These Chocolate Stuffed Vanilla Shortbread Cookies are like a crunchy hot fudge sundae! Shatteringly crunchy vanilla cookies sandwiched with fudgy chocolate filling between, these will satisfy even the most zealous chocoholics in your crowd!
Shortbreads may be my favorite cookie of all time. Delicate, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and just sweet enough to satisfy, they are heavenly to me. Be sure to use unsalted butter or European butter or they may come out too salty.
Did you know that European butter, like Kerrygold has much less salt than American butters? You can use unsalted butter in either case, but you don’t have to worry as much about over-salting recipes when using European butters – plus they have a lower percentage of water making your baked goods richer and luscious.
My recipe has cornstarch in it which makes these cookies incredibly tender. While not the most “traditional” of shortbread recipes, they are remarkably easy to make and guaranteed never to get tough or chewy. If you are making these with regular flour instead of gluten-free, there is little chance you can over mix them thanks to the cornstarch.
If you have issues with corn, you can use tapioca starch, potato starch, or arrowroot in place of the cornstarch. This is one case in gluten-free baking where the quality of your rice flours really makes a difference. I use the superfine ground flours from Authentic Foods, guaranteed to never give you gritty baked goods again!
The “filling” for these cookies is actually the leftover fudge frosting from the yellow cake I posted last week – a multipurpose ingredient that I love! The Artist loved the frosting (a rare occurrence as he prefers unfrosted cakes) and wanted to find something else to use it with, so we came up with the idea for these cookies.
The filling is intensely chocolatey, packed with flavor from the cocoa powder. I would not use too much filling or it may overwhelm the delicate cookies. But if you are making these of people who adore chocolate, you can’t use too much, LOL.
You can store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container, but if you are serving them on hot days, refrigerate them for about 20 minutes to firm up the filling just before serving. Because the filling is pure butter, it melts easily and keeping them cool will help avoid really messy hands, LOL.
I hope everyone enjoys the coming week. Have a wonderful time and Happy Chocolate Monday!
How to make Chocolate Stuffed Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (GF):
- For the cookies, whisk together the cornstarch, flour or gluten-free flour blend, and salt
- Beat the butter with the sugars then add the dry ingredients and vanilla
- Use a scoop to portion the dough into balls and place on baking sheets
- Flatten cookies with the bottom of a wet glass and bake
- For the chocolate filling, beat the butter until lightened, then mix in the sugar
- Add the vanilla, cocoa, and milk; beat until light and fluffy
- Use a piping bag and tip to pipe the filling onto the bottoms of half the cooled cookies
- Top with a second cookie and press gently to spread the filling to the edges
Is Hot Cocoa Mix the same as Cocoa Powder?
No, the hot cocoa mix has sugar and sometimes milk added. Cocoa powder is unsweetened and they are not interchangeable in recipes. Cocoa powder gives you deep, rich chocolate flavor and is often used in chocolate dessert recipes.
PRO Tip: Filling a piping bag can be tricky and messy but here are some steps to make it easier for you:
- Fold over the top of the bag to create a 3 to 4-inch wide cuff.
- Insert the piping tip in the point of the bag.
- Twist some of the bag right above the tip and tuck it down into the tip (this prevents the filling from oozing out of the tip before you’re ready).
- Place the whole bag with the tip into a heavy glass, tip end down.
- Use a spatula to scoop the filling into the bag using your opposite hand to support the bag by holding it with the cuff covering your hand.
- When you’re ready, tug on the tip and press the filling down until it fills the bag fully and begins to come out the tip.
- Twist the top of the bag and fold over to contain all the filling. Hold it closed with your dominant hand while guiding the tip with your other.
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Cornstarch (or tapioca starch or potato starch)
- Flour or gluten-free flour blend
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla paste or extract
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whole milk or half and half
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe
I used my favorite gluten-free flour blend to make the cookies. You can use any cup-for-cup style of flour blend that you prefer, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, Pamela’s, or King Arthur Flour.
Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
- 1-1/2 cups (192g) cornstarch (tapioca starch or potato starch)
- 2 cups (240g) unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 cups (450g) unsalted butter, softened
- 10 tbsp (70g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or pure extract
- 1 to 2 tsp water, only if needed
Chocolate Filling (or Frosting)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 112.5g, 4 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups (338g) confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup (89g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk or half and half, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
Prepare the Cookies: In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour and salt; whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and beat until fully incorporated. Add the flour/cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beating until you have a smooth dough. If you have trouble getting the dry ingredients blended in, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times will help. There should be enough liquid in the butter to make the dough come together, but if not, add a little water and keep beating until the dough is smooth. Refrigerate dough for 10 to 15 minutes to make it easier to handle. Keep the dough in the refrigerator when not scooping cookies onto baking sheets to keep it firm.
Portion the dough using a 1-tablespoon spring-loaded ice cream scoop into small walnut-sized balls, and place on the
prepared baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. You will be able to fit 12 to 14 on each sheet. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a wet glass.
Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until just lightly brown on edges - do not over bake. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet a minute or two before carefully transferring (they are delicate) to wire racks to cool completely. Continue forming and baking the cookies.
Make the Chocolate Filling: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Add the vanilla, cocoa, and milk, beating until fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl; be sure there is nothing caught beneath the beater. Continue beating until smooth. Turn the mixer to medium high. Beat until light, fluffy and of spreading consistency. If the frosting is too thick, slowly add more milk or half and half, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up the butter slightly.
Set up a piping bag with a large round or star tip and scoop filling into the bag until about half full.
You can use the filling immediately, or store it in the refrigerator for about a week. Allow frosting to come to room temperature before using.
Assemble the Cookies: Turn half the cookies over with the
bottoms up. Pipe some of the chocolate filling on each one and top with a second cookie, flat side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Continue until you have filled and sandwiched all the cookies.
Baked and cooled cookies can be layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. Fill them a bit before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 85mg Carbohydrates: 14g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g
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First Published: May 29, 2017
Last Updated: Sept 16, 2019