Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


These chocolaty shortbread cookies are great little cookies on their own; but are very versatile, too. You can decorate them with powdered sugar, melted chocolate, or royal icing—or fill them with frosting, ganache, or caramel to make sandwich cookies. The possibilities are endless!

cutout chocolate shortbread cookies decorated with bears
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Cool Time:
50 mins
Chill Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
60 cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (Optional)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Sift together 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. Beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 separate additions, mixing until just combined after each addition, until a thick dough forms. Flatten dough into a large disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  3. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Knead any dough scraps back together, re-roll, and cut out more cookies as needed. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on the lined baking sheets, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  6. Bake cookies in the preheated oven, 1 baking sheet at a time, until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cook's Notes:

I used Hershey's Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. If you refrigerate the dough for longer than 30 minutes, it will be as hard as a brick. If this happens, simply let the dough sit at room temp for a few minutes before rolling. You want the dough to be chilled, but still manageable.

The amount of the cookies and the baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the dough and the size of the cookie cutter(s) used. I got 60 cookies out of this recipe using a 1-1/2-inch cookie cutter.

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