What does sweet, creamy butter, ripe red strawberries and deep cocoa powder have in common?  They’re the perfect flavors for my Chocolate Shortbread Cookie Sandwich filled with Strawberry Buttercream. I haven’t encountered a shortbread recipe I didn’t — case in point my– Buttery, Flakey Shortbread with Lavender and Lemon Zest and Brown Butter Shortbread with Peaches and Nectarines .  I’ll repeat it, shortbread is incredibly easy to make, easy to bake and of course easy to eat!   

Does Shortbread need to sweet?

Not to toss a wrench into this, but not all shortbread cookies are sweet. You can have a savory version; for instance, a buttery, cheesy homemade cheddar cracker with fresh rosemary. Sweet or savory, shortbread both have one common ingredient — butter.  With a good shortbread, it’s all about sweet, creamy butter.  In this cookie recipe the room-temperature butter provides the sweetness we love, while the dark cocoa powder offers a depth of richness.

Not all butters are created equal:

When it comes to butter, markets today have a large variety.  European butter has become more popular due to their high percentage of butterfat; it’s great for baking. The European variety provides a deeper, richer, sometimes sweeter taste.  American-style butters are slightly lighter in taste and have a higher water content.  You may also notice the word “cultured” on butter packages.  A cultured butter is cream churned into butter with the addition of live culture, such as buttermilk, for a tangier taste.  I do like a European butter if I’m making Puff Pastry, but for these cookies, I use an organic, sweet cream butter.

What’s in a buttercream:

Of course, a shortbread cookie doesn’t need to be sandwiched. You can keep it simple and spoon the filling over the top and serve. I haven’t, however, met a sandwich cookie that doesn’t make it way on to someone’s plate or napkin. And with a velvety layer of buttercream peeking out of the edges, the simple cookie becomes more special, because it stands out.

When it comes to fruit and buttercream when combined, it can be persnickety.  Fresh Strawberries contain a lot of water.  Water and buttercream don’t like to play together and will separate. You can use store-bought preserves to add to the buttercream if easiest for you; however, try making a fruit preserve by hand and use that.  It really is easy.  Please, however, don’t use frozen fruit!  If strawberry buttercream isn’t your thing, perhaps you might want to try other fruit flavor such as raspberry, apricot, lemon or lime?   Yet, if you find yourself not sure about fruit and buttercream, keep it simple and go with a vanilla or chocolate variety.

Chocolate Strawberry Sandwich Cookies

A sweet chocolaty shortbread cookie sandwiched with buttercream delicately flavored with fresh strawberries. The shortbread is based on one from King Arthur.

 Course Dessert


  • 1 cup Butter, room temperature

  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Paste

  • 1 cup Sugar

  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder

  • 1 tsp Maldon Salt

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup Butter, room temperature 12 -tablespoons

  • 3 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla

  • 3 tbs Strawberry preserves can use store bought

Strawberry Preserves

  • 1 pint Fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces, hulls removed

  • 1/2 cup Sugar

  • 1-2 tbs Fresh lemon juice

  • 1-2 tbs Cornstarch

  • 1/3 cup warm water


To Make the Shortbread

  1. Preheat the oven to 300* Line a half sheet pan with either parchment paper or a silacone sheet.

  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl), add the butter, salt and sugar, and blend to combine thoroughly.

  3. To the butter mixture, add the cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder and flour. You may want to keep a damp towel on hand to keep over the mixing bowl so the flour doesn't fly around.

  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter. Roll and shape it into a large square, roughly 1/4 inch high. Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on your sheet pan. Continue to re-roll and shape the dough as needed. Note: if you choose to cut out a hole in the cookie, just take a small round cutter, and cut out the center of each cookie. Make sure you have an equal amount of tops and bottoms.
    When done, place the sheet pan in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Then place the sheet pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cookies just firm to the touch.

  5. Remove the cookies and let cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooking rack.
    When completely cooled, swirl a layer of the buttercream on each bottom cookie and sandwich with the top.
    Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for upto 4 days.

Strawberry Buttercream

  1. Into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and powdered sugar and combine to a smooth, pale and creamy consistency. Add the vanilla and strawberry preserve and combine thoroughly. Continue to add the preserves by the tablespoon until you achieve the desired taste.

Making Strawberry Preserves

  1. Into a saucepan, add the diced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
    Cook over medium-high heat until a thickish consistency is established

  2. Combine the cornstarch and water into a slurry and slowly pour into the berry mixture. Stir to combine and keep on low heat. The mixture will thicken. Allow to cool completely before using.