Why I'm Making My Favorite Christmas Cookie During Quarantine

For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute!

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Alison Roman's Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread for the Last Call for Summer episode of The Kitchen, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

I’ve been baking a lot lately. Not all that shocking, given the circumstances, I know. Though boxed brownies have been heavy on my baking rotation, there’s something about Alison Roman’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread that I just can’t resist. During the last eight weeks of quarantine, I’ve made them three different times! And I’m one-thousand-percent sure I won’t be stopping anytime soon.

I first came across the recipe last year, during Christmas time. Like most people, baking cookies is a large part of my family’s holiday traditions, but I wanted to add something different to our yearly lineup of jelly-filled thumbprints, red velvet crinkles and frosted sugar cookies. The minute I saw the words “salted” and “chocolate” used together in the title of this recipe, I knew I had found what I had been looking for.

For those of you who aren’t big on sweet-and-salty desserts, I can fully guarantee that these shortbread cookies will be the ones that’ll convert you into a fan. My dad was very skeptical when he initially saw me sprinkling them with flaky sea salt last December; now whenever he sees me prepping a sheet pan or cookie tray, he enthusiastically asks me if these cookies are the ones I’ll be making. Nine times out of ten, the answer is “yes.”

Apart from their delicious melt-in-your-mouth flavor, I also love their crumbly texture. Unlike regular chocolate chip cookies — which use pretty uniform chocolate chips — you need to chop bittersweet chocolate by hand to make these shortbreads. This leaves you with variously shaped chunks that not only make every single one of your cookies unique in their own special way, it ensures that no two bites are exactly the same. As someone who isn’t the most technical baker, I like knowing that these cookies don’t need to look perfect in order to taste perfect.

As if that wasn’t enough, the very last reason I keep making these amazing cookies is because they remind me of better times spent with family and friends. Though there are exactly 231 days until next Christmas, making, baking and eating these treats gives me hope. Hope that one day soon this will all be over, and we’ll all be together once again. In the meantime, I’ll be in my kitchen baking.

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