alison roman’s chocolate chunk shortbread cookies

I know, I know. another variation on chocolate chip cookies.

between me visiting family and then some people crashing with me in d.c., the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. one of the fun parts about visitors is it gives me the excuse to do all the fun touristy things, like the burning man exhibit at the renwick gallery and some commercial therapy in georgetown. but on the flip side, I usually meal prep on the weekend, and with my weekends otherwise occupied, it’s been a lot of ramen and frozen dumplings (and piles of dirty laundry washed at 11pm on a weekday) the last few weeks.

color-changing psychedelic mushrooms at the renwick gallery.

we’re also in the midst of peach season down here, so there’s basically a fire sale on peaches at the local farmers markets. I did have a beautiful peach buttermilk cake planned, but alas, I forgot that my baking powder had aluminum, and it turns out aluminum and the acid in peaches produce blue streaks that made my delicious baked effort look like the cake version of blue cheese. one of these days, I’ll get back to the peach cake. not to brag, but I packed some out for an outing to a virginia winery this past weekend, and it was a huge hit once I promised my friends it was not, in fact, laced with mold.

in the meanwhile, I just love a good cookie recipe, and this recipe by alison roman combines my two favorite things to bake: shortbread and chocolate chip cookies. this is a recipe that benefits from really good dark chocolate, so I whipped out my fancy artisan 70% cacao chocolate bar, with a flavor so dark and concentrated, it tastes almost fruity. and with that lovely, buttery, crumbly texture that defines a good shortbread, these cookies gave my favorite chocolate chip cookie variation a serious run for its money.

makes 24 cookies

255g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp kosher salt + more for sprinkling
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
50g (1/4 cup, packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
325g (2 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour*
170g (6oz) bittersweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped*
demerara sugar, for rolling

alison roman. salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookies. new york times. 19 january 2018. accessed 8 august 2018.

1 line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2 using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla on medium-high until super light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes for stand mixer, 6-8 minutes for hand mixer. (you can also beat by hand, using a wooden spoon; it’ll just take a little longer.) using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and with mixer on low, slowly add flour, followed by chocolate chunks, and mix until just blended. knead dough with hands to make sure flour is fully incorporated. the dough should be smooth and feel like play-doh, with no pockets of flour.
3 divide dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. loosely wrap the dough, then roll the dough into a 6-inch-long log, ~2-in in diameter. chill in fridge until totally firm, ~2 hours.
4 heat oven to 350ºF. roll logs in demerara sugar, then using a serrated knife, slowly and carefully slice each log into 1/2-in rounds. if the cookies break or fall apart, just press them back together. place rounds on prepared baking sheets ~1-in apart. sprinkle with flaky salt.
5 bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12-15 minutes. let cool slightly, then serve immediately.
* shortbread walks a thin line between too buttery (which will cause the cookie to spread) and too crumbly (which will cause the cookie to fall apart) – this recipe works much more reliably if ingredients are measured by weight, not volume.
* irregularly chopped chocolate chunks are a bit of a pain to prep, but really help add moisture to the dough and give the cookie a more varied texture.

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