sugar, but you do want it to be fluffy and well incorporated. Let your stand mixer run 4-5 minutes on medium, scraping down the sides as needed.
Then carefully add the flour and salt and run the mixer on low until the flour is incorporated. Add the chocolate chunks (or chips) and mix just until combined.
Now, the “hard” part. Lay a piece of cling wrap down on your counter. Put half of the cookie dough onto the cling wrap and shape into a log that’s about 2 ½” in diameter. Use your hands to get it into as tight of a log as you can, and then roll up tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Put both logs in the fridge for at least two hours but up to 5 days.
When ready to bake, take the logs out of the fridge. In a small dish, beat an egg. Then unwrap the cookie log leaving it on the plastic wrap and brush the egg wash on the entire log. Roll the egg washed log in sugar (I don’t bother using fancy sugar because you can get the same crunch and sweet touch with regular sugar, and that’s just easier for me).
Now, carefully cut the log into ½” slices and place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown.
Tips and Tricks:
- One of the best things about this recipe is that you can make these ahead of time at most of the stages.
- Prep the dough and leave it rolled up in the fridge up to a week.
- Bake the cookies and serve them a few days later
- Freeze the sliced dough and bake as you want to a few cookies at a time
- Freeze the whole log in plastic wrap and take out when you want to bake
- You can use instant espresso, instant regular coffee or instant decaf coffee in this recipe interchangeably. Use what you have in the house to keep it simple.
Looking for other simple dessert recipes? Check these out!
Coffee chocolate chunk shortbread cookie
- for the cookie dough
- 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 scant cups all purpose flour that means, don't overfill the cups
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee grounds
- 1 teaspoon course kosher salt
- 6 oz chocolate chunks or chips or more if you like
- for egg wash and crunch before baking
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- to make the dough
- in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars, vanilla and coffee together until fluffy
- with the mixer on low, add the flour in slowly, then speed up a bit until it's just incorporated
- add in the chocolate chunks or chips and mix just until they are well distributed in the dough
- divide the in half
- lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place half of the dough on the plastic wrap and use your hands to form into a log about 2 ½" in diameter.
- then use the plastic wrap to tighten up the log and wrap it well.
- repeat with other half of dough and then place both logs in the fridge for at least two hours but up to 5 days
- when ready to bake
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- crack the egg for the egg wash into a small bowl and beat well
- take the log of cookie dough out of the fridge, unroll, but leave sitting on the plastic wrap
- using a pastry brush or paper towel, coat the outside of the log with the egg wash and then use 1 tablespoon of sugar to coat the outside of the cookie dough log
- slice the cookies into about ½" slices
- place cookies on prepared baking sheets and bake 15-18 minutes until just golden brown
- when done, let cool on baking rack completely
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