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Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

These Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies have a deep, rich, and complex chocolate flavor from the added cocoa noir (i.e., black cocoa powder).  These are essentially copycat Oreo cookies. I like to pair the dark chocolate shortbread with a White Chocolate American Buttercream filling to add sweetness to the cookie and balance the flavors.

The only difference between these cookies and Oreos is that Oreos have a slightly artificial aftertaste that is missing with these cookies. A bonus in my opinion.

Last, but not least, they are absolutely amazing when dunked in milk!

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Ingredients for White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Equipment:

What is Black Cocoa Powder?

Black cocoa powder is a heavily dutch processed cocoa powder. This means, the cacao beans have been washed with a potassium solution, which neutralizes their acidity. The dutching process also makes cocoa powder darker. The deep black color of the powder will make batter and dough look naturally black (no food coloring required). This is the cocoa powder used in Oreos in give them a dark color. Black cocoa powder also has a strong, distinctive flavor that is a little different than normal chocolate.

Do I Need to Use Black Cocoa Powder in This Recipe?

To get the dark color and distinctive flavor of the shortbread, you will need to use black cocoa powder. This recipe was not tested with normal dutch-processed cocoa powder so I don’t know how the cookies will react to that substitution.

Making Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Dough

In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

Whipping butter

Place the butter In the bowl of the stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium low speed for 30 seconds until the butter is smooth. 

Creaming butter and sugar

Add the salt and sugar and cream for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. 

Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookie Dough

Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing on the lowest speed until just combined.  After the last addition, mix for a few more seconds until the dough comes together. 

Tip the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the plastic wrap to knead the dough into a square.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or until firm). 

You can make the cookie dough up to 2 days ahead of baking and keep it in the fridge. 

Making the White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

While the dough is chilling, make the White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling. 

Place butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer.  Beat the butter at medium speed for 1 minute until the butter is soft and creamy.  Add the sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.  Mix on the lowest mixer setting until the powdered sugar is moistened.  It’s ok if there are a few lumps at this point. 

Making White Chocolate American Buttercream

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes.  This will smooth out any lumps in the buttercream and incorporate air.  During this process, the buttercream’s color will lighten, and the volume will increase.  Beat the buttercream until it reaches stiff peaks (i.e., the buttercream will stand straight up when you pull out the beater and hold it upright). 

Making White Chocolate American Buttercream

Add the melted and cooled white chocolate and stir to combine.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set to the side at room temperature until ready to use.

Rolling Out Dough and Cutting Cookies

Approximately 30 minutes before baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper (or the plastic wrap you used to chill it and a sheet of parchment paper).  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut desired cookie shapes using a cookie cutter (I used a 2” fluted circle cutter) and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. 

If the dough softens while rolling and cutting, place the dough back in the fridge for a few minutes.  Place the sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet and put the whole pan in the fridge so the cookies chill flat.  This will make it easier to cut the cookies so they keep their shape, and this will also keep the cookies from spreading when baking. 

How to Make Homemade Copycat Oreo Cookies

This recipe is essentially an Oreo cookie on it’s own based solely on flavor. The deep flavor from the black cocoa powder and the sweet, vanilla filling are practically identical to “Milk’s Favorite Cookie.” If you wanted to take things up a notch and make your cookies LOOK like Oreos and not just taste like them, check out my instructions here (link coming soon).

Baking Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Bake for 13-15 minutes until you can smell the black cocoa powder.  It will be difficult to tell when the cookies are done by sight because they are black.  You can bake a couple test cookies and allow them to cool before tasting to determine if they are the texture you want.  The cookies should be crispy.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assembling the Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

Use a spatula to fill a piping bag with filling and cut off the tip of the bag.  You could use a #12 or #32 Wilton piping tip if you’d like for piping the filling. 

Flip half the cookies over and pipe a circle of filling in the middle of the cookie leaving a small ring of cookie unfilled around the edge.  Place a second cookie on top of the filling and push gently to sandwich the cookies. 

