When thinking about making these cookies, I wanted a deep chocolate taste or more of a fudgier taste. Since the star of the show was the cocoa and the white chocolate. This, of course, means a less sweet cookie.
Most of my chocolate cookies have a sugar ratio of 2:1 (1 cup sugar to ½ cup cocoa powder) or 3:1(1-½ cup sugar to ½ cup cocoa powder). So for this cookie, it was equal parts of sugar to cocoa powder.
So I baked my cookies on Tuesday, and my husband ate one and said it was a little bitter. Well, this was not the taste I expected or wanted. So I started reading and found out that cocoa powders can be processed differently. Well, this means I need to make two different batches of cookies so I could compare.
Cocoa Powder for Cookies
I found a great site that explains more about the different types of cocoa powder at epicurious,com.
I have a big container of Hershey's 100% unsweetened cocoa powder in my pantry, which has worked well for my cookie. The reason it is called natural is because of the processing. Cocoa beans are pretty acidic. They have very little processing besides separating from the cocoa butter and grinding it into a powder.
Natural cocoa is lighter in color and has a slightly bitter taste. However, the bitterness is covered up when you add more sugar; that is why I did not notice a difference until I reduced the sugar.
The Dutch found a way to soak the beans in an alkali solution that cuts the acid in the beans, so the results mean less bitterness in the cookies. The Dutch Processed cocoa, when used in baking, it produces a darker, richer, fudgier taste. Well, this is what I needed. The only Dutch-processed cocoa I could find on short notice at my local store was Guittard Cocoa Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.
These are the ingredients for the first batch of cookies using Hershey's natural processed cocoa powder and my regular tried and true Land O Lakes unsalted butter.
I substituted for the second batch of cookies the Guittard Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the Hershey's and the Kerrygold unsalted butter for Land O Lakes.Jump to Recipe for Amounts
Unsalted Butter - Kerrygold has a higher fat content than Land O Lake and costs more. My favorite go-to for 90% of my cookie is the Land O Lakes unsalted butter. But in the case of making cookies with cocoa powder, I will use the Kerrygold for my recipe.
Finely Chopped Walnuts - It was great finding out that Diamond has finely chopped walnuts in ½ cup bags. Of course, I could do my own but I found the Diamond walnuts a time saver and all the pieces are pretty uniform.
White Chocolate Wafers - I usually use Guittard white chocolate wafers but you can use whatever brand you like. I find there is a little difference in taste between generic wafers you can buy in the grocery store and a name brand. To me, the generic has a little more vanilla taste which is not a bad thing. My advice is to buy a couple of small quantities if you can and just taste them.
Making Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Mix the Shortbread
Weigh or measure the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Then, in another bowl, weigh or measure the flour and cocoa. Don't forget to use the Tare button before adding the 2nd ingredient. Then, use a whisk to blend the two.
In a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Next, add the vanilla extract. Now gradually add the flour mixture, and mix through. It will be stiff. Finally, add the finely chopped walnuts. Using a spatula, you may need to integrate some walnuts through the cookie dough.
After putting the cookie dough on a lightly floured pastry sheet, divide the cookie dough in half and roll out two logs. I make the logs about 11" long and about 2" in diameter. It doesn't hurt to brush the excess flour off the logs.
Wrap and Chill
Wrap the two logs with plastic wrap. After the logs are wrapped, I even out the shape of the log so they are consistent in width and length.
A secret I learned a couple of years ago is to take a paper towel inside cardboard tube and cut it half length-wise. Then put a log on each half. This helps keep the round shape of the log. I have a small sheet pan where the logs fit nicely and stick the whole pan in the refrigerator.
I like to keep the logs in the refrigerator overnight, but if you are pressed for time, you can take them out of the fridge after a couple of hours.
Score Slice and Bake
Take the log out of the refrigerator, and unwrap the plastic wrap. I score the log to try and get even slices. I got 14 slices in my one log, and on the second log, I got 16. So you should get 14 to 16 slices from an 11" to 11-½" cookie log. Add them to a parchment-lined cookie sheet pan.
Bake at 350° for 12 to 14 minutes. Let them sit on the cookie pan for a couple of minutes, then gently move them to a cooling rack. These cookies are crumbly when right out of the oven, so be gentle with them until they have cooled.
Adding a White Chocolate Drizzle
Add your white chocolate wafers to a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds in your microwave. Take the bowl out and stir. Put the dish back in and heat for 15 seconds and stir again. You may see a few wafers that have not entirely melted, but they should melt if you stir the white chocolate.
If there are more than a couple, you can heat it for 10 seconds more, but that is all. If you overheat the chocolate, it will get stiff and dry-looking. This means it has seized up, and you will either have to fix it (Spruce Eats has a solution) or make a new batch.
I take parchment paper and lay it on the counter. Then add the cooled chocolate shortbread cookies in rows to make it easier to add the white chocolate. I do not want to add the white chocolate while the cookies are on the rack because when the white chocolate hardens, it will stick to the rack, and when you pull the cookie away, part of the cookies might break off.
Take a spoon and swing the white chocolate back and forth over each cookie. So easy, and they will look so good.
Comparing the Taste
My goal for this cookie was to have a deep chocolate taste with some sweetness coming from the white chocolate drizzle on top. Although the slight bitterness of the cookie made with Hershey's cocoa went away by the next day, it did not have quite the chocolate taste I was hoping for from the cocoa.
The cookie on the left is made with the Kerrygold butter and the Guittard Dutch Processed cocoa. It is darker and has such a great deep chocolate taste. I would not have believed the difference if I had not done the side-by-side test.
For this cookie, I did prefer the Guittard Dutch Processed cocoa much better. However, it is worth mentioning that adding the fat from the butter also helps the cocoa taste. So, I recommend using a higher fat butter and a Dutch Processed cocoa for this cookie.
I store these in a container that has a lid. The shortbread cookies should last at least 7-10 days as long as they are not in a very hot area since the white chocolate could melt.
A Few Other Shortbread Cookies
Bite Size Chocolate Walnut Shortbread CookiesBarbara Hall
- 1 ½ cup (187.5 g) All-purpose flour
- ½ cup (60 g) Powdered sugar
- ½ cup (43 g) Guittard Cocoa Rouge cocoa powder
- 1 cup (227 g) Butter unsalted
- 2 tablespoon (2 tablespoon) Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup (117 g) Walnuts Fine chopped
- 1 cup (236.59 g) White chocolate wafers
- Weigh or measure into a bowl the flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk to blend and set the bowl aside. Weigh or measure the powdered sugar into another bowl.
- In a handheld or stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid), cream the butter and powdered sugar before adding the vanilla extract. Next, add the dry ingredients SLOWLY, or you will have the flour mixture all over the counter. It is light and goes everywhere. Mix till blended. Finally, add the finely chopped walnuts. You may need to use a spatula to get the walnuts evenly mixed through the cookie dough.
- Put the dough onto a Silicone Non-Stick Pastry Mat or a nonstick surface and divide the dough in half. Roll the dough into 2 log shapes of about 2" in diameter and about 11" long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap. I put them on a cookie pan and put them into the refrigerator overnight or at least for 2 hours. I use split paper towel cardboard inserts (see above) to cradle each log while in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line cookie pans with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone sheet. Take the one log of cookie dough out of the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic wrap. Slice about ½ " medallion and place it on the cookie pan. They do not spread, so space about 1" apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Give them a minute or two when you pull them out so they firm up a little before moving to the cooling rack.
- Add the white chocolate wafers to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir them around a little; they will still be solid. Heat them for another 15 seconds and stir. Most of the wafers should be melted or very soft. Heat another 10 seconds if needed. Move the cookies to either wax paper or parchment paper sheet. Take a spoon with white chocolate and wave back and forth over the cookies for as much white chocolate as you like.