Exquisite Dark Chocolate Shortbread

Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.
– Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 4

"Exquisite Dark Chocolate Shortbread," from Make It Like a Man!

These exquisite dark chocolate shortbread cookies are the dark-black, chocolatiest cookies I’ve ever had. They’re so dark and so chocolatey that they are almost too chocolatey. Yes, I just said that. They are almost too chocolatey. They’re darker than bittersweet chocolate. I’ve never encountered anything like them. This recipe is perfect … so perfect, in fact, that these cookies may not be for everybody. It may take something of an advanced palate to enjoy a cookie that’s gone this far to the dark side.

Are they Christmassy? Well … I don’t know. Is my black Christmas tree Christmassy? My black ornaments? These cookies do look fantastic on a cookie plate, and you could easily cut them into Christmas shapes … stars, for instance – which you could decorate with crushed candy cane.

What you need to make ca. 18 cookies:

8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted (5 oz.)
2 Tbs chocolate liqueur (1.25 oz.)
1½ cups AP flour (4.125 oz. bread flour plus 3.375 cake flour)
¾ cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder (2.5 oz.)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (2 oz.), crushed (in a Ziploc, with a rolling pin)
¼ tsp kosher salt


Paddle butter to fluffy, 3 min. Mix in sugar just until blended. Add liqueur. Whisk flour, cocoa, nibs, salt. Add flour mixture in three additions. Form a disc, wrap it, and chill it for 1 hour or more than a week. Pre-heat to 325ºF. Prep sheet with Silpat or parchment. Roll shortbread to ¼-inch and cut cookies. Bake 8 min., rotate pan, and bake 8-10 min. Cool. Draw a design with melted white chocolate, royal icing, or a powdered sugar glaze. Optionally, sprinkle your chocolate/icing/glaze with white sanding sugar.

Note: I found cacao nibs at my favorite local grocery store, in the section where they sell sports supplements and Mayan superfoods, yeah, you know … that aisle. Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks, and broken into smaller pieces. This is the first step in making chocolate, so if you eat cacao nibs, you’re eating chocolate in it’s least-processed form. Apparently, they’re good for you. They taste like chocolate, sort of, but much earthier and with decidedly coffee overtones.

"Exquisite Dark Chocolate Shortbread," from Make It Like a Man!

Exquisite Dark Chocolate Shortbread

This content was not solicited, sponsored, or written in exchange for anything. (This recipe is a modification of one from “Intensely Chocolate,” by Carole Bloom.)

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19 thoughts on “Exquisite Dark Chocolate Shortbread

  1. Wow. Definitely chocolates! I have a suggestion. My mother, when she made chocolate mousse, always added some coffee in some form. I’m wondering if, the next time you make this shortbread, if you could add coffee liqueur instead, or a little powdered espresso. I swear they will taste even better. And no one can tell what it is, but the coffee enhances the chocolatiness!

    • You know, good idea! I used to add a little bit of coffee to most of my chocolate cakes. But I married a guy who doesn’t like coffee – I know, you’d think that’d qualify as an irreconcilable difference – and he can tell if I add any coffee! (Fortunately, that is one of the very few foods he doesn’t like.)

  2. I once tried eating cacao nibs. They’re pretty bitter but I guess that just goes to show you how processed chocolate is when we get it! This recipe is a good excuse for me to go out and buying a bottle of chocolate liquer booze. Just like how I went out and bought a bottle of orange liqueur for my recent cheesecake. Do you find, Jeff, that you have bottles of booze left in your cupboard too from using in recipes?

    • Are you kidding? You should see how stocked my liquor cabinet is! When people see it, they usually think I’m an expert drink maker, but I’m really not. It’s mainly from either cooking, or making a special drink for a special dinner or party.

  3. You weren’t lying when you said dark chocolate cookies! Holy cow, these are dark cookies. Dark like the Grinch’s heart. Well, that is before he discovers Christmas joy…at which point his heart turns into milk chocolate shortbread. But I digress. (Imagine that!) Love the thought of a dark, dark cookie. I bet Santa will love this one, too!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

  4. Jeff you’ve gone to the dark side on this one and a good dark side at that.
    Here we make a dense chocolate torte called Gladkaka (OK, I didn’t make it up) that I’ve used chocolate liquor in, but I’ve never played with chocolate nibs. My wife says there’s nothing that contains too much chocolate, I might have to test these on her and see.
    Best of the Holiday Season to you guys over there.
    Ron recently posted…Lussekatter, Glögg and Swedish Christmas Traditions

    • Nibs are supposed to be good for you. Some people just munch them. They’re good in muffins.

    • One of my local grocers carries them. Are you in Chicago by some chance? I get them at Mariano’s. But they don’t stock them in the food aisles. They put them with the supplements.

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