A combination of nuts and coffee turn these shortbread cookies into an extra special treat and make a great gift for any occasion.
These little cookies are perfect for coffee lovers to serve along with, well, a cup of coffee. They’re the perfect snack size and have a wonderful crumbly, tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. At first bite, they have a buttery taste, but soon after it changes to an addictively rich nut flavor with a hint of coffee. My favorite nuts for these are pecans or hazelnuts, both of which work perfectly with the coffee.
The easiest way to make these cookies is by using a food processor. Use very cold butter, and make sure that the coffee is completely cool. Cold ingredients will help keep the dough from becoming hard to handle while shaping. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each piece into a log. Once the logs are cold, cut them into rounds. It’s an easy way to shape beautiful cookies without having any leftover dough scraps.
You can bake these cookies right away, but if they’re soft or if you would prefer to bake them later, you can place the baking sheet with the cookies in the refrigerator and cover with plastic wrap until firm and ready to bake.
I find that these cookies taste even better a day or two after they’re made, when the flavors are at their best, making them a perfect gift for the holidays.
- 2 cups (280 g/10 oz) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227 g) unsalted butter, cold
- 2-2.5 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water , cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup pecans or blanched/skinned hazelnuts , finely chopped
Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Add coffee, vanilla, and nuts, and keep pulsing until the dough starts to clump together, about 10-15 seconds. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed; rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps. Another way to check if it’s done is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs—the dough should stick without feeling dry or crumbly.
Turn dough to a lightly floured surface and work it until it comes together. Divide dough into two halves and shape each into a log about 8-inches (20 cm) long and 1-inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Wrap each log with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with one log at a time, take the dough out of the fridge. Use a sharp knife to slice the log into ¼-inch to 1/3-inch (7mm) thick rounds.
Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, placing them 1 inch apart from each other.
Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.