Buttery, sweet Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are a surprising departure from your typical shortbread cookie recipe. Perfectly chocolate-y with a light dusting of cocoa powder to perfectly balance each bite. Betcha can’t eat just one.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies on a white marble board.

Originally published December 2012 and updated December 2019.

I used to organize a cookie swap at my office.  It turned out pretty well given that I originally started with five people and I think we ended up with about 10!  Ten different cookie recipes and plenty to take home.  It was a lot of fun….plus, it gave us all about an hour away from our cubicles.  There were so many different cookies that I had never tried before.  It really opened up my cookie world. 🙂

Then, I left to become The Suburban Soapbox and was left to my own devices to expand my cookie palate, so to speak.  I think I did pretty well over the year coming up with some real clever creations like these Macadamia Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies and then baking up the OG Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie.

But my absolute favorite it my debut cookie, Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Bites.  These are incredibly, tasty, little morsels of buttery perfection with just the right amount of chocolate.  Make sure to dust them with cocoa powder before serving, even though it may seem odd….don’t skip this step because it makes a huge difference.  If giving as a gift, package them with a small amount of sifted cocoa powder in a little bag so your gift recipient can dust them themselves.

Chocolate Shortbread cookies on a white marble board.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit made with sugar, lots of butter and flour.  Other ingredients can be added to create variations in flavor as we did here for this Chocolate Shortbread recipe.

Cocoa powder is added to this chocolate shortbread cookie dough to create a rich, deep flavor without adding moisture so you still have the same great, firm texture you get with traditional shortbread recipes.

Very similar to a sugar cookie recipe, shortbread cookies are not quite as sweet and have a more dense crumbly texture where sugar cookies are lighter, crispier and most definitely much sweeter.

Cocoa powdered being dusted on a shortbread cookie.

HOW TO MAKE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add the sugar and continue to beat approximately 2 minutes or until light in color and fluffy being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to stir on low-speed until the flour is incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, no less than an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicon baking mat.
  6. Using your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until firm.  Cool on a wire rack and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Overhead shot of chocolate shortbread cookies on a white marble board.

TIPS FOR MAKING SHORTBREAD COOKIES

  • You can make the dough in advance, in fact, it’s better if you let it chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to five days. 
  • The dough is even freezer friendly if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Be sure to thaw completely before trying to roll into balls. 
  • Be sure to use room temperature butter, it will make your life much easier. If your butter is too cold, cut into cubes and allow to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Change things up by making variations on your chocolate shortbread by mixing in chopped nuts or a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough.

These Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Bites are fantastic as part of your holiday cookie tray but I love making them for Valentine’s day or just as a mid-winter treat to enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa.

Close up of chocolate shortbread cookies with a bite taken out of it.

Looking for more easy family friendly sweet treats? Follow us over on Instagram!

MORE SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPES

Stack of 4 Millionaire Shortbread Bars on a cupcake stand.

 

Cocoa powdered being dusted on a shortbread cookie.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Bites are super easy to make and the dough can be made days in advance for easy preparation.
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Equipment

  • baking sheet

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add the sugar and continue to beat approximately 2 minutes or until light in color and fluffy being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to stir on low-speed until the flour is incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, no less than an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicon baking mat.
  • Using your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until firm.
  • Cool on a wire rack and dust with cocoa powder before serving.
Calories: 269kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 27mg, Potassium: 69mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 473IU, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg