Chocolate Espresso Chip Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Chip Cookies are for serious chocolate and coffee lovers ~ these dark chocolate chip shortbread cookies melt in your mouth!


Right from the start this cookie’s pitch black dough lets you know you’re in for something as chocolatey as it gets. It’s velvety soft and easy to work with, and, ok, maaaaybe a tiny bit messy. (My hands looked like I’d been weeding in the garden after I finished with it.)  But that comes with the territory when you’re working with dark cocoa powder. It’s also tastes amazing raw, but don’t get carried away, save some for the cookies, they’re worth it.

Seriously, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made, they are perfect for people who just want a little something decadent at the end of a meal. Don’t be surprised if people bypass your holiday pies for these babies. The doubled down chocolate with the espresso is intense and has the most incredible melt in your mouth shortbread texture, enhanced by the little nuggets of pure dark chocolate. Love.


They are so deep and dark that it was hard to get a good shot of them, they suck in the light like little chocolatey black holes. I had to sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on top to make them show up. But don’t worry, what you can’t see, you will definitely taste.


I usually form my shortbread cookie dough into a log and chill it for easy slicing and baking. But in this dough the chocolate chips make it hard to get a clean slice, so I decided to roll it out instead. Rolling the dough takes a bit more effort, but results in a more uniform cookie, and worth it if you want to give them away or serve them to company. Luckily this dough is very cooperative, just be sure to roll it between plastic wrap so there’s no sticking. You could substitute mini chocolate chips and then use the slice and bake method if you want to, but I prefer the bigger chocolate payoff with regular chips.


I highly recommend these cookies for the holiday season. The dough or the baked cookies freeze well, and if you do freeze them after they’ve baked, skip the confectioner’s sugar step and do that after they’ve thawed.


This recipe is a slight alteration of my earlier Double Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.

Tips for success:

1. Make sure your butter is actually soft. It needs to be soft to blend into the other ingredients smoothly. If you are careful you can soften cold butter in the microwave. I cut each stick into 3 or 4 pieces and microwave all of it  for 10-15 second intervals until it is JUST soft but not melted.

2. Use dark cocoa powder, sometimes referred to as Dutched cocoa powder. I used hershey’s special dark cocoa powder, which is super dark.

3. Make sure your oven is at the correct temperature…these cookies need to cook somewhere between 325F and 350F.

4. Don’t over bake them, 12 minutes should do it. If your oven runs cool, add a minute or two.

5. Don’t make them larger than 2″ — they are very rich, and they are also delicate so you don’t want them too big. If you don’t have a 2″ cookie or biscuit cutter, get creative and look around your kitchen for something to use —  I used a small wine glass turned upside down. Whatever you use, it will need to have a fine edge to cut through the dough cleanly.

3.7 from 10 votes

Deepest Darkest Chocolate Espresso Chip Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Chip Cookies are for serious chocolate and coffee lovers ~ these dark chocolate chip shortbread cookies melt in your mouth!
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American/English
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 42 minutes
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 sticks 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dark Dutch Processed cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  • Set oven to 335F
  • Put the soft butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer, use electric beaters, or a wooden spoon and elbow grease 🙂
  • Sift the cocoa powder and the confectioner's sugar into the bowl, and cream with the butter. Start the machine on low or you will have a mess on your hands. Mix until everything is very smooth, no lumps.
  • Beat in the espresso powder and the vanilla paste.
  • Add the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated, but don't overwork the dough. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and form into a round flat disk, as if you were making pie dough. Wrap it up and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, about an hour and a half.
  • Roll the dough out between two large sheets of plastic wrap so you don't have to deal with it sticking. Roll to a thickness of about 1/3 inch. Cut out the cookies with a 2" cutter. Reform the dough as necessary. (If the dough is too firm to work with straight from the fridge, let it sit to soften for a while.)
  • Put the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, The cookies may appear underdone, but they will firm up as they cool. Don't over bake.
  • Let the cookies cool for several minutes on the tray, then carefully move them to a cooling rack.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, after the cookies have cooled.

Cook's notes

These cookies are fine cooking at anywhere between 325F and 350F, so I split the difference at 335F. In any event they will be done between 12 and 15 minutes. Don't over bake.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 7:19 am

    So I just made these…..I need to find a way to stop me from eating them all!!! Freezing perhaps? 🙂

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 7:35 am

      Cookies freeze well, but I’ve been known to sneak them straight from the freezer 😉

  • Reply
    Grace S
    February 16, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I love shortbread cookies but I hate the refrigeration, rolling out process so I usually look for recipes that can be baked in a tin and then cut after baking……just lazy I guess. I am wondering how you can translate this recipe to that baking technique in terms of tin size, temp and time to bake that will keep the texture the same? The chocolate chips might get in the way of even cutting but whenever I bake shortbread this way, I usually score the dough about halfway through baking and it cuts very nicely right out of the oven. That being said, my favorite dark chocolate chip is Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate – I wish they would make a mini!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2016 at 7:57 am

      You could definitely bake this in a square pan, Grace, I’ve done that with all my shortbreads. The baking time would be more like 40 minutes. And yes, I wish the top quality chocolate companies would make mini chips too!

      • Reply
        June 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        I just throw my Ghirardelli chips on a good processor for a couple seconds so they aren’t as big. Makes the cutting easier 😉

        • Reply
          June 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm

          Great idea!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

    espresso powder might just belong in every chocolate concoction in the world–they do such nice things for each other!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 5:55 am

    my word, that picture of the mixer paddle was so intriguing on facebook earlier in the week… these look like very very special cookies, lovely recipe x

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Another winner I am sure:)

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 4:35 am

    these look gorgeous, Sue! you’re right: when you see that shadowy darkness in the dough, you know you’re in for something delicious. pinning these to make for myself very soon.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    You had me at chocolate espresso – I’ll take a dozen, please! 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Great photos, great looking biscuits.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing! You read my mind! I have been looking for a recipe like this for a long time as a friend make them every Christmas but won’t share the recipe. I’m new here and yoou appear to be the Queen of Shortbread!

    • Reply
      December 20, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Great looking recipe! I have never understood why people won’t share their recipes. I think it’s such a compliment to be asked.

      • Reply
        April 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        Laura (Tutti Dolci) Ha!! Making these for Easter…have you tried them yet? In the fridge chillin’!! I will let you know how they turn out!!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Hi these cookies look great. I have no idea where to buy espresso powder, once i have that i’m ready to bake Thanks

    • Reply
      November 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      It’s right in the same aisle with the coffee, it’s the same as instant espresso.

      • Reply
        April 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        I used regular fresh coffee beans ground very fine, turned out wonderful!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

    My mouth is watering, Sue! I was looking for a reason to change up my holiday baking this year – thanks for a head start!

    • Reply
      November 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm


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