Cocoa Shortbread for my Sweethearts

Today is Valentine’s Day.  I do love a good holiday and any holiday that gives me an excuse to bake with a theme is fine by me.  This year, dinner is at home with my four boys (M is included as he is in fact still a boy).  Making all of their favorites; grilled lamb chops with a delicious marinade (parsley, basil, garlic, shallots, and coconut oil), asparagus tart, stuffed tomatoes, and chocolate lava cakes for dessert.

Now that my family is taken care of, I couldn’t let their teachers and some of our favorite people go unnoticed.  Isaac has the greatest teacher this year and not only is she going to get a huge box of Sees Lollypops(her favorite), but she is going to get a selection of both butter-sugar cookies and these cocoa shortbread cookies.  There are countless other teachers and staff members that will also be getting a neat little box wrapped in ribbon.  Each box will represent how much we adore and love each and everyone of them.

On this Valentine’s Day, I will hug and kiss my kids and tell all my boys how much I love them. Yet, come to think of it, it really doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to say and do these things; it pretty much happens everyday!


Cocoa Shortbread with Chocolate chunks


8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cups(4 1/4 oz.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure chocolate extract
1 1/2 cups (6  1/4 oz.) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Callebaut)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped, bittersweet chocolate (I lke Scharffen Berger)
1 batch of simple buttercream frosting
1 batch of royal icing


• in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy.  add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended.  add the chocolate extract and blend well.
• sift the flour and the cocoa, add the salt and blend. add this mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined.  add the chopped chocolate and combine.
• wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.
• take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface (I like to use a marble slab), roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick.  Using a 2″ cutter (I used a square), cut out as many cookies as possible.  re-roll the dough and repeat(I made the dough several days in advance.  I placed my square shapes on parchment on a cookie sheet and froze the dough, shaped.  once frozen, I placed in a freezer safe container until ready to use).
• when ready to bake, preheat oven to 325*. line your baking sheets with parchment and set the cookies on the parchment, 1 1/2″ apart. bake the cookies for 8 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for another 8 minutes, or until they are firm.
• cool completely on wire racks.  once cool, decorate, eat, and enjoy.

Sugar Cookies


2 1/4 cups(11.25 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cups(5.25 oz.) sugar
12 Tbsp.(6 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract (used my homemade vanilla for the first time)
royal Icing- I used Bake at 350* (the “queen of cookies”)


• in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar.  add the egg and the vanilla until well blended.  on low speed, add the flour, gradually.  if the dough doesn’t come away from the side of the bowl, add a few drops of water and mix well.
• wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
• on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/4″ thick and using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes with dough.  at this point you can freeze your shapes(see above) or bake right away.
• in a preheated 350* oven, bake the cookies (on parchment lined baking sheets), for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.  let cool on wire racks.
• when cool, decorate to your hearts desire!

The Urban Baker /

Showing 17 comments
  • Lucy Lean

    Happy Valentines Day to you Susan – what a delicious menu you have planned…

    • Susan

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! Would love to catch up!

  • Amanda

    Great recipes and pictures!!!

  • marla {family fresh cooking}

    Susan, I love this super happy Valentine’s post! Looks like you have been having loads of fun baking and your kids & their teachers are so lucky to receive these goodies from you. Happy Valentine’s Day!! xo

    • Susan

      Thanks, Marla! It was fun. Although I wish in times like this Amanda was my next door neighbor! I would make her do it and then I would watch!!! Happy V day to you and yours! xxx

  • Lesli

    Absolutely adore your site! and what lucky teachers to receive such yummy gifts!
    do you have a favorite baking book you could recommend? I was just given a $25 gift certificate to B+N and would love to spend it on a baking cookbook….you seem like the perfect person to ask!

    • Susan

      Hi Lesli! Oh gosh, I have so many. However, I would have to say one of my all time favorites is Dorie Greenspan’s From My Home to Yours. A close second would be the Tartine baking book. Wow – a gift certificate to a bookstore is better than money in your pocket! I always love walking into a book store with a gc! Enjoy and let me know what book you get!

      • Lesli

        thanks Susan! the two books you mentioned are high on my list, but I ended up getting Flour…by Joanne Chang. Had checked it out of the library recently and the recipes are simply delicious…lime cornmeal cookies and homemade donuts to name a few!! Have you tried it?

        • Susan

          Oh, Lesli, that book is on my list! The library is a great resource for cookbooks especially when they give you 3 weeks to keep the books! I also love any books by Maida Heatter. Do you have any of hers? Oldies but goodies!! Let me know what you make from “Flour”.

  • Kim

    WOW! These cookies are great! These are so cute! I bet these were really good!

  • Allison [Haute Box]

    I never thought I’d want to be a teacher, but I would LIVE to be one of your boy’s teachers…for the cookies, oh the cookies!

    • Susan

      Allison, I will give you a box of cookies anytime! Would love to share with you!

  • jocelyn silverman

    very impressed how you never miss a beat. so wanted to bake for the K-teachers but just ran out of steam after my baking and cooking marathon all week last week and weekend.

    keep the ideas and inspiration flowing.
    happy belated valentine’s day.

    • Susan

      thanks so much, Jocelyn! You are always such a huge support and friend. We have to plan our baking day together!

  • Patricia Scarpin

    the cookies are so adorable! I wish I were one of the lucky people receiving such a treat!

    I love it that you count the hubby as one of the boys. 😀

    • Susan

      after all he is a boy, right!! I need to send you some cookies. Do you think they would stay fresh?

  • Nancy@acommunaltable

    As a scot who has been eating shortbread since before I could walk, it is a sad admission to say that I have never had chocolate shortbread!!! I know – what in the world is wrong with me??? But now, armed with this recipe I will be able to join the ranks of those who have partaken of this glorious treat!!

    It looks like you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!!

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