When I think of shortbread cookies, I think of simplicity. Shortbread cookies usually have a high percentage of fat and slightly less sugar than other cookies, leaving you with a not-too-sweet cookie that has a nice buttery flavor to it. I like them plain, but because they are often plain they are a great foil for other flavors to be added. Like chocolate chips, for instance.
I gave some basic chocolate chip cookies a shortbread cookie makeover in this recipe. I used brown sugar, salt and vanilla in addition to butter to incorporate some of the flavors often found in chocolate chip cookies. I also added a generous amount of chocolate chips, of course! Brown sugar has a way of making cookies slightly chewy, so I added in a little bit of cornstarch to help the cookies stay a little bit crisper and more shortbread-like, although I have to say that these are not the super-crisp variety of shortbread cookie in the end anyway. What they are is easy to make and flavorful, with a nice balance of butter, chocolate, sugar and salt that is perfect to satisfy just about any cookie craving.
This dough should be refrigerated for about an hour before using it, so you can slice it easily into even cookies. If you want to make it further in advance, or only want to bake some of the cookies off at a time, you can freeze the dough (probably for about 2-3 weeks, well wrapped) and defrost it in the fridge before baking. I used dark chocolate in these cookies, but feel free to go with semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate or a mixture of different chocolates to get a cookie that suits any given chocolate craving.
Dark Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt (pref. kosher salt)
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Blend in vanilla extract and salt. Sift flour and cornstarch over the bowl and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Dough may still look crumbly, even after everything is incorporated, and this is ok. Stir in dark chocolate and press dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter with your hands.
Wrap dough log in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice dough log into rounds less than 1/4-in thick (thinner rounds will yield crispier cookies, thicker will be slightly chewier) with a sharp knife. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.