Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies | Alison Roman
If you follow as many food bloggers or dessert-focused Instagram accounts as I do, you likely saw Alison Roman’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies overtaking your feed earlier this year. Known affectionately as #THECOOKIES, this unique recipe was getting rave reviews in every post I saw. Instagrammers were using terms like “MIND-BLOWING,” “LIFE-CHANGING,” and “THE BEST COOKIES I’VE EVER HAD,” so you know I had to find out for myself if #THECOOKIES were worth the hype.
This was a fun and pretty simple recipe. At first glance, I was surprised at how few ingredients were required. It calls for salted butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and flour. I had most of these in my pantry already—check! The finishing touches require dark chocolate chunks, flaky sea salt and Demerara sugar. I was a bit worried about finding the final ingredients without a boutique grocery store nearby. It took a little searching, but I found the perfect items. I picked up a giant tube of coarse sea salt at Whole Foods (365 brand so it was even inexpensive!). After looking in a few places, Target came through with this six-ounce bag of Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Baking Chunks—exactly the amount of chocolate chunks you need. I’ve ordered Demerara sugar from Amazon before, but I substituted brown sugar instead and it worked like a charm.
When I say this recipe was fun, I mean it! You start by cutting your butter into cubes and letting your trusty stand mixer do all the work to mix it with the sugars and vanilla. After adding the flour and chocolate chunks, you get to roll your dough into two little logs. Alison does a great job here of explaining exactly what to do in her instructions. She says your logs should be about six inches long and two inches in diameter. I feel like somehow exact measurements never work out for me when I bake or cook, so I got out my tape measure to see how my logs compared. To my amazement, they were perfect! *Bless you, Alison, for providing a recipe that actually turns out the way you say it will.* As a side note, it was very difficult to make cookie dough logs photogenic, so I apologize for not providing photos of this step.
After crafting your dough into logs, they need to chill for at least two hours. So, I washed my hands and enjoyed two episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as I waited. By the way, if you’re not watching, what are you even doing with your Amazon Prime account?!
Now, for the rest of the fun part. The egg wash, the rolling in the sugar, and the slicing. Once you sprinkle the flaky sea salt on top, you will be amazed at how beautiful these cookies are before they’re even baked.
Into the oven they go! Be careful of your time here. My oven tends to be a little warm, so I took my cookies out before the recommended 12 minutes. What I’ve noticed in all my cookie-baking is that you’ve got to find that perfect amount of time for each recipe. Even one minute more or less can make a big difference!
Once out of the oven, I also recommend using a very thin, stiff spatula to move your cookies from the pan to the cooling rack. I tried using a silicon spatula but it wouldn’t hold up under the density of the shortbread and they broke. This isn’t the end of the world, because the broken cookies always become my tasters! But if you want to present beautiful cookies to your guests, you’ll want to be a little more careful.
Speaking of guests, #THECOOKIES were approved by party-goers one and all. I took these to two different Christmas brunches and at each event people couldn’t get enough.
Comments I heard were:
“ARE THESE SHORTBREAD?!”
“OMG MY MIND IS BLOWN.”
”I CAN’T STOP EATING THESE COOKIES.”
”PLEASE MAKE THESE AGAIN AND AGAIN.”
In conclusion, yes, #THECOOKIES were worth the hype. I hope you’ll make them for a brunch near you soon.
You can find the full recipe with instructions at NYT Cooking or in Alison Roman’s cookbook, “Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes.”
Enjoy! Leave a comment to let me know how your batch turned out!