Up your shortbread game by sandwiching easy roll-and-slice shortbread cookies with a delicious dark chocolate ganache. Perfection with coffee or tea. Check out more easy cookies on the Simple Cookie Recipes page.
I hope you're not cookied-out yet during this season of sweets, because this recipe for espresso walnut shortbread cookies sandwiched with dark chocolate ganache is a keeper. It's like a perfect storm: so good with coffee or tea, pretty to look at and easy to make.
Are you a shortbread fan? I've always loved it - and it was 'real food' before it was cool: at its basic, it's just butter, flour and a bit of sugar (they are usually a low-sugar cookie). From that base the variations are almost endless. You can add flavorings (vanilla, maple, mint, citrus), different sugars, flours, and add-ins and then shape them in all kinds of ways (wedges, rectangles, circles, etc.) to create completely different types of cookies.
For this recipe I knew I wanted to add espresso powder and walnuts to the shortbread with chocolate somewhere for a mocha flavor. And what better way than a simple dark chocolate ganache filling to make a shortbread sandwich cookie? Oh and more chocolate drizzles just because more. chocolate.
Although I could totally see these half-dipped in melted chocolate, too. There are always options!
Sometimes shortbread recipes can be fussy - calling for rolling, cutting and pricking individual cookies. I rarely have time for that, especially during the busy holiday season, so I developed this recipe to be an easy slice-and-bake type of shortbread.
The one thing to aim for when making shortbread is to have the dough remain clumpy after mixing - I'm not really sure how else to say it, but your dough should not form one large ball, since that means it's either too wet or it's been overworked. You can see the dough pictured above with different sized pieces of dough remaining after being mixed.
It still comes together easily after dividing the dough onto two pieces of waxed paper and rolling them into log shapes. There are walnuts in the dough as well as rolled on the outside - I didn't worry about totally covering the outside, just a dusting of finely chopped nuts is good.
I pressed a few of the chopped nuts that were left on the waxed paper after cutting into some of the cookie tops before baking and made sure to use those for cookie tops, which is why there are some cookies with a nut topping and some without.
After making the easy ganache - it's one of my favorites, using butter instead of cream - and using it to sandwich the cookies together, melt a few more chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookie tops. Like most shortbread, these cookies freeze beautifully, making them perfect for giving - or keeping them out of sight so you don't eat them all!
Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookies with Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 ¼ cup flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts divided
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or regular instant coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips plus extra for chocolate drizzle
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Make Shortbread:
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts. Beat well, scraping once, until dough just starts to come together, but with different sized pieces remaining.
- Divide dough onto 2 sheets of waxed paper. Roll one part of the divided dough into a log shape, about 2-inches in diameter and then roll the log in half of the remaining nuts, pressing lightly (it won't completely cover the log). Wrap the log with the waxed paper and repeat with remaining dough. Chill logs until firm, about 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silicone or parchment.
- Cut each chilled log into thin rounds (as thin as possible, 1/8-1/4" thick) and place closely together on prepared sheets (they won't spread). Note: If you'd like, you can add any chopped nuts remaining on the waxed papers to top some of the cookie rounds, pressing them in slightly - use these for the sandwich cookie tops.
- Bake 13-15 minutes, turning pans once if needed for even cooking, until bottoms are browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make Ganache Filling:
- Place chocolate and butter in a glass bowl and heat in microwave 45 seconds. Stir until melted (it will take a bit, but don't heat anymore - it will become smooth). Alternately, use a double boiler on the stove to melt the chocolate and butter together. It should be thick enough to spread, but if not, leave at room temperature for 15-30 minutes for it to thicken.
- Spread about 1 teaspoon of filling onto one cookie half and top with another similar-sized cookie. Repeat until all cookies are used.
- Melt a few more chocolate chips and use a fork to add a drizzle over the cookies. Let sit (or refrigerate) until set and store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for longer storage.