Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread

espresso shortbreadPerk up your afternoon coffee or tea break with this espresso shortbread recipe. These cookies have espresso mixed into the dough and a layer of espresso on the bottom, so they are sure to give you a buzz that will get you through the rest of the day. The fact that they only require a couple of common ingredients and their short baking time make them easy to whip in a pinch (or whenever you are need of a extra jolt of caffeine).

To learn how to make them yourself, watch Brandi create this surprise recipe under Bunny’s direction.

Brewin' with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread


  • 1 ½ sticks of butter
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder (for convenience sake we used a finely ground espresso blend).
  • ¼ cup of espresso beans, roughly ground (French press grade grind)


  1. Preheat your oven 350F.
  2. Cream 1 ½ sticks of room temperature butter and ½ a cup of sugar, until  the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour and 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder and mix until smooth (about one minute).
  5. Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  6. Scatter the ground espresso evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  7. Gently press the dough into the espresso covered pan.
  8. Place pan on the top oven rack and bake until the shortbread is set, about 18-20 minutes.

8 thoughts on “Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread”

  • Cam

    OMG, you're going to eat coffee grounds as crust? Surely that can't be right!

  • Cam

    Okay, I watched your hilarious video.  I still don't get the coffee ground crust, but I will say your problems were definitely caused by not having the butter at room temperature.  It wasn't malleable enough to allow the other ingredients to join it and become a cohesive dough.  Creaming literally means make it creamy.

    I make shortbread all the time, and when you press a smooth, soft, shortbread dough into a pan with your hands, the added heat of those hands will also further your goal of a smooth surface.  

    Something else to remember, the reason a recipe calls for creaming the sugar and butter before adding flour is because the minute you add flour and start mixing you are encouraging gluten which toughens the dough.  Thus creaming ingredients ahead of time allows more time to get the other ingredients blended well before the toughening begins with the addition of flour.  

    It's also why cookie doughs are made by combining dry ingredients and then wet ingredients, before you join the two.  It's all about a tender end product.  

  • Cam

    Since my previous comment is awaiting moderation I would add one addition to it. Crumby does not equate to tender. If anything crumby lends itself more to dry. Anyway for whatever it's worth your viewers might want to consider these things.

    • Brenna

      Hi Cam,

      Thanks for the tips! Also the crust wasn't made out of coffee grounds (i.e. leftovers from coffee that has been brewed), but was made from ground up espresso beans.



      • Cam

        Brenna, I suppose we could argue semantics, but I think you would have to agree both are ground up coffee beans. The only difference I'm aware of is that espresso beans designated for espresso are roasted longer than regular coffee beans, so that the oils are brought to the surface of the bean.

        That said I assume your point is that coffee grounds have the flavor cooked out, while the espresso beans you used here were never cooked. The idea just didn't appeal to me. I dislike getting even a single ground bit in the coffee I'm drinking. I haven't tried using coffee espresso beans as you are here, perhaps it's wonderful. It's just odd to me. I guess this is an apropos use for the expression "Try it, you might like it."

        As an aside, when I was in Scotland the women I met who made shortbread actually kneaded the doughs for a good bit of time (10-minutes), refrigerating when it became too warm. Their finished shortbreads turned out quite stiff. Tasty, yet a good bit stiffer than I favor, but I suppose traditional.

        Somewhere or other I have a small cookbook that would fit in the palm of your hand that I brought back with me. There are actually different versions of more non-traditional shortbread like ginger and/or chocolate to name a few.

        • Brenna

          Hi Cam,

          You're exactly right, my point was that the coffee isn't leftover grounds from brewing that have had the flavor cooked out of them, cause I would imagine that wouldn't taste very good at all. That being said, you're right some people just don't like pieces of coffee in their food/drink so if that's the case, this recipe probably isn't for them. You could always try making the shortbread with out the ground up coffee or try making some of our other coffee-based recipes if you are looking for something that has coffee flavor.



  • Cam

    Brenna, I do very much enjoy all the videos you girls put up. Very entertaining! They can't help but put a smile on your face.

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