I know it’s not realistic to consider someone your friend if you’ve never met them before but I consider Alison Roman, my new friend.
Me and about 1 million other people, give or take.
If you’ve been on instagram lately or the internet, you’ve probably seen her salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies floating around and taking over everyone’s once-love for chocolate chip cookies.
In fact Alison believes in these cookies so much she actually titled the recipe “Salted Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies or Why Would I Ever Make Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever Again?” (Can I just side note real quick and say this lady is 100% percent my style with the titles. Yes please and thank you. And amen.)
Anything that’s claiming to be better than a chocolate chip cookie completely has my attention.
I have to admit I went into making them a critic and came out a believer.
Like a true believer.
As in I’ve vowed to only bake these short bread cookies on the weekend now because I cannot stop myself from having just one. I think it’s the combo of the crunch from the outside coarse sugar and the salted butter. The use of salted butter is all funny and full circle to me because my great grandmothers chocolate chip cookies, and my grandmothers cookies and my mothers cookies ALL religiously use salted butter in their baking and never unsalted. Like I grew up not even knowing about unsalted butter. So when Alison calls for salted butter and pardons the convenience, I couldn’t help but think, homegirlfriend, I 100% get you.
So yes, they live up to the hype and in real friend fashion, I both hate and love Alison for them.
While this cookie is has absolutely no flaws, I will say this - I do not want to eat these warm smothered in vanilla bean ice cream. There is a proper melty goo that comes from a true chocolate chip cookie and these lack that gooey interior and crispy outsides. So. Chocolate chip cookies still hold a very valuable place in my book, but this shortbread cookie is pretty wow.
I also just realized that maybe that’s the point of cookbooks and food and food blogs and instagram - it’s having this incredible circle of friends even though we’ve never met.
Which leads me to you and me and us and us being here right now. Thank you for being my friend even though we may have never met.
Doesn’t matter right?
salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread
I’m embarrassingly obsessed with these but they will never replace a chocolate chip cookie to me (I say that as I'm onto making my like 20th batch) - if I’m forced to complain about something that has to do with this cookie I will complain about the fact that I have to brush egg wash over my dough log before it’s baked thus “forcing” me to cut, sprinkle and bake more than just 1 or 2 cookies like I normally would when the craving hits. These are as wildly addicting as they are simple. You've been warned.
bakers note: I just echo Alison in saying you can use ¾-1 scant teaspoon of salt (I use medium grain kosher salt) added to the flour if you don’t have salted butter on hand. But really, you should try the salted butter, it makes a big difference and lends to the salty-weirdly savory factor of this cookie.
more notes: If you want a chewier shortbread, switch the ratio of brown sugar to regular sugar here. I did this on accident once and I actually liked it - the texture is a tiny nod to a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. But, if you'd like the stick to Alison's original recipe, use 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar suggested here. Also note her original recipe only calls for 6 ounces of chocolate and I increase it to 8 ounces.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) / 255g salted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup / 55g light brown sugar, packed
½ cup / 100g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cup / 281g unbleached all purpose flour
6 - 8 ounces / 175 - 225g semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (see resources. I like using 8 ounces of chocolate)
1 egg, beaten
turbinado or demerara or “raw” coarse sugar for sprinkling
good flaky sea salt for sprinkling (see resources)
In an electric mixer beat butter and sugars together until fluffy and sugar looks blended - about 3-5 minutes.
Next add vanilla. Scrape the bowl down once or twice.
Next, stop your mixer and add flour, then mix until just combined. You may have to give it a couple of “pulses" first to prevent a flour facial. You don’t want to over mix this. Scrape the bottom of the bowl.
Add chopped chocolate. Mix the chocolate in with your mixer a little and then feel free to turn out your dough on a clean surface to make sure the chocolate is well combined.
Divide the dough in half and put each lump of dough on a clean film of plastic wrap or cling. Using the plastic wrap gently (but firmly) roll and lightly smoosh your dough together to form a long dough log. Perfection is not the goal, so don't obsess. You should have two logs. Logs should be about 2 ¼ inches in diameter. (Sometimes mine are not this size and they still work out great.)
Chill each dough log until firm - or for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough logs on a clean cutting board (preferably a cutting board that’s never seen an onion before or else your cookies are gonna taste like onion) and brush the outside with egg wash and then sprinkle + roll liberally (like really liberally) with the coarse sugar.
Cut the logs into cookies that are about ½ inch wide (a littler thicker is okay and a little thinner is okay) place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
Bake cookies for about 12-15 minutes. Edges should be golden brown and middles should be pale-ish. You may have to flip cookie sheet to get even browning about the last 3 minutes of baking.
Cookies keep for 3-5 days in an air tight container (or a zip lock bag, lets be honest). I think they're best eaten the day they're baked and these rock warm.
Since there are so few ingredients in this cookie, now is the time to splurge and buy the fancy butter you've always wanted to try. Go for a european butter or high-quality grass-fed butter, you’ll taste a difference.
I love and use Maldon Salt for finishing my dishes.
If you are looking for a great classic, but not too sweet chocolate chip cookie recipe I have like, 50 for you right here on Sweetish.co
Kidding, but it feels like it. I LOVE a good chocolate chip cookie. Some recipes mentioned below:
My signature 2-flour chocolate chip cookie with amazing texture and loaded with chocolate candies and flaky sea salt on top - I call it: the happiest chocolate chip cookie.
Someday I will share my great grandmothers famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.... but I'm not so secretly waiting to put that in my first cookbook. ;)