Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

These are slightly moister and softer than standard British shortbread, although they still have that pleasing shortbread crumble on the tongue.

This GF recipe can be enhanced with any extract flavour(s) you like – see the footnote for ideas. It does use loads of butter, but it’s worth it.

Makes: 24 cookies (but it’s easily halved for fewer)



  • 280g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 150g sugar – soft light brown or golden caster, ideally; but plain white caster will do
  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp flavour extract (see Extracts footnote)
  • Icing sugar, to garnish (optional)


  • Two baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper to line both trays
  • 2 mixing bowls: 1 large and 1 medium
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand)
  • Cooling rack
  • Icing sugar duster (optional)


  1. Stir the flour and cocoa powder together in the medium bowl with a fork.
  2. Cream together the sugar, butter, egg yolks, and extract in the large bowl on medium-high speed until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the flour/cocoa mixture, beating at low speed to start, then increasing to medium-high speed until really well combined. The dough will become quite dark in colour, and stiff. (This is a beater-cleaning exercise to free the dough, so be warned.)
  4. Put the bowl of cookie dough into the fridge to firm up for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 190 C (170 C fan-assisted).
  6. Roll the dough into small balls like small golf balls (25-28g each) between your palms, and place on the lined baking trays 3x4 with plenty of room to spread out.
  7. Bake for around 10 minutes (carefully turning the trays halfway through for even baking), until they’ve spread out but a light finger tap in the middle still feels soft. Remove the trays from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the trays for 10 minutes or so until they feel much firmer, before removing them to a cooling rack.
  8. Once fully cooled, dust with icing sugar if you like.

I’m quite a fan of any of vanilla, peppermint, orange, almond, coffee, or cherry flavouring with these cookies. You could make just one flavour; or, don’t add the extract in Step 2, but portion out the creamed butter/sugar/egg into as many bowls as you have flavourings, and add the extracts separately. Mix in a suitable proportion of the dry ingredients to each separately-flavoured bowl.

I’ve tried all flavours with this recipe, but please – as with all my recipes – use ‘extract‘ not ‘essence’. The latter tastes chemically because it has no natural flavourings. (There isn’t much nastier to taste than fake almond ‘essence’.)

My inspiration was a 1990s advert for a US butter brand in a US magazine. Clipped the page and saved; made oodles of times over the years, and here I’ve made it GF.


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