Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread with Dates

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

If you haven’t met Choffy yet, you might want to check it out. Choffy is roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed and you brew it like coffee. It’s my current hot drink of choice. The taste is deeply chocolate, but unlike hot cocoa, is light. I add some stevia and a splash of soy milk.

You can do other delicious things with Choffy, just as you might do with cacao nibs. I’ve been in a shortbread mood and remembered a favorite recipe for espresso shortbread from my pre-vegan days. Shortbread is an ideal recipe to veganize because there are no eggs or dairy milk involved. Replacing butter with a vegan alternative is ridiculously easy. So I followed the standard recipe but used 100% whole wheat instead of refined white flour and replaced white sugar with coconut sugar. I wanted a hint of chocolate but felt chocolate chips would overwhelm these delicate cookies. Choffy (or crushed cacao nibs) are the perfect solution. Plus they add a nice crunch. Finally, I added chopped dates to bump up the smoky maple flavor.

Do I even need to suggest these are perfect alongside a cup of coffee?

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Date Shortbread
Yields 16
Rich and "buttery" shortbread cookies have the classic flavor combination of coffee and chocolate. Dates add a touch of smoky chewiness.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
115 calories
11 g
0 g
8 g
1 g
7 g
25 g
19 g
3 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 115
Calories from Fat 67
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 7g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 19mg
Total Carbohydrates 11g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  2. 1/4 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  3. 1 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  4. 1/4 cup ground cacao, such as Choffy (or roughly chopped cacao nibs)
  5. 2 tsp. finely ground coffee
  6. 1 tsp. vanilla powder
  7. 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  8. 1/4 cup ice cold water
  9. 1/4 finely chopped dates
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, vanilla powder, salt, cacao, and ground coffee. Carefully add this mixture to the bowl with the coconut oil and sugar and mix - then, with the mixer running on low, pour in the water. Add the chopped dates and process until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough that holds together. You may need to knead it a few times once you remove it from the bowl.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough to a generous 1/4"+ thick. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough as well to keep the rolling pin from sticking to it. You'll be chilling the cookies prior to baking, but it's easier to cut them when they're soft.
  4. Using a 3-inch rectangular cookie cutter (or whatever shape you prefer), cut out cookies and carefully and gently move the pieces onto the baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork (or as I did, the flat end of a skewer), punch 2-3 times down the center on each of the cookies. Now place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. The cookies firm up very quickly.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325-degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Bake for about 25-27 minutes. The shortbread will get lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.
  1. If you don't like the taste of coconut, use refined coconut oil instead. Or, use vegan butter.
an unrefined vegan
Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan 





37 thoughts on “Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread with Dates

  1. emmycooks

    That sounds like an amazing combination. I made a ton of espresso shortbread around the holidays, and loved it with vanilla and orange zest. I am going to have to check out Choffy–tho with the understanding that nothing will evr replace coffee for me. 🙂

    1. Shira

      Ha! I’m with Emmy on the coffee! The choffy does sound tasty though – and these cookies look amazing! I always like how your recipes are designed to make small amounts..keeping it fresh so you can keep cranking out the yummy vegan treats! Looks easy too, thanks Annie!

  2. Brittany

    I have never heard of this amazing stuff you call choffy. It sounds amazing, and this bread looks divine! YUM!

  3. pilgrimageofhealth

    I have all these ingredients, except I lent out my espresso powder, sad day 🙁 I’ve never heard of choffy, but I’ve definitely wondered if people ever do the same thing to cocoa beans as they do to coffee beans. Guess they do! So wonderful. Where do you purchase it?

  4. keepinitkind

    Where has Choffy been my whole life? I kind of want to dip these in a cup of hot Choffy… Mmmmm.

  5. Somer

    I might actually have to make the 30 minute drive to whole foods to track down choffy now. I need it now!!! Those cookies look brilliant, and you make me feel better that I wasn’t the only one who used earth balance in the last 24 hours 😉

  6. Choc Chip Uru

    I love me some shortbread all the time though I confess I have yet to try a vegan version 😀
    But your recipe and choffy have no trouble convincing me 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. trueindigo

    Choffy!? How neat, I never heard of it and I thank you for bringing my attention to what it is all about.

  8. Márcia Gonçalves

    Your shortbread looks so delicious !

    ” Choffy is roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed and you brew it like coffee.” Really ?! That’s amazing ! But I bet I can’t find choffy here in Portugal 🙁

      1. Márcia Gonçalves

        Thanks, I guess I’m going to do some research to find choffy ; )

  9. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    As someone who has recently given up coffee I am intrigued by Choffy! I have never heard of it but it sounds delicious! Thanks for the idea 🙂 Where did you get yours?

  10. Zsofi

    These look so delicious. Shortbread and cocao crunch–what’s not to love? Beautiful pics, too.

  11. Sweet Posy Dreams

    I haven’t heard of choffy. Looks like something I would like to try. Probably not available in our town, but nice to know one can order it. The shortbread looks intriguing.

  12. Little Sis

    Thank you!! We have Choffy and I’ve been thinking about what to do w/it. Now I know! Yum!

  13. biggsis

    LIttle Sis and I both received our Choffy from our Dad for Christmas – I saw the recipe and was very excited. Let’s see who makes it first… Oh wait! She’s coming to visit, maybe we’ll make it together!

  14. tearoomdelights

    Choffy is new to me too but sounds very interesting. Your shortbread looks lovely and I bet it slips down a treat with a hot mug of choffy. With all that chocolate flavour, how can you fail?

  15. Sophie33

    Waw, What a wonderful & alternative shortbread! I have never heard from Choffy before & Now, I leanred something new! Thank you so much! 😉

  16. Beth Pearce

    Thank you so much for this shortbread idea! I am a Choffy distributor and am always looking for new ways to use it. This is going to the top of my list!

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