though i first made them for christmas gifts, these very grown-up cookies seem tailor-made for valentine's day. they'd be right at home next to a big cappuccino or latte on a breakfast-in-bed tray, or tucked into a bowl of ice cream for dessert. your valentine will thank you....
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup ground espresso
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
1) beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes). add the vanilla and beat well. on low speed, mix in the flour, espresso, and salt until just combined.
2) scrape the the dough out of the mixing bowl with a spatula, making sure all ingredients are incorporated. form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours.
3) preheat oven to 300˚. roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thick (it should be about an 8" x 10" rectangle). using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2" squares and place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets. prick them with a fork, and bake until pale golden around the edges, about 20-24 minutes. cool completely on a wire rack.
4) when the shortbread is cool, melt the chocolate on medium-low heat in the microwave until liquid---about 2-1/2 minutes in my microwave, possibly faster in yours. dip half of each shortbread square into the chocolate. as you get down to the bottom of the bowl, use a spatula to scrape out the dregs of the chocolate and coat the last of the cookies. though the picture below shows them cooling on a rack post-chocolate, i found the chocolate stuck to the rack, and had better luck when i cooled them on wax paper in future batches.