Chocolate that has been spiced with the heat of chilies is a popular confection, which makes these Spiced Chocolate Shortbread Buttons a must have! Punching holes to make buttons in the cookies before baking is cute, but not a must!!
It’s Day 6 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 2, and today, I thought I’d turn up the heat in the kitchen, with these Spiced Chocolate Shortbread Buttons! The last three days have had easy recipes, so now it’s time to add a little bit of technique.
I must confess, I have practiced my dough rolling skills for years and I have still not mastered it. The dough is always too thin or very uneven, which does not make a very pretty shortbread cookie.
I think it was last year – or maybe the year before – I found a Joseph Joseph rolling pin and it completely changed how I work with dough. You must Google it if you don’t know what type of rolling pin I’m referring to.
The Joseph Joseph rolling pin easily corrects my inadequate dough rolling technique. The rolling pin has removable screws at each end that allows you to place these discs onto the screw and secure it to the pin. I used the 1/4 inch thick disc, which is why I was able to get these Spicy Chocolate Shortbread Buttons perfectly uniform.
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT BUTTONS!
I’ve already mentioned that the dough needs to be 1/4 inch thick. If you don’t have the rolling pin I described, try to get the dough has evenly rolled as possible.
Cut the cookies into circles using a round cookie cutter. I used a 1 1/2″ circular cookie cutter and then used a super thin metal spatula to transfer the cut out cookie to the prepared baking sheet.
To get the button holes, use a regular drinking straw. Once you postitioned the cookie onto the prepared baking sheet, just punch holes into the cookie with the straw. Push down on the straw and pull straight up. If the dough does not come out of the hole, twist the straw and then pull straight up.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
HOW TO KEEP YOUR COOKIES LOOKING LIKE CHOCOLATE!
When you roll this chocolate dough using flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter top or the rolling pin, it’s important to remove the excess flour before baking.
To do this, brush the excess flour off the top of the rolled out dough before you cut the dough with your cookie cutter. Use a very light/fine pastry brush to do this. A silicone pastry brush doesn’t work as well.
Once you transfer the cookie to the prepared baking sheet, dust the top of the cookie once more with the pastry brush to get rid of any flour residue or dough crumbs. This will help to keep your cookie looking perfect and clean.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
LORD BYRON, I CAN’T HANDLE SPICY FOOD!
Don’t you worry, my Dearest Reader! You can completely omit the spiciness from this cookie and it will be just a regular, sweet, chocolate shortbread cookie! It’s that easy!
The spiciness is up to each of you. I used cayenne pepper in my cookies, but you can use ancho chili powder, regular or spicy chili powder, or even ground chili flakes!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh as the day you first made them. When thawing, place the cookies onto a wire cooling rack in a single layer. Wait about 20 minutes or so and they will be perfectly thawed and ready to devour!
Chocolate and spice is like bacon and tomato – a match made in heaven! If I’m in the mood for chocolate, usually it’s milk chocolate that I reach for, but in cookie form, I like things to be different. And, let me tell you, Dear Reader, Spiced Chocolate Shortbread Buttons are different!
The cookie itself is a crispy shortbread cookie that melts in your mouth. First, you’ll taste the sugar and the chocolate, but slowly that spiciness will creep up on you. It’s delightful and delicious and you’re going to love them. Not to mention, these buttons are adorable!
It probably goes without saying, but the string you see in the photos was used as a prop only. I would not recommend using string that is not food-safe. You don’t want to accidentally eat those fibers. If you want to use string, use the cotton string used for trussing a chicken. It’s not red and green, but it will still look cute!
Spiced Chocolate Shortbread Buttons
For the Cookies:
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (ancho chili powder, regular or spicy chili powder, etc., will work too)
- In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat into the butter until well combined.
- Add the egg and the vanilla and beat into the butter mixture.
- Next, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and ancho chili powder and with the mixer on low speed, blend into the butter mixture just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cookie dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove the cookie dough from fridge and roll dough a 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the button shapes. Transfer the cut cookies to the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between the cookies. Using a drinking straw, punch 4 holes in the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a full 10 minutes of the baking sheet before transferring to wire cooling rack. DO NOT REMOVE THE COOKIES FROM THE BAKING SHEET UNTIL A FULL 10 MINUTES HAS PASSED.
- Roll out the rest of the dough and start again. Repeat until all dough has been used.
- Can be left on the counter top in a food safe container for 5-7 days.