*I’ve partnered with Lindt to bring you this buttery shortbread, topped with squares of Lindt dark chocolate. Doesn’t it seem like a great idea? It really was.
It’s perfectly reasonable to eat shortbread for breakfast with (Bailey’s-spiked) coffee at this time of year, right? And then to keep nibbling from a stash on your kitchen counter throughout the day, like a slow dose of butter and sugar and Christmas joy?
It seems as if I’ve been on a bit of a cookie bender since the calendar struck December – two cookie exchanges in the first week, and two back to back cookie baking classes to raise money for the food bank. There’s no shortage of new ideas at this time of year, but what I really want is a good butter shortbread – and something chocolate. My dad has, for at least the past decade, kept a stash of Lindt Excellence 70% cacao bars on hand, and the stack rarely dips below half a dozen. Sometimes there are mint bars, sometimes sea salt, but mostly they’re just straight-up 70% chocolate. We all know to pick him up a handful if we see them on sale. (They’re also perfect, by the way, for chopping into chocolate chunk cookies – so I’m always on the lookout for myself, too.)
My mom’s favourite thing in the world is a piece of buttery shortbread. And so when I was asked to try making shortbread topped with squares of Lindt 70% chocolate from the Lindt holiday collection – with recipes from two of my favourite food people! – it seemed to me the ultimate combination, with a perfect ratio of chocolate:shortbread. And I love that the decoration requires only the placing of a square of chocolate atop each cookie, and sprinkling with a bit of salt, which sticks instantly to the slightly melted chocolate. (It occurs to me now that a pinch of coloured sugar or tiny sprinkles would have a similar effect for kids who are not fans of crunchy salt on top of a cookie – yet.)
The dough has a slightly higher flour:butter ratio than other shortbread doughs – the benefit here is that there’s no need to chill it, you can go ahead and roll and cut them right away. (If they start to crumble, don’t worry – press the dough together and they’ll work just fine. If you’re worried about it, hold back 1/4-1/2 cup of the flour as you mix the dough together, adding it at the end only if you need it. I used 2 1/4 cups total.)
I used salted butter instead of unsalted, since it’s what I typically have on hand, and even cookies need a bit of salt to keep them from tasting flat – so don’t think you need to make a special trip to the store. Roll the dough and cut rectangles slightly larger than the pieces of chocolate, which can be cut apart with a large knife for even edges. (If they crack, the pieces can still be fit atop the cookies – or buy bags of the individually-wrapped squares.) Cutting squares is easy, and leaves minimal scraps to re-roll. Any of the flavoured chocolates work of course, but I used the straight-up 70%, and topped each with a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. (Flaky Maldon salt is perfect and looks gorgeous, but use whatever fancy stuff you have – smoked Maldon salt would be interesting, too.)
The recipe calls for placing a piece of chocolate on top of each dough rectangle before you bake them, and that works – although the chocolate will get a bit dull and can sometimes puff up with the heat of the oven, which kind of ruins the look of its smooth surface. Another way to do it is to set a piece of chocolate on each pale golden cookie as soon as they come out of the oven – they’ll melt onto the surface of the cookies, and keep their shape and sheen. If you want to avoid breaking the bars apart – they can crack, but the pieces are just fine arranged together on the surface of each cookie – you can buy the same squares individually wrapped, no need to cut them apart at all.
These are exactly as divine as they look – they look like you fussed, yet aren’t too finicky, and strike the perfect balance of shortbread + chocolate, which is really everything you need to get you through December.
You can do it! Grab the recipe here.
Thanks to Lindt for supporting this blog! As always, all words are my own.