Another shortbread recipe to delight your senses! Two weeks ago I shared my beloved kalamata olive and black pepper shortbread recipe, and here is another variation on the cookie.
I was gifted organic cacao nibs by a foodie friend, and the shortbread was the perfect place to use them. I gave them a few light pulses in the food processor to make sure they weren’t too chunky (want to keep these cookies delicate), and then because I love citrus and chocolate so much, I added orange zest to the mix.
Now, cacao nibs are not the same as chocolate … they’re definitely not as sweet, but I think they really work in this shortbread. They keep things sophisticated, and I’m always a fan of a classy cookie.
Prepare the dough ahead of time, because it will need to chill for at least 1 hour before you shape the shortbread, though I suggest 12-24 hours if you're especially busy.
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 mins.
Add egg yolk and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure an even mixture.
Slow add in the dry ingredients at a medium-low speed.
Fold in the cacao nibs and orange zest.
The shortbread dough should be fairly easy to handle, but if it's a little sticky you can dust your hands with flour before handling.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it gently to bring it together.
Divide into two portions and roll them both into logs, about 1.5-inches in diameter. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
After chilling your dough logs thoroughly, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking silicone.
Remove dough from the fridge, unwrap, and use a sharp knife to slice the bites into rounds, about 1/4-inch thick.
Place the shortbread bites onto the baking sheets, with at least an inch in-between each one.
Chill the full baking sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes (this will help keep them from spreading too much).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. (If baking two trays at once, make sure you switch the top and bottom trays around half way through the baking time)
Leave the shortbread on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to cool and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.