I can be a creature of habit. Birthdays are celebrated with brunch in San Lorenzos, and after a day in the pub (usually Galway Bay’s Against The Grain) you’ll find me inhaling a cheeseburger (just ketchup, please) in Bunsen. Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new things. But when something is that good, I can’t help but return time and time again.
Friday is cookie and hot chocolate day. Actually, any day can be cookie and hot chocolate day, but if it’s any day other than a Friday there’s usually something wrong! Although I pass a couple of gorgeous bakeries on the way to work, I always end up in the same place: The Dublin Cookie Company. They’re super friendly and their cookies are addictive. Too addictive. I’ve bought 3 and devoured them before lunch several times. They’ve just celebrated a year in business on Thomas Street and given how many regular customers they seem to have (‘the usual?’) I don’t think they’re in danger of going anywhere any time soon.
As a serious chocoholic (baked goods, rarely chocolate bars) I’m always drawn towards their peanut butter whoopie pies or their chocolate shortbread. (Or whatever shortbread they happen to have – Irish flags for St. Patrick’s Day at the moment.) This post should have been an attempt at recreating their whoopie pies at home, but since my husband is allergic to peanuts, the idea of eating a whole batch myself was too much even for this chocolate addict. So here I am, sharing my recipe for chocolate shortbread biscuits. I’m not going to break my Friday habit, but these are a brilliant substitute for when I’m at home.
Tip: I like to roll my dough out between two pieces of parchment (this works well for tart pastry too – adapting Rachel Allen’s cling film tip) and then refrigerate it before baking. Cocoa powder can make biscuit dough difficult to work with so I find it easier to roll it out when it’s soft.
Makes 8 large hearts
120g butter, softened
60g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
115g plain flour
35g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the butter mixture.
Gently mix to form a soft dough. If you’re using an electric mixture, start on a slow setting, then scrape down any remaining flour from the attachment and give the dough a quick mix on a fast setting until it just combines.
Tip the dough out onto a large piece of parchment. Form it into one piece and place another large piece of parchment on top.
Roll the dough out evenly to about ¼ inch thick.
Place the dough, in the parchment, into the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180ºc.
Remove the dough from the fridge and gently peel off the top layer of parchment.
Using a cookie cutter, stamp out whatever shapes you want – I went for large hearts – and place on a lined baking tray. Return to the fridge for 10 minutes.
Gather the remaining dough together and repeat the rolling – chilling – stamping.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until firm but not starting to colour around the edges.
Leave the biscuits on the baking tray for 5 minutes, the remove to a wire rack to cool.
For an extra chocolatey treat, dip your cookies in chocolate (white is good) and enjoy with a glass of milk!