Chocolate Espresso Shortbreads

If you like coffee and chocolate together, you're going to love this shortbread cookie. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, so I froze most of them the first time I made them. My daughter and I ate them right out of the freezer. They are bad as peanuts! Why is it we always think if the cookie is small, we aren't eating as much? I end up eating twice as many!  :) Unfortunately, I make them all the time as they're perfect for last minute company and there they are, ready to go, in the freezer.

And here's the best part: you're going to love the idea of putting the dough in a plastic bag to roll out. No fuss, no mess. Brilliant.

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
via Smitten Kitchen

Makes 42 cookies
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder1 tablespoon boiling water2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract2 cups all-purpose flour4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chipsConfectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
Method:Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid. 
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula. 
Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days. 

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet. 
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack. 
If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.