Salted chocolate chip shortbread cookies

salty-sweet pink moon treat

For today’s newsletter I made salted chocolate chip shortbread cookies by Alison Roman via the New York Times cooking section. They were a delight to eat! 

I am 100% a salty-sweet person; it is the best combination and I can’t get enough of it. I also fell in love with chocolate chip shortbread when I tried some from a bakery while traveling. So, when I found this recipe I was inspired to try it! 

Since there is a pink moon coming tomorrow, I also wanted to make something sweet and delightful in the spirit of this spring full moon.

April’s full Moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata—commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox—which also went by the name “moss pink.” 

Thanks to this seasonal association, this full Moon came to be called the “Pink” Moon!

These cookies have the velvety, short texture inside you hope from shortbread, with crispy, crunchy demerara-coated edges. The buttery, salty-sweet, and chocolaty flavor can’t be beat if you’re in the mood for a bit of a ‘fancier’ chocolate chip cookie. They take some work to produce (they require rolling into logs, chilling for 2 hours, and slicing—on top of making the dough and baking) but it’s worth it! They are also beautiful—I love the sparkle from the demerara sugar and the cookies’ muted color. I think they’d make a great holiday cookie, too.

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…and read on for the full cookie recipe. Make these today or tomorrow and enjoy them while you watch the super pink moon rise tomorrow night!


Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:  

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (aka 2 1/4 sticks) salted butter (cold, if you’re using a stand mixer, or room temperature, if you’re using a handheld mixer) —> it’s gotta be salted butter! since these are salted shortbread cookies :)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar —> I used dark brown sugar because that is what I had 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (not too finely chopped) —> I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chocolate chopped into chunks—since I had those in my pantry—and eyeballed the amount for the dough when I added them in

1 large egg, beaten
demerara sugar, for rolling
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling 

To make the dough:

1. Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Measure in granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. —> If you’re using room temperature butter and a handheld mixer like I did, mash all together a bit with a fork first to get the mixing started; this helps everything combine. 

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or an electric handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla on medium-high until light and fluffy (6-8 minutes for a hand mixer, 3-5 minutes for a stand mixer). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed while you’re mixing. 

3. When butter/sugars/vanilla are sufficiently beaten, scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add flour slowly, followed by chocolate chunks or chips, mixing with the mixer on low until just combined.  

4. The dough will look and feel crumbly; knead the dough with your hands a bit inside the bowl to make sure the flour is totally incorporated. —> The original recipe says kneading may be necessary, but I found it definitely was since the dough is so crumbly.

5. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log—6 inches long and about 2 to 2 1/4 inches in diameter. The original recipe suggests doing this with plastic wrap and rolling on a counter if needed; I used parchment paper instead of plastic wrap to make the logs. To do this, I shaped a mound of dough onto a piece of parchment paper, folded the paper over the mound, and squeezed into a log shape. I repeated with the second half of the dough on a new piece of parchment paper. —> In general, I found this dough to be very dry, so I had to squeeze tightly to bring the dough together, and that is OK because shortbread can and should be compact. Also, it doesn’t need to be a perfect log shape!

6. Wrap dough in the parchment paper (or plastic wrap) you used to form logs and chill in fridge until totally firm—about 2 hours. 

To bake: 

1. Line baking trays with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F. 

2. Brush the outside of the logs with beaten egg, and then roll them in demerara sugar. —> I first poured sugar onto a flat plate for rolling. I used my hands to help spread the egg around and lightly coat the logs in sugar. 

3. Use a serrated knife to slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. If the cookies break or fall apart, gently press them back together. —> Again, because the dough was so dry, I definitely had breakage, especially when cutting at either ends of the log. You have to be gentle and keep pressing the dough back together if necessary. 

4. Place cookies on prepared trays about 1 inch apart; they don’t spread that much while baking. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. —> I added salt to some but not all of the cookies, and I sprinkled a few with some demerara sugar I had leftover from rolling. 

5. Bake until edges are just beginning to brown—about 12 to 15 minutes. 


Thanks for reading; I hope you make these cookies and enjoy! Let me know if you try this or any other Sundays are for baking newsletter recipes. And please like, share, and subscribe!

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