Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I haven't picked up a paintbrush or even a magic marker for years, but when I was in grade school, art was one of my favorite subjects.  My mother saved some of my art, and looking back at it with the eyes of an adult rather than a self-conscious child, some of it was quite good.

But always, whenever I drew there would be a great disconnect between what I saw in my head and what I was able to translate onto the page.

I've never been one of those people who say: oh, I have no idea what to draw.  To be honest, I was the kind of kid who would always have a secret hope that this would be it--this will be my masterpiece.  My Picasso. My Dali.  My Calvin and Hobbes.

Usually, I ended up with a doodle that looked like a horse-shaped potato.

I was always so envious of people who could draw what seemed to be a few splotches and convey intense emotions with images that no words could express.  Like Miro.

 I kind of feel that way about these Martha Stewart shortbread cookies.  I had such great success with my rosemary chocolate chip shortbread of a few days ago, the next logical step in my shortbread progression would seem to be a dense, buttery, rich chocolate shortbread.  Martha's cookies were good, but somewhat crispier than I desired, although I wouldn't characterize them as sandy, like some of the commentators on her website. Still, to me, chocolate shortbread should be 'melt in your mouth' and these are more like 'melt in your coffee.' Also, they didn't flatten out into discs as I hoped they would, like the other shortbread recipe I baked in a muffin tin.

Next time I may reduce the baking time (I already reduced it from the original because I made them as circular, rather than scored cookies). I did add the chocolate chips, but I don't think that made the cookies so crisp, and as I said many of the other posters felt that the cookies were also not rich and buttery enough.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Shortbread

--yields 16 small cookies--

(adapted from Martha Stewart)


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (use a light hand)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 300F.  Prepare your pan. I used a nonstick muffin tin to create circular cookies. 
2. Cream butter and sugar.  Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Spread evenly into the depressions of the muffin tin, just enough to cover the surface of each cup.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, until firm and crisp around the edges.
5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tray.

However, while my execution may not have been the Platonic ideal of shortbread in my mind, at least my graphic arts skills are not as bad as the creator of this sign.  lol!


  1. I want that sign for my office.

    When I was in kindergarten, I painted a bunch of multi-colored squiggly lines interspersed with multi-colored dots. My teacher praised it for its "psychedelic" quality. (It was 1969.) I continued to paint the same thing every week for the rest of the year. Even at age 5, I was a complete hack.

  2. @flurrious--that sign would be PERFECT for an office door! If the original creator could sell the photo as posters, he or she could become enough to leave the artistic profession, hopefully!

    I am sure I did the same with my grade school art--actually, I think I alternated between trying to please teachers, doing the opposite of what was expected in a stubborn and intentional way...or most often, having no clue of what was expected and being 'original' in a manner that caused the art teacher's nose to wrinkle with disdain.