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Espresso-Bean Shortbread

These shortbread cookies are an ideal companion to a well-made cup of coffee.

  • Yield: Makes about 4 dozen
Espresso-Bean Shortbread

Source: Holiday Party Foods 2003, Special Issue Holiday 2003


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, stir espresso powder into 2 teaspoons hot water until coffee has dissolved. Add
    coffee mixture and ground espresso beans to butter mixture; beat to combine.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on medium low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shape heaping tablespoons of dough into ovals. Arrange ovals about 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a wooden skewer dipped in flour, make an indentation in dough lengthwise to achieve the look of a coffee bean. Freeze or refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

  5. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just beginning to brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store up to 1 week in airtight containers at room temperature.

Cook's Note

To give these cookies a stronger coffee flavor, add 2 teaspoons of coffee extract after creaming the butter and sugar.

Reviews (15)

  • B-lo quilter 22 Nov, 2012

    This is fast becoming one of my family's favorite Christmas cookies! I will be making these for the third holiday in a row, and will have to hide some for myself before they are all gone!

  • dottiebee 24 Dec, 2011

    I love this recipe! I used Chocolate covered espresso beans, french roast coffee( never instant!) , rolled up in parchment paper and put in freezer overnight. Woke up and sliced what turned out to be crooked circles and when the cookies were still warm I stuck a chocolate cover espresso bean in the middle. LOVE!

  • kalmekc 20 May, 2010

    i intend to try these, but after reading the reviews i think i will use chocolate covered espresso beans, brewed coffee, and, of course, vanilla. mmmmmmm

  • awig 21 Mar, 2010

    I had some leftover dough, so I added a little more sugar, some milk chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. Now, they are much tastier. I suspect just adding vanilla or coffee extract might be what this recipe needs.

  • awig 10 Mar, 2010

    These tasted bland to me. I even tried dipping them in chocolate. I don't know if they weren't sweet enough or if adding coffee extract would help.

  • Tchr4vr 3 Mar, 2010

    lillymom - How can I get some of your rice flour shortbread recipes? I would LOVE to try them. Tchr4vr

  • Tchr4vr 3 Mar, 2010

    lillymom - How can I get some of your rice flour shortbread recipes? I would LOVE to try them. Tchr4vr

  • AnneN 3 Mar, 2010

    Has anybody made these cookies? Are they any good?

  • lillymom 3 Mar, 2010

    Cookiesgalore, I have some shortbread cookie recipes that use rice flour. I think this recipe will adapt well to that.

  • cookiesgalore 27 Jul, 2009

    I have found instant espresso powder in small to large jars online at javacabana.
    They use to have free shipping, I'm assuming they still do? I couldn't find it at ANY local grocery stores. However, a year after I ordered it online, I found it at trader joes, whole foods market, and another natural food store, but I found it to be cheaper online. Hope this helps:-)

  • cookiesgalore 26 Jul, 2009

    I wonder if you can use a flour substitute for people who are allergic to gluten (in flour)? Like finely ground up almonds and walnuts?

  • CarolHudelson 26 Jul, 2009

    You can usually find espresso powder at specialty or Trader Joe-type stores. I've never found it in our local Krogers.

  • Csweet68 26 Jul, 2009

    Can you freeze the dough?

  • pmelros 26 Jul, 2009

    you can instant espresso powder in any grocery store.

  • ambschri 26 Jul, 2009

    where do you get instant espresso powder?

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