Espresso Shortbread Cookies with Irish Whiskey Glaze

Yesterday the City of Chicago held its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.  Part of the yearly festivities includes dyeing the Chicago River green which is quite a sight to see!

Chicago River dyed green

I thought I would be diet-disciplined and forego a second St. Patrick’s Day treat after the pistachio cake, but I succumbed when I just happened to run across this shortbread recipe which appeared in my local paper, the Chicago Tribune, three years ago.  I was clearing out a recipe folder that I had in my desk (since I have just one work week to go before retiring–woohoo!), and lo and behold what did I find in there but this recipe.  Who am I to ignore fate?

The shortbread was a snap to put together and baked to perfection in 25 minutes in my oven.  The glaze, too, is very simple and quick to make.  So, if you’ve got a spare hour on St. Patrick’s Day, you can easily make this shortbread to enjoy before the day is over.

My husband and I both loved this very Irish shortbread with its sophisticated flavors.  The espresso gave it a depth of flavor not ordinarily found in shortbread, and the whiskey glaze was delightful and tasted surprisingly un-whiskey-like.

Roger told me that if this shortbread were on a restaurant menu along with crème brûlée, a favorite dessert of his, he’d be hard-pressed to choose between them.  High praise indeed.

We’re all part Irish on March 17—Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

One year ago:  Irish Soda Bread, Irish Coffee Sundaes with Caramel Whiskey Sauce

Two years ago:  Irish Carb Bomb Cupcakes

Espresso Shortbread Cookies with Irish Whiskey Glaze

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Ingredients for Shortbread

  • 2 sticks unsalted Irish butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbl. ground espresso or coffee

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 1/4 cup each: sugar, Irish whiskey
  • 2 tbl. butter


Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Stir together butter, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Mix in about half the flour; stir in the ground coffee.  Stir in remaining flour; combine thoroughly.  Using damp fingers, press into two buttered 8-inch round cake pans.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven; immediately cut each pan into 8 wedges but leave in the pan.  Cool completely.  I used a toothpick to make holes in the shortbread so that the glaze could seep through.

For glaze, pour sugar and 2 tablespoons of the whiskey into a small saucepan.  Heat to a boil over high heat; boil rapidly, 1 minute.  Remove from heat; whisk in butter.  Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of the whiskey.  Let set to thicken slightly, 1 minute.  Spoon over shortbread, using the back of the spoon to cover evenly.  When glaze is set, remove cookies from pan.

Source:   A recipe from the Chicago Tribune

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