Shortbread with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Pistachios + Red Gold Sea Salt

Shortbread with dark chocolate ganache, pistachios & red sea salt | Set the Table

I’m pretty sure the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is on TV as I write this. That’s right. I’m writing about cookies in my flannel pajamas, without any makeup, my hair piled on top of my head (still not dry from my super fast shower this afternoon during nap time), and my black lab just burped at me from her perch on the sofa. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how different my life is from that of a VS model.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | Set the Table

What I will say is this: I would bet good money that none of them know how to make killer shortbread. At least I’ve got one up on them.

Seriously though. This shortbread turned out beautifully. It is light and airy with a perfect balance of buttery sweetness and a hint of salt. Many recipes call for cornstarch to help make the texture a little lighter than it would be using only flour, but I decided to take it a step further. Based on what I’ve learned about potato starch through Asian cooking, I decided to try it out in this shortbread recipe. Typically, I find potato starch has a more delicate, crisp result (very similar to a potato chip texture, actually). Cornstarch can get  a little heavy for my liking and sometimes leaves a sandy feeling in my mouth. I don’t want any of that in my shortbread!

Shortbread Dough | Set the Table

Dark Chocolate | Set the Table

Pistachios & Dark Chocolate Ganache | Set the Table

As if shortbread wasn’t rich and decadent enough on its own, I decided to dip it in dark chocolate ganache and pistachios. A little sprinkle of red gold Hawaiian sea salt and the cookies were absolutely perfect. This shortbread is festive enough for a Christmas cookie exchange and simple enough to make for a coffee date with friends (although I’d recommend making it the day before). The red gold Hawaiian sea salt is not exactly necessary, but it adds a nice smokey, salty flavor that contrasts nicely with the rich chocolate.

Shortbread | Set the Table

To shape the cookies, I used a method from Cook’s Illustrated Baking (if you don’t already own that book, you should get on it). If you’re not into this shape, feel free to change it up.

Shortbread Cookies Dipped in Chocolate & Pistachios | Set the Table

If it’s all the same to you, I’m going to keep not watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion whatever show and eat another cookie.

Cheers to that!

Shortbread with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Pistachios + Red Gold Sea Salt

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Shortbread with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Pistachios + Red Gold Sea Salt

The shaping method here is from Cook's Illustrated Baking. The red sea salt can be replaced with regular sea salt or even course kosher salt. Be sure to use the salt sparingly- it should be a subtle flavor enhancer.


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • For the ganache:
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Additional garnishes:
  • 1 cup toasted, chopped pistachios
  • red gold Hawaiian sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9 inch cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, potato starch, sugar (reserve 1 tablespoon for sprinkling later) and salt together in a large bowl.
  5. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives. When the mixture resembles wet sand, transfer it to the prepared 9 inch cake pan.
  6. Firmly press the dough into the pan with your fingers.
  7. Gently turn the dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cut a circle in the center of the dough with a metal cookie cutter about 2 or 3 inches in diameter.
  11. Remove the circle of dough from the center and leave the cookie cutter in its place.
  12. Use a wooden skewer to etch lines into the dough creating 16 wedges.
  13. Return the shortbread to the oven for another 40 minutes.
  14. When the shortbread has finished cooking, sprinkle it with the remaining sugar and cut it using the lines you drew earlier as a guide. Transfer to a cooling rack and bring to room temperature.
  15. Meanwhile, make the ganache by heating the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to steam. Remove from the heat.
  16. Stir the chocolate into the cream until it melts completely and the mixture is smooth.
  17. Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside.
  18. Dip each shortbread wedge first into the ganache, then sprinkle with pistachios and a pinch of the red gold salt.
  19. Place the wedges on the prepared cooling rack and allow the chocolate harden. It won't be like a chocolate shell, but it should be firm enough that it doesn't drip.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin



Valentine party printables from Smilebox.

10. December 2013 by Rachael White
Categories: Dessert, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 6 comments

  • Kamran Siddiqi

    Gorgeous, Gorgeous, GORGEOUS! I absolutely love the way you think; the potato starch is such a brilliant idea to help lighten the dough up! In regards to the chocolate, pistachios, and sea salt– I simply adore this combination and I’ve written about it countless times. Chocolate and pistachios just work together, and salt– that’s always a must! I’ll have to stop at the store to pick up the Hawaiian sea salt, but these shortbread will definitely be made ASAP, as they look absolutely decadent! Amazing work, my friend!

    • Rachael White

      Thanks, Kamran! You’re right- pistachios, chocolate, and salt are such a classic combination. I love how they can still be so stunningly beautiful together (in both flavor and appearance) no matter how many times I’ve seen them used. Thanks for the comment! Nice to see you over here :)

  • Medha

    Such a simple and delicious recipe – love the flavor combinations, chocolate-pistachioes and sea salt, made in heaven or may be on coach watching Victoria’s Secret Fashion whatever show:) But its brilliant! First time on your blog and I am hooked on it- beautiful place with gorgeous photos!

    • Rachael White

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed visiting Set the Table and I very much hope you will check back often!

  • J. Fishler

    I always enjoy your posts, but this one I loved: love the recipe, loved the photography, love the way you think and write. That said, I have to tell you this post incorporates Himself’s absolute faves – and he has seen this. Thinking I might as well make it for him before he moves out of subtle hint mode into blatant whining… ;) Does look and sound wonnnderful!

  • Ashley Bee

    These look so classy! Perfect to put in a tin for Christmas :)