Chocolate chip shortbread cookies are a buttery treat that have just the right combination of chocolate chunks, salt and butter for a simple but fabulous cookie. Easily made into mini treats, definitely double the recipe to freeze a batch for later.
Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies have been all over Instagram since Alison Roman’s cookbook Dining In came out. I love her recipe and made just a few of my own tweeks, it was definitely worth the cost of the cookbook alone.
It’s hard to improve on my favorite chocolate chip cookies, but this recipe is completely different. It’s not a typical chocolate cookie at all but a buttery shortbread with chocolate chunks.
Why you’ll love chocolate shortbread cookies
- They are easy to make
- You can make them mini and everything is better mini
- Perfect to give as a gift for a hostess, teacher, or just for a friend
- It only requires a few ingredients
- You can store the dough in the freezer for a make-ahead treat
What you’ll need
- Bittersweet chocolate – to offset the sweet, bittersweet chocolate is the perfect addition. You need to cut the chocolate in pieces so a bar of chocolate will work better than chocolate chips.
- Demerara sugar – see below about why I use this sugar vs granulated sugar. You can also use Turbinado sugar.
- Flaky sea salt – for a perfect finishing touch
- Pantry staples – egg, flour, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salted butter
How do you make this salted chocolate chip shortbread recipe
Most cookies are easy to make and are pretty forgiving if you aren’t an experienced baker. These have just a few steps, but you will need at least a hand mixer.
Step 1: Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. This will take a couple of minutes. Then add the flour and vanilla and then the chocolate.
I used a good quality baking bar that I chopped into different sized chunks. By having some chunks larger than others, you get some gooey chocolate bites and some bites that are just buttery goodness. Don’t make the chunks too big though or it will be difficult to slice.
Step 2: Divide the dough in half and form into two logs. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. These are even better if you can refrigerate overnight.
Step 3: Brush the outside with a beaten egg and roll in some Demerara sugar so that you get a little sweetness.. Then slice into ½ inch rounds and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and bake. If the dough starts to crumble when sliced, let it warm up a little.
I normally bake with unsalted butter, so if that’s what you have on hand, just add 1 teaspoon of salt. I have made them both ways. Sometimes I forget to add the flaky sea salt, while still delicious without it, they are even better with a little salt to offset the sweet.
Pro tip: These are easy to make using salted butter. If you don’t have salted butter, just add 1 teaspoon of salt.
- You can melt some chocolate chunks and dunk half a baked shortbread cookie in them for a different look.
- Toffee bits would make another great addition to the cookie. You could go half and half with chocolate and toffee or just use toffee 100%.
Demerara sugar & other sugars to bake with
The most common sugar is granulated white sugar which is a refined sugar that has been processed to remove the molasses. Brown sugar has the molasses added back in. But there are lots of other sugars out there that are great to use for desserts and baked goods. Demerara is one of my favorites. It is a minimally refined raw sugar with large crystals and a light brown color.
Turbinado sugar is very similar. Another option with a stronger molasses flavor is Muscovado. It is an unrefined raw sugar that has not had the molasses removed. It’s great to use when you want a stronger molasses flavor like in barbecue sauces.
Another option you will see is Sanding sugar which is a large clear crystal that will not melt when heated so it’s ideal for decorating cookies and cakes. You can generally find these in the baking aisle.
Tips for making the BEST chocolate chip cookies
- Use SALTED butter
- Use a good quality chocolate
- Don’t over mix the dough
- Keep the chocolate chunks small so that it’s easier to slice the cookies
- Refrigerate overnight if possible
- Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little flaky sea salt
These cookies did not stay around the house long, everyone loved this variation of a traditional chocolate chip cookie. We loved them so much that for the Super Bowl, I made mini ones to use for markers for our Super Bowl bingo.
The mini ones are also great to give as gifts, just the right size for a sweet treat. We made two batches of minis for Natalie to give to her friends.
If you love buttery shortbread but need a little chocolate, this is the perfect cookie for you.
FAQs and tips
Shortbread is a traditional dessert from Scotland and the name comes from the fact that it has a high fat content in the dough – one part sugar to two parts butter. You end up with a soft, buttery crumb that’s almost like a pastry the way it melts in your mouth. Some shortbread is created to look like a cracker or biscuit; mine are cookies.
The fat used in cookies and other regular shortbread recipes is often butter. However, Scottish shortbread often relies on vegetable shortening or a combo of butter and shortening. This changes the end result where the texture is more firm and it has a distinct crunch.
It is a minimally refined raw sugar with large crystals and a light brown color. I like to use it in place of granulated sugar.
Yes, these cookies can be frozen once you’ve formed it into a log or after they have been baked.
More Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes
Adapted from Dining In
Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
- 18 tablespoons SALTED butter room temp
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate cut into chunks
- 1 egg beaten
- Demerara sugar
- flaky sea salt
- With an electric mixer beat both sugars and butter until light and fluffy, mix in vanilla. Add flour and mix until combined. Add chunks of chocolate and mix just until combined.
- Divide dough in half and place each on plastic wrap. Shape each into a 2 ½ inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or longer until it is firm, or 30 minutes in the freezer.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Brush the outside of the logs with beaten egg and roll in Demerara sugar. Slice into ½ inch rounds and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until just beginning to brown, if mini cookies, 10-12 minutes.
- Makes 32 large cookies or 145 mini cookies
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can freeze the rolls and thaw when ready to make.
- If the dough starts to crumble when you slice it, let it warm up a litte.
- Try slicing with a serrated knife.
- Make sure the chocolate is cut in small enough pieces that you can slice the cookies. If making mini cookies, chop the chocolate even smaller.
- Don’t over mix the dough.