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Chocolate Shortbread Buttons

From the book The City Cook by
Yield 15 cookies


These cookies are deeply chocolaty and have all the richness of classic shortbread. But because they are made with cocoa instead of chocolate, they aren’t too sweet.

I use a small drinking glass to stamp out the two-inch discs, and then use the prongs of a fork to make two little holes, like the thread holes in a button, making them a cute addition to after-dinner coffee.

Assuming they last that long, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.


4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Tbsp. sugar, plus more for rolling out the dough
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract (not vanilla flavoring)
½ cup all-purpose flour
Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (either natural or Dutch-processed is fine)
~ Pinch of fine salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix at medium speed until completely combined and smooth. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let the dough rest. (It’s OK to refrigerate the dough for longer.)
  4. Sprinkle sugar lightly on a clean counter or cutting board, add the dough, and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a ⅜-inch-thick circle. Use a 2-inch glass (a shot glass would also work) to stamp out round cookies.
  5. Transfer the discs to the sheet pan, placing the cookies about ½ inch apart (they will not spread). Use the prongs of a fork to make 2 little marks (like on a button) in the center of each disc.
  6. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven until firm to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. They will have a rich, chocolate aroma but, as with any shortbread, should not have browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

This content is from the book The City Cook by Kate McDonough.

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