Chocolate Shortbread

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: about 24
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Ingredients

For the cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Sanding sugar, for decorating

Directions

  1. Make the cookies: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter, egg yolk, vanilla, salt and cloves in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder until combined, then beat in the flour in two batches until combined.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and dust with flour. Gently knead until soft but not sticky. Reflour the surface, if necessary, and roll out the dough until slightly thicker than 1/4 inch. Cut out shapes using 3-inch cookie cutters. Gently gather and reroll the scraps. (If the dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate until firm.) Arrange the cutouts about 2 inches apart on 2 unlined baking sheets.
  3. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are firm, about 20 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes on the pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  4.  Make the icing: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth. Gradually stir in up to 1 more tablespoon milk until the icing is thick but pourable. Spoon the icing into a small resealable plastic bag and snip off a corner. Pipe the icing on the cookies, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let set, about 10 minutes.