Cookies will always and forever be my favorite treat to bake. Even when the flavors are new, the process is so familiar. They allow me to extend my creativity but still feel secure in the creation process.
I have made shortbread more times than I can count, and pecan sandies (icebox cookies), which follow a similar process, are some of our family favorites, but this is the first time I have added a nut butter. With the crumble and buttery texture of shortbread and the cozy depth of almond butter, I love the way these almond butter shortbread cookies turned out.
With Match Day just three weeks away, there is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. I have been on a cookie-making kick lately and subconsciously, I think the process of making cookies, new and old varieties, is allowing me to hold onto and create some certainty and security in the midst of the ambiguity. This almond butter shortbread is comforting on it’s own, but it is taken to another level when dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. The cookie melts in your mouth as you take your first bite, and the combination of soft nuttiness, sweet chocolate, and a tiny bit of salt is so perfect.
I am a big almond butter fan and I love the subtler nutty flavor that the almond butter provides. Peanut butter might be a stronger, more in-your-face flavor, but I would imagine it would be just as delicious if you aren’t into almond butter. Whatever you do, don’t leave off those sea salt flakes.
Almond butter shortbread cookies with chocolate and sea salt are the perfect combination of sweet and salty without being sweet. They are easy and delicious!
Almond Butter Shortbread with Chocolate and Sea Salt
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup almond butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt (or 1 teaspoon, if you used unsalted almond butter), plus more for sprinkling
6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate, melted*
*I used chopped milk chocolate, but semisweet and dark chocolate would both be great too.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and almond butter until it is creamy and well combined. Beat in the sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again. Pour in the flour and mix on low speed until the ingredients are just combined. With your hands, form the dough into two cylinders. The dough will be a bit crumbly, so just push it together. Each tube should be about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each of them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 1/4 inch slices and place them on the parchment. Sprinkle each with sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just slightly golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool completely before dipping them in chocolate.
Melt the chocolate for dipping by microwaving it for about 30 seconds at a time (or 1 minute, if your microwave is as weak as ours) on 50% power. Stir after each time until it just melts. Dip an edge of each piece of shortbread and if desired, sprinkle with more salt (alternately, you can leave off the salt sprinkle before they bake and just sprinkle them after you dip them in chocolate).