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Chocolate Shortbread Buttons

(recipe, Kate McDonough)


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Introduction

These cookies are deeply chocolaty and have all the richness of classic shortbread. But because they are made with cocoa instead of chocolate, they aren't too sweet. I use a small drinking glass to stamp out the two-inch discs, and then use the prongs of a fork to make two little holes, like the thread holes in a button, making them a cute addition to after-dinner coffee. Assuming they last that long, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Ingredients

  1. 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 2½ Tbsp. sugar, plus more for rolling out the dough
  3. ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract (not vanilla flavoring)
  4. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  5. 2½ Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (either natural or Dutch-processed is fine)
  6. Pinch of fine salt

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix at medium speed until completely combined and smooth. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let the dough rest. (It's OK to refrigerate the dough for longer.)
  4. Sprinkle sugar lightly on a clean counter or cutting board, add the dough, and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a ⅜-inch-thick circle. Use a 2-inch glass (a shot glass would also work) to stamp out round cookies.
  5. Transfer the discs to the sheet pan, placing the cookies about ½ inch apart (they will not spread). Use the prongs of a fork to make 2 little marks (like on a button) in the center of each disc.
  6. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven until firm to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. They will have a rich, chocolate aroma but, as with any shortbread, should not have browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.