We had a Christmas gathering again this year, and I started planning the desserts pretty early, lets just say well before Thanksgiving, and Halloween. I thought some prettily decorated sugar cookies would be a great addition.
The weekend before our party, I was baking cookies when I looked at the clock and realized I only had an hour before I needed to leave the house. Even though I made small batches of cookie dough and frosting for this test run, I still had quite a ways to go. I really don't like wasting food, and the perfectionist in my had a hard time not going all out when decorating cookies.
Cut-out cookies are great! They are beautiful! I really enjoy making each one look lovely with gold sprinkles or swirled colors. To some, cut-out cookies are engrained in Christmas tradition. It is a Christmas activity that unleashes creativity and involves all ages and baking skills.
As much as I enjoy decorating these cookies, I am not convinced that they are memorably tasty. I think I love the first cut-out sugar cookie, but after a while, I'm not that excited about them. They are a little too sweet for me and the clean up and prep takes too much time.
So my goal was to find something different, delicious, a little bit easier with less prep work, and memorable. And then I read about Espresso Shortbread with Butterscotch Glaze. Does it get more unique than this?
The espresso adds a deep, rich flavor to the shortbread, and I can't imagine a better match for this shortbread than butterscotch glaze! Add a chocolate covered espresso bean on top. Holy buckets. Lets just say there was probably WAAAAAY too much taste testing happening with these. PLUS, these cookies get better with age! I don't know how that works, but it does. The butterscotch gets gooey but the shortbread stays crumbly.
This was my first time making shortbread several times in a row, enough so that I could get a hang of what the dough should be like. There is a big difference between regular cookie dough and shortbread dough. Shortbread dough is very crumbly and sandy, due to the lack of moisture. Just remember that these are a little bit more like sweet biscuits than regular cookies.
Two things you must remember to do:
- Cut the bars within 2-5 minutes of taking them out. If you're using a square or rectangle pan, don't forget to cut down the middle.
- Butterscotch glaze: After you've smothered every inch of shortbread with butterscotch glaze, dip a very sharp knife or a pasta cutter into butter. you're going to recut the lines you've already made so that the butter scotch drips into the crevices and so that you can separate the bars without breaking them. Don't drag the knife or pasta cutter, you will pull up crumbs into the butterscotch.
Let me know what you think if you try this out! Leave me a comment below! Or take a pic, post a photo on Instagram, tag me @corrielanderson and use #itsallofit so I can see your lovely creation!
Espresso Shortbread with Butterscotch Glaze
Recipe Author: Flo Braker -- I made modifications to the ingredients (I used a variety of flours) and measurements, otherwise its pretty darn close to the original recipe!
Recipe Type: Dessert,
Serves: 4 - 5
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 HEAPING tablespoon of espresso beans, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup spelt or einkorn flour
- OR 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 - 30 chocolate covered espresso beans
- Prepare an 8 x 8 pan or 14 x 5 inch tart pan by lining it with parchment paper or lightly applying a small amount of coconut oil.
- Cream butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add vanilla extract, freshly ground espresso beans, and salt.
- Pop that baby into the fridge while you preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake for 40 - 50 minutes. The shortbread is done with it is a golden brown.
- Cut the shortbread into strips immediately. Shoot for each strip to be about an inch or a little less than an inch wide. Let the shortbread cool.
- To make the glaze, add brown sugar, butter, freshly brewed espresso, and corn syrup to a small pot. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes (setting your timer is helpful!). Then take the pot off the heat and when it is done bubbling, pour over shortbread and use a spatula to spread evenly if needed. Stick a sharp knife or ravioli cutter into butter and then recut your lines so the butterscotch fills the crevices. Top with espresso beans immediately!! (Someone I know forgot this step a couple of times. If you do, you can pop the shortbread in the oven on warm for a couple of minutes to soften the butterscotch! Don't skip out on the espresso beans, they are a nice addition to the bars!) Let the bars cool and then remove from the pan. Will keep for 1 - 2 weeks!