Spiced Chocolate Shortbread


Spiced Chocolate Shortbread. For days when it is not as warm as it should be and you need something warming and comforting….

So it is now June. The time of year when we should be swanning around in summer dresses, contemplating pedicure nail colours and longing for fresh, light flavours.

Think again. Today I write with socks on and an extra sweater whilst watching the torrential, cold rain. This shortbread is just the perfect ‘pick me up’.


A twist on a classic Scottish Shortbread, this one has a grown up, rich and spicy ‘kick’ thanks to the cinnamon and cayenne pepper. No fancy ingredients required, just cupboard staples and 15 minutes plus baking time. So if you are short on time, your baking efforts need to be quick, relatively mess-free and a guaranteed good bake at the end of it, this one is for you.



Spiced Chocolate Shortbread

Serves 10-12


  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 170g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee powder (I use granules then grind in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Granulated sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C / 160 degrees C Fan / Gas Mark 3.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (this can be your freestanding mixer bowl, if using) and whisk by hand with a whisk to dispel any lumps of sugar and integrate the cocoa powder.
  3. Add the butter and either mix with your mixer, or using a wooden spoon in the bowl, until generally combined and you have large crumbs.
  4. Tip into a round 8inch / 20cm pan. Spread evenly in the tin and level and smooth using the back of a spoon. With a fork, pierce holes in the surface and with a knife cut the slices to give you an idea of where to slice once baked.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm. Remove from the oven, mark with a sharp knife the slices/ portions whist still hot and sprinkle with granulated sugar immediately. Allow to cool in the tin.
  6. Slice and serve.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from JamieOliver.com


  1. excellent for the kind of weather we are having here right now, an extremely cold and wet autumn…great to enjoy your posts again!

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Hi Viviana! Glad that this will suit your climate, it has been so horribly cold here but thankfully some warmth and sunshine today! Hope all is well with you in your new home/kitchen 🙂

  2. Hi Jo! So happy to see a post. : ) I’m sorry it was raining but glad it put you to mind to bake this. Now, all I’m craving is spiced chocolate in cookie form! For me, chocolate is an everyday thing and I crave it all the time. So this is right up my alley. Such a simple yet special treat. I always eat shortbread and remember why I love it so much…

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thanks Monica! I am really going to try and make time for more baking and blogging – my hobby which, alas, had taken a bit of a ‘backseat’ lately. Hope all is well with you 🙂

  3. You know, I totally adore shortbread and yet I don’t think I’ve ever made a chocolate version! This looks just wonderful Jo!

  4. OMG! I love the spice kick to this classic chocolate shortbread! That cayenne will add just such an amazing subtle heat to balance the richness from the chocolate! I cannot wait to try this!

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