Holiday Baking

By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director, TFCB

espresso cookies I don’t do a lot of baking for the holiday season, although I do typically make at least one batch of cookies. This year, I’m going to make espresso shortbread (left) again. It was a huge hit last year.

I realize this has almost nothing to do with publishing, but since most of the people who are reading this blog entry today are either on break or soon to be so, I figure it’s fair play. And the recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cooking magazines—Fine Cooking—so I figure it’s close enough. Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread

(Makes about 30 cookies)


1-1/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 ounces flour

1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans (you can use instant too, if necessary)


5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (it’s worth it to use a high-quality chocolate such as Valrhona or Ghirardelli if you can find it at your grocery or kitchen stores)

1/2 tablespoon canola oil

1. To make the cookies, blend the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. (For me, it works better to do this by hand than with a mixer.)

2. Sift the ground coffee into the flour mixture and add to the butter mixture, combining until the dough pulls together and forms a ball easily.

3. Prepare two cookie sheets by placing parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat on each one.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out individual cookies and place them on the cookie sheets.

5. Chill the cookies on the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake both sheets of cookies at once, using racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

7. Bake the cookies for about 35 minutes (yes, it really takes that long), until the tops look dry and the color has darkened a bit. For even baking, switch the sheets about halfway through baking so the top sheet is on the bottom and the bottom sheet is on top for the final baking time.

8. When cookies are done, allow them to cool completely before dipping in the chocolate. (I take them off the sheets and cool them on clean parchment paper.)


1. Melt the chocolate with the canola oil in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, put the chocolate in a small saucepan placed over simmering water in a larger saucepan.

2. When the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Don’t separate the sections of the double boiler or the two saucepans, since the chocolate needs to stay warm and smooth for the dipping.

3. Set each dipped cookie onto parchment paper and allow the chocolate to set (about 2 hours) before serving and/or storing the cookies.

These cookies are fabulous with coffee! Happy Holidays, and check in next week for more from TFCB.