The cookies are best (and crisp) the day they are baked.  They will soften as they sit (especially when filled).  You can store the unfilled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Filled cookies should be stored in the fridge up to 7 days.

Looking for More Cookies?

Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know how it turned out!  Please let me know by leaving your thoughts below.  Or snap a photo and share it on Pinterest or Instagram (@windycitybaker). 

Notes:

  1. I used Guittard Cocoa Noir, although this product can be difficult to find.  This makes a very dark dough, just like Oreos. (Back to “Ingredients” section)
  2. This recipe was adapted from the “TKO” recipe in Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time1 hr 40 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Filling Cookies5 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Servings: 28 sandwich cookies

Equipment

  • Large and small digital scale (or liquid measuring cup, dry measuring cups, and measuring spoons)
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment (OR hand mixer with a large bowl)
  • Silicone spatula
  • Medium bowl and large bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Whisk
  • 2 Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin with ¼” guides
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Piping bag
  • Scissors
  • #12 Wilton Piping tip (optional)
  • Coupler (optional)

Ingredients

Ingredients for White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • cups (272g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp (4.5g) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 oz (28g) white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (87g) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (I used black cocoa powder – see "Notes" section)
  • ½ tsp (2g) baking soda
  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ tsp (3g) salt
  • ¾ cup (161g) granulated sugar

Instructions

Making Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Dough

  • In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Place the butter In the bowl of the stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium low speed for 30 seconds until the butter is smooth.
  • Add the salt and sugar and cream for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing on the lowest speed until just combined. After the last addition, mix for a few more seconds until the dough comes together.
  • Tip the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the plastic wrap to knead the dough into a square. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or until firm).
  • You can make the cookie dough up to 2 days ahead of baking and keep it in the fridge.

Making the White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling

  • While the dough is chilling, make the White Chocolate American Buttercream Filling.
  • Place butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Beat the butter at medium speed for 1 minute until the butter is soft and creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix on the lowest mixer setting until the powdered sugar is moistened. It’s ok if there are a few lumps at this point.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes. This will smooth out any lumps in the buttercream and incorporate air. During this process, the buttercream’s color will lighten, and the volume will increase. Beat the buttercream until it reaches stiff peaks (i.e., the buttercream will stand straight up when you pull out the beater and hold it upright).
  • Add the melted and cooled white chocolate and stir to combine.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set to the side at room temperature until ready to use.

Rolling Out Dough and Cutting Cookies

  • Approximately 30 minutes before baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap the dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper (or the plastic wrap you used to chill it and a sheet of parchment paper). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut desired cookie shapes using a cookie cutter (I used a 2” fluted circle cutter) and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
  • If the dough softens while rolling and cutting, place the dough back in the fridge for a few minutes. Place the sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet and put the whole pan in the fridge so the cookies chill flat. This will make it easier to cut the cookies so they keep their shape, and this will also keep the cookies from spreading when baking.

Baking Cookies

  • Bake for 13-15 minutes until you can smell the black cocoa powder. It will be difficult to tell when the cookies are done by sight because they are black. You can bake a couple test cookies and allow them to cool before tasting to determine if they are the texture you want. The cookies should be crispy.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assembling the Cookies

  • Use a spatula to fill a piping bag with filling and cut off the tip of the bag. You could use a #12 or #32 Wilton piping tip if you’d like for piping the filling.
  • Flip half the cookies over and pipe a circle of filling in the middle of the cookie leaving a small ring of cookie unfilled around the edge. Place a second cookie on top of the filling and push gently to sandwich the cookies.
  • The cookies are best (and crisp) the day they are baked. They will soften as they sit (especially when filled). You can store the unfilled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Filled cookies should be stored in the fridge up to 7 days.

Notes

  1. I used Guittard Cocoa Noir. This makes a very dark dough, just like Oreos.
  2. This recipe was adapted from the “TKO” recipe in Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

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