I have the privilege of spending my summer working at an archive in my hometown. This is my fourth summer at the archive, and I still find myself in complete wonderment at the fascinating collection of history stored in one building. Each archival box is filled with family pictures, life stories, letters between distanced lovers, or personal journals.
At 10:00 a.m. every morning, all the archive volunteers gather for coffee time. Many of the volunteers are retired college professors and have been a part of the archive for countless years. It is always interesting to see where the conversation leads during these coffee breaks. Sometimes it is a simple discussion of weather or weekend plans; other times, a deep analysis of a certain piece of literature or historical event. Occasionally, someone will share a story from their younger days.
I treasure these conversations just as I do the documents housed in the archive’s collections. I listen intently to every story, eager to catch a bit of useful life advice from someone who’s been around decades more than myself. Even though I may not be able to provide my own experience when discussing 1960’s politics, I can always bring some home-baked treats to accompany coffee time.
This coffee shortbread has a perfectly crisp buttery crumb, and the chocolate drizzle adds a sweet complement to the sharp coffee flavor. The recipe couldn’t be simpler, and the dough doesn’t even need to be chilled. I chose a scalloped flower cookie cutter, but you could opt for squares or diamonds to make it even easier. Once the cookies were cooled on a rack, I melted the chocolate and put it in a plastic bag. One little snip in the corner of the bag allows you to easily drizzle the chocolate in nice lines over the shortbread.
From Taste of Home’s Best Loved Cookies & Candies
Makes about 5 dozen (I only got 2 dozen)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup vanilla or white chips, melted
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and coffee granules until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with floured 2-3 inch cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake at 300° for 20-22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with melted chips